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The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Essay

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Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed,
nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Eighth Amendment, 1791
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution limits the punishments that may be imposed by the government on American citizens. These limits are compulsory among the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 expressed concern with arbitrary and disproportionate sanctions, giving way to the Founders inclusion of the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. To explore the Eighth Amendment it is important to consider constitutionally accepted punishments, the ever-evolving practice of capital punishment, and eighth amendment protection inside prison walls.
Constitutionally acceptable punishments include fines, imprisonment and humane executions for certain serious crimes. Inherently unacceptable punishments include those which involve the infliction of unnecessary physical pain, degradation or humiliation, continuous surveillance and forfeiture of citizenship. (Kanovitz, 2010)
The right to bail, protecting individual freedoms prior to conviction, is not guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. The 1979 Bell v. Wolfish case held that defendants could be deprived of liberty as a matter of compelling necessity. As a result, The Bail Reform Act of 1984 elaborated on this finding by allowing for the detention of defendants, known as preventive detention, in cases where it is believed the defendant will flee or poses a danger to society. Bail is excessive in violation of the Eighth Amendment only when it is set at an amount higher than necessary to guarantee the desired goal that a defendant will appear at trial to respond to the charges brought against him. (...


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... treated humanely.



Works Cited

8th amendment court cases. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/8th-amendment-court-cases.html
Cherry II, C. (2010, May 21). Cruel and unusual punishment. Retrieved from http://www.thecrimereport.org/archive/cruel-and-unusual-punishment
Cruel and unusual punishments. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hr95.org/Cruel.html
Facts about the death penalty. (2011, November 18). Retrieved from http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/FactSheet.pdf
Kanovitz, J. R. (2010). Constitutional law. (twelfth ed., pp. 471-484). New Providence, NJ: Matthew Bender & Company.
O'Connor, T. (2011, September 21). Eighth amendment issues. Retrieved from http://www.drtomoconnor.com/3000/3000lect07.htm
U.s. constitution: Eight amendment. (2011). Retrieved from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment08/


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