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Effects of the 8th Amendment on American Law Essay

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The Eighth Amendment Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”Ever since the Eighth Amendment was ratified by the states in 1791, it has been a key part of our Constitution. The Eighth Amendment has protected our people from many things, including an overly high bail or “unnatural” punishments. It has ensured that in civil matters, as well as criminal cases, the people of America are protected from an overly high bail and cruel and unusual punishments.

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The Eighth Amendment has stirred up many controversies with its many paths of interpretation, in that the U.S. amendments are written down on paper but sometimes not properly enforced. The 8th amendment is the one I favor least and is to be examined during this assignment. I take the double-minded position on the subject of the 8th Amendment of for and against this amendment. Is the Death Penalty an Effective Punishment? In my opinion yes, with at least one important respect, it simply cannot be argued that a killer, once executed, can ever kill again. The crime must fit the punishment in order to justify, and this punishment must not favor anyone on the foundation of color. If this were the case I would without a doubt totally agree with this amendment, however, Studies show that there are racial biases when the death penalty is carried out. Since the resumption of executions in the early 1980’s, 40 percent of those executed have been black.

And more often than not blacks were more often executed than were whites without having their conviction reviewed by any higher court. The race of the victim and the defendant inevitably influences the decision to seek a death sentence. University of Iowa law professor David Baldus conducted an exhaustive criminal sentencing study in Georgia in the 1980s. He found that prosecutors sought the death penalty for 70% of black defendants with white victims, but only 15% of black defendants with black victims. Similar patterns of racial bias are found across the country. Over half of those on death row are people of color. Black men alone make up over 42% of all death row prisoners, though they account for only 6% of people living in the U.S. Nationwide, cases involving a white victim and a defendant of color are most likely to result in a death sentence.

The Baldus study found that six out of ten defendants sentenced to death in Georgia for killing a white person would not have received a death sentence had their victim been black. A case involving a white person was over four times more likely to result in a death sentence than was a comparable black victim case. In Maryland – the state with one of the highest percentages of African Americans on death row – a death sentence is eight times more likely in a white victim case than a black victim case, according to a 1987 Public Defender’s Office study. Nearly half of those executed since 1976 have been people of color, with blacks alone accounting for 35%. All told, 82% have been put to death for the murder of a white person. Only 1.8% was whites who had been convicted of killing people of African, Asian, or Latin descent. Meanwhile, people of color are the victims in more than half of all homicides. Since 1930, one in two persons executed was black.

Ultimately I must stand on the side of opposition with this Amendment on the basis of bias and suggest a moratorium until a clear version of this amendment is established with clear mandatory sentences regardless of the victim or the defendants ethnicity and does what it initially intended to do which is protect The American citizen without breaking other amendments in the process.

Criminal court procedures are at an all time slow and speedy trials are a thing of the past. The government spending and income policies need to be modified to modern times. Also the treason penalty should be more heinous in the new world.ins an important part of our government.

Works Cited

Shortall, Joseph M.; Merrill, Denise W. Education Information Resource Center City: Publisher N/A, 1987.

McCLESKEY v. KEMP- 481 U.S. 27 [Ty caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.


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