Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Cruel and Unusual Punishment - Definition (substantive Criminal Law), Imposition (procedural Criminal Law), Infliction (prison Or Correction Law) - Conclusion

Cruel and Unusual Punishment - Imposition (procedural Criminal Law)

process amendment supreme court

The Eighth Amendment has had its greatest impact on procedural criminal law in capital cases. There the Supreme Court has required a process that guarantees an individualized sentencing decision to avoid arbitrary and capricious death sentences. The Supreme Court has rejected attempts to extend this requirement to noncapital cases, even those involving a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (Harmelin). Presumably, the imposition of penal norms upon an incompetent defendant would also be considered cruel and unusual. The Eighth Amendment alone, however, would not prohibit the conviction—or even the execution—of an innocent person, assuming the impositional process satisfied due process requirements (Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993)).

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