Eighth amendment of the US constitution - Thesis Example

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The researcher of this discussion aims to evaluate and present eighth amendment of the US constitution explicitly defies the possibility of infliction or imposition of a punishment that comes under the definition of cruelty…
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Eighth amendment of the US constitution
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Criminal Justice Introduction to Constitutional Law Roper v. Simmons 125 S. Court 1183, 2005 US Lexis 2200 (March 2005) Procedural History Plaintiff: Donald P. Roper Defendant: Christopher Simmons The plaintiff, superintendent of the Correctional Facility, State of Missouri, sued the defendant Christopher Simmons, the alleged offender of burglary and murder of Mrs. Shirley Crook, to penalize the defendant death sentence for displaying butchery towards Mrs. Crook by assaulting her and throwing her from the bridge, which caused severe and deadly injuries leading towards her death within minutes. The murderer was sentenced capital punishment by the trial court. However, the court of appeal turned the death penalty into life imprisonment. The murderer had pleaded that since he was 17 years old at the time of committing murder; he had not reached the age of majority. Consequently, he was not liable to be inflicted with the death penalty. He had also pleaded that eighth amendment also prohibits the infliction of the cruel and unusual punishments. Since capital punishment certainly comes under the definition of the cruel penalty, the issuing of such punishment was strictly against the statute of the US law. On the contrary, the plaintiff submitted that the Supreme Court had sustained death penalty at many occasions, on the basis of the nature and intensity of the crime on the one hand, and the intention, motif and the facts behind the crimes on the other. “The Court in Gregg v. Georgiai held that the death penalty does not violate the Constitution. The Court explained that its concerns in Furman could be met by a carefully drafted statute that ensures that the sentencing authority is given adequate information and guidance.” (Oppenheim, 1997) Consequently, the death penalty could be announced as the valid punishment according the Penal Code prevailing in the United States of America. Facts: Eighth amendment of the US constitution explicitly defies the possibility of infliction or imposition of a punishment that comes under the definition of cruelty. Similarly, the statute of the US law, under the same amendment, also vehemently rejects the imposition of harsh and heavy fines from the offenders that are excessive and very hard for them to pay the same. In the words of the statute of law: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”ii Consequently, the courts of the United States appear to be determined to avoid issuing and imposing the capital punishment even on committing the heinous crime of murder, rape and assault etc by the offenders. Somehow, the statute of law does not bar unconditional banishment for the infliction of the same. On the contrary, death penalty is valid in thirty seven US states, where it is inflicted on the culprits for committing cruel and ruthless offences against the fellow humans; killing the other(s) in cold blood is particularly the crime against which the probability of announcing death penalty is very high. Issue: Does eighth amendment of the US constitution prohibit the death penalty altogether even on committing atrocious crimes or there exists any validity of the imposition of the same for killing, abusing, raping or doing any type of a heinous crime against the other individual(s) deliberately. Answer: Although, eighth amendment imposes a bar upon the same by declaring it to be a cruel and an unusual punishment, yet it does not allow the American citizen for exercising atrocities upon the fellow beings with the hope of getting free from the clutches of law. It is because of the very fact that the statutes of law have been articulated in order to provide the citizens with complete security and peace by protecting them from the nefarious designs made by the criminals. In Furman v. Georgiaiii, the Supreme Court of the United States considered whether the death penalty violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. “The Court explained that the lack of uniform standards for the application of the death penalty resulted in arbitrary and discriminatory sentencing, violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.” (Oppenheim, 1997) The Supreme Court’s 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia, though asserted and affirmed the validity of eighth amendment in respect of prohibiting death penalty, yet the Chief Justice Burger sustained the right of announcing judgment entirely on the discretion of the judge or panel of judges. In the light of the judicial precedents, the majority of the members of the penal of the Supreme Court declared announcement of capital punishment to a juvenile as against the basic rights the law bestows upon the minors, including the children, lunatics and mentally retarded. The jury also cited Thompson v. Oklahomaiv, where the court with 5 to 3 majority overruled the decision of executing a juvenile murderer in 1988. Hence, the Supreme Court converted the capital punishment into life imprisonment by declaring death penalty as against the eighth amendment of the US constitution. Read More
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