8TH Amendment: Atkins v. Virginia
The Eighth Amendment: It prohibits excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment. In the case of Atkins v. Virginia, the facts brought to the court was that the defendant, Daryl Atkins was tried for capital murder and sentenced to death for the shooting of a victim named Eric Nesbitt. Atkins had been smoking and drinking all day before he decided to walk to a convenient store and hold Nesbitt at gun point, upon Daryl’s dissatisfaction with the money he took, he kidnaped Nesbitt, taking him to an ATM to with drawl 200 dollars, along with a friend named William Jones, in Nesbitt’s car. When Daryl was satisfied with the money taken, he further continued his violence by driving Nesbitt to an isolated area, forcing him out of the vehicle, and then shot Nesbitt eight times killing him. The issues leading to being tried of capital murder and being sentence to death, was that Daryl Atkins was considered “Mildly Mentally Retarded,” according to an IQ level test, Administered by a Psychologist in High School. Daryl’s IQ level score was a 59, which is considered Mildly MR. The court ordered that he be sentence anyways, despite the facts and findings. Later the in a retrial, it was argued that he was in fact MR and that Sentencing an MR person is considered “Cruel and Unusual Punishment,” according to the Eighth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. So the court found that the eighth amendment forbids the death penalty in the cases where an MR person is being punished. And this was with the help of a prior cases, Coker v. Georgia and Enmund v. Florida. The rational in deciding this case was the prior cases stated and that, in sentencing a person with MR to death will not deter another person with MR, because others with MR will not have that full understanding of consequences ordered by the court to deter them from committing other crimes. Therefore, Daryl Atkins still sits in prison, to this day.
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