The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Topics: United States Constitution, Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, United States Bill of Rights Pages: 1 (356 words) Published: October 16, 2008
8th Amendment

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the United States Bill of Rights which took effect in 1791. The amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments (Wikipedia). This amendment was ratified as part of the United States Bill of Rights in 1791. This amendment actually started in England in 1689 by King William III. Virginia had adopted the language of the English Bill of Rights in the Virginia Declarations of Rights in 1776. James Madison then proposed the amendment to congress in 1789. According to the Supreme Court, the Eighth Amendment forbids some punishments entirely, and forbids some other punishments that are excessive when compared to the crime. Traditionally, the length of a prison sentence was not subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment, regardless of the crime for which the sentence was imposed. It was not until 1983, that the Supreme Court held that incarceration, standing alone, could constitute cruel and unusual punishment if it were "disproportionate" in duration with respect to the offense (Wikipedia). The Eighth Amendment has been interpreted to mean that bail may be denied if the charges are sufficiently serious. The Supreme Court has also permitted "preventive" detention without bail. In 1987, the Supreme Court held that the only limitation imposed by the bail clause is that "the governments proposed conditions of release or detention not be 'excessive' in light of the perceived evil (Wikipedia).

This is the Eighth Amendment in a nutshell. It affects the United States in many ways. For example the amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments. The amendment directly affects me in the way that if I ever get a fine it won’t be too high or if I am on bail it will not be set at something that will never be able to be met and finally it will keep...
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