Research Paper on Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Cruel and unusual penalty has been used since the beginning of clip but has been viewed otherwise throughout history. There has been many ways in the past that people were punished that we now view as cruel and unusual. I will travel through those methods of penalty and clip periods. View the history of the penalty and the grounds for which they are now considered to be unconstitutional ( barbarous and unusual ) . I will discourse the 8th amendment, dissect and depict its content for one to better understand the significance behind the diction of the 8th amendment. Besides I will give a twosome illustrations of tribunal instances that are on the footing of cruel and unusual penalty.

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The 8th amendment of the United States Constitution provinces “excessive bail shall non be required, nor inordinate mulcts imposed, nor cruel and unusual penalties inflicted.” ( Stinneford, J. F. ) Individuals convicted of a offense have the right to be free of “ cruel and unusual ” penalty while in gaol or prison. The inmates are still granted their basic rights that have to make with the manner they are treated and the conditions in which they are housed in. There are statements about the diction of the “cruel and unusual” clause of the 8th amendment, one might inquire themselves whether the penalty clause in the 8th amendment takes duty for penalties that are both barbarous and unusual or is that penalty clause something that prohibits both barbarous penalty and unusual penalty? One might besides inquire themselves specifically of the intended significance those words, cruel and unusual? ( Ryan Meghan J. ) The word “cruel” is intended to intend “unjustifiably harsh” and the word “unusual” is intended to intend “excessive” under the clause in the 8th amendment. Yet in still these footings hold a magnitude of changing penalties.

Cruel and unusual penalty is the used to label a penalty which is considered inappropriate due to the humiliation or inhumane hurting inflicted on an person. When an person is sentenced that sentence can non be in extra to the offense in which they committed. The penalty must suit the offense and if there is a disproportion in the sentence to the offense it could be considered barbarous and unusual. There have been a batch of punishments throughout history that are now described as cruel and unusual. Just to call a twosome of them they would include devices such as the breakage wheel besides called the rack, boiling to decease, flaying, oppressing, lapidating, decapitation, necklacing, executing of fire, billeting, emboweling alive and burning ( Berkson L. C. ) . These penalties are a signifier of anguish which is why they are deemed barbarous and unusual in current patterns. The interrupting wheel was a method used during the Middle Ages. The weaponries and legs of the suspect would be tied down on an outsize wooden wheel the wheel would so be rotated and the blamed would on a regular basis be hit in assorted topographic points on the organic structure with an Fe cock. After the suspect’s castanetss have been shattered they were untied from the wheel and left where they fell to decease. Recorded grounds in the yesteryear found that boiling to decease was used as a method of transporting out an executing in Europe, Asia, and North Africa during the Middle Ages up until the eighteenth century. It is precisely what it sounds like, puting the condemned into a monolithic pot of boiling H2O until they are no longer populating. Flaying was used in the Middle East, Africa and here in America 1000s of old ages ago. To flay person they would bind their weaponries and legs so that their organic structure was wholly exposed to the punisher. The punisher would so take a little knife and easy and cut the skin off from the offender’s organic structure. Most of the clip they would get down with the face and work their manner down the organic structure in most instances the condemned would decease before they punisher would acquire to their waist. Necklacing is forcing a gum elastic tyre ( auto tyre ) , filled with a flammable substance ( most the clip gasolene ) , around a individual ‘s weaponries and trunk, so illuming it on fire. It could take up to 20 proceedingss for an person to decease doing them to endure through being burned badly until their decease. The method of executing called quartering was highly painful and lasted hours. First the condemned would hold ropes tied on each leg from their pess to their articulatio genuss so ropes would be tied on the weaponries from their custodies to their cubituss. Each of the four ropes would so be tied to four different Equus caballuss that were all confronting in different waies. The Equus caballuss where so made to yank frontward so that the wrongdoer would be stretched out doing the articulations of the weaponries and legs to come out of topographic point. This would besides do ligaments to be torn. After hours of this anguish the executioner would do scratchs on the articulations of the weaponries and legs so the Equus caballuss would be whipped so that they would bear down frontward doing the weaponries and legs to be ripped from the organic structure. If the wrongdoer wasn’t already dead from the extreme hurting after the weaponries and legs were ripped from the organic structure they would lie in their ain blood until they died which frequently took several proceedingss ( Adolf, P. S. ) .

Some of the more modern methods of penalty that could fall under the cruel and unusual penalty clause are inordinate bond, inordinate mulcts, condemning proportionality, and some may state capital penalty. The first portion of the 8th amendment has to make with inordinate bond. Bail is something that the accused in a condemnable instance must pay in order to be freed from gaol before test. This is paid in confidence that the suspect will return to tribunal one time their test procedure starts if they do non return so the money’s that have been paid are forfeited. The 8th amendment ensures that bond non be enforced in surplus that it be so high it would be impossible for the suspect to pay it. Though this is a right it is non guaranteed that a suspect receive bond and be released pending trail. The Supreme Court has made a opinion that in certain state of affairss bond can be refused and the fishy be detained for the full tribunal procedure. This happens in instance where the suspect might be an utmost menace to the general populace, a certain individual, themselves, or demo a significant hazard of running off to avoid prosecution ( Berkson L. C ) .

Under the 8th amendment inordinate mulcts can non be imposed on a individual as a penalty for a offense. The mulcts that the individual is sentenced to pay must be to the same extent of the offense that individual committed. This clause puts a bound on the government’s ability to take money and/or belongings as penalty for a offense. However they can still prehend these things if it was of about the same sum as the offense one committed. This is an illustration of how the rule of proportionality would work, because the sum of the mulct should hold some association to how extreme the offense was ( Stinneford, J. F. ) .

Many have said that capital penalty ( the decease punishment ) should fall under the cruel and unusual clause. However many states including the United States ( 32 provinces ) . Some of the methods presently used to execute an executing in America are deadly injection, burning, gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad. All 32 provinces that pattern in capital penalty usage deadly injection, 8 provinces use burning ( Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, [ Oklahoma ] , South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia )

3 provinces use the gas chamber ( Arizona, Missouri, [ Wyoming ] ) , 3 provinces use hanging ( Delaware, New Hampshire, Washington ) , and 2 provinces use firing squad ( [ Oklahoma ] , Utah ) as a method to set the condemned to decease. ( States with [ ] around them merely use that method if the current method ( deadly injection ) is deemed unconstitutional ) ( Cameron, J. ) . In the instances where provinces use more than deadly injection as a signifier of seting person to decease the wrongdoer has the pick of what method he/she would wish to hold used on them. It is highly rare that another method other than deadly injection is used in fact the last clip any other method was used. The decease punishment can presently merely be used for those who have been convicted of a capital offense. Like in all judgements of the penalty of the wrongdoer the penalty must be proportion to the offense that was committed. This is why the decease punishment can merely be used when a capital offense has been committed. Capital offenses are discourtesies ( in multiple provinces ) such as 1stdegree slaying, slaying with exacerbating fortunes, killing of a constabulary officer, justice or prosecuting officer, child catch a winking which consequences in decease, sexual maltreatment of minor, maltreatment of a minor under the age of 16, aggravated slaying, capital slaying, slaying for hire, slaying by an inmate while functioning life without word, lese majesty, etc. ( Berkson L. C. ) .

State of Ohio v. Warren- Defendant in this instance is appealing his sentence for a individual count of interrupting and come ining and larceny. The concern in which he broke into was equipped with a security system and surveillance picture. The ground for the interruption in was so that the Warren could steal cooper adjustments and tubing used in air conditioning units. Police were contacted informing them of the interruption in after an employee was notified by the security company. When constabulary arrived at the scene of the interruption in they observed the fishy fleeing from the edifice into a auto batch. He so fled constabularies by driving off in a stolen truck. When constabulary were able to halt the vehicle Warren so lead them on a pes pursuit. Police were able to catch up to him, he was so tased and apprehended.

Warren was ab initio indicted on four counts which included: two counts of breakage and entrance, expansive larceny, and holding ownership of condemnable tools. A supplication trade was reached in the instance of one count breakage and entrance and expansive larceny of a motor vehicle. For both counts Warren was sentenced to 30 months. Warren’s statement for his entreaty was that the tribunal was erred in their determination to enforce a 2 and ? twelvemonth sentence. In his entreaty he stated that the sentence of 12 months for a 5th grade felony and 18 months for a 4th grade felony was out of the condemning guidelines and that his advocate was uneffective. After the entreaty was reviewed the tribunals found that there was no ineffectualness of advocate and that the sentence did autumn in the guidelines. However it was besides found that the back-to-back sentencing was non giving proper logical thinking and that the sentence should be ran at the same time. Therefore the tribunals overruled portion of the entreaty and upheld portion of the entreaty under the 8th amendment of the cruel and unusual penalty clause. ( Stinneford, J. F. ) .

Atkins v. Virginia-The suspect in this instance was charged and convicted of capital slaying and other related offenses. A test was held and the jury later found Atkins guilty. The adult male was sentenced to decease for the offense. Reason for the entreaty was that under the 8th amendment of the U.S. Constitution it is considered cruel and unusual penalty to set to decease a mentally retarded person. After reappraisal of the instance it was found that Atkins had significantly helped his entreaty lawyer with the entreaty procedure and his IQ had rose above ( 70 ) the mentally retarded threshold. He was once more sent for executing for the decease day of the month of December 5Thursday, 2005. He was granted a stay. In January of 2008 a circuit tribunal justice once more reviewed the instance and found that there was prosecutorial misconduct in the full entreaty procedure. Though there was overpowering grounds that Atkins committed the offenses he was convicted of in today’s society it is morally incorrect to put to death a mentally retarded person. They have a lessened capacity to pass on at the same edification as an mean wrongdoer and really frequently people with mentally deceleration admit to things they ne’er did. ( Thought this was non the instance in this entreaty ) . Because of the moral wronging of put to deathing a mentally retarded person the justice commuted Atkins sentence from decease to life in prison ( Cameron, J. ) .

Though there is no cosmopolitan definition for the cruel and unusual clause in our U.S. Constitution there is no uncertainty that it is needed for certain state of affairss. Our judicial system has made great progresss in the ways that we treat and house captives and in the ways that we see fit to set a individual to decease if that should be their sentence. There are ever traveling to be issues with the cruel and unusual clause in our fundamental law because non everyone feels the same manner about what it consist of and those people will ever dispute the cogency of an result to condemnable state of affairss.

Work Cited

1Berkson L. C. ( 1975 ) . Concept of Cruel and Unusual Punishment. New York, NY: Lexington Books

2Cameron, J. ( 2001 ) . The decease punishment, compulsory prison sentences, and the Eighth Amendment ‘s regulation against cruel and unusual penalties. Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 39 ( 2/3 ) , 427-447. hypertext transfer protocol: //

3Stinneford, J. F. ( 2011 ) . RETHINKING PROPORTIONALITY UNDER THE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS CLAUSE. Virginia Law Review, 97 ( 4 ) , 899-978.

4Ryan Meghan J. , Does the Eighth Amendment Punishments Clause Prohibit Lone Punishments That Are Both Cruel and Unusual? , 87Wash. U. L. Rev. 567 ( 2010 ) .

Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //

5Adolf, P. S. ( 1994 ) . Killing Me Softly: Is the Gas Chamber, or Any other Method of Execution, Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Hastings Const. LQ, 22, 815.

Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: //

6. Schwartz, Charles Walter. Eighth Amendment Proportionality Analysis and the Compelling Case of William Rummel, 71 J. Crim. L. & A ; Criminology 378 ( 1980 )