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The issues surrounding the 8th Amendment are often complex. The cruel and unusual punishment clause, for instance, may well be at a constitutional crossroads as we move into the 21st century. Depending on the health and position of society, and the manner in which globalization has changed the way America is perceived in the world, and perceives itself, a change in attitude regarding the rubric of punishment is part of the way society defines itself. Thus, the importance of the interpretation of this amendment cannot be underemphasized -- and now, with a new Supreme Court Justice, the balance may well change as to the interpretation. As one legal scholar noted,
As with cruelty, the precise contours of the definition of unusualness can be developed only through case law; they cannot be outlined prospectively. What we can insist on prospectively, however, is that the two terms be defined in some…… [Read More]
CIV S-90-0520 LKK JFM P, 2009 WL 2430820 (E.D.
Cal. Aug. 4, 2009). (2010). Harvard Law eview, 123(3), p.752-759.
This article discusses the civil rights case Coleman v. Schwarzenegger wherein the plaintiff sued California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for unconstitutional prison conditions. The lawsuit was examined in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California under the Prison Litigation eform Act of 1995 (PLA). The court ruled that authorities should conduct an assessment on the impact of prisoner's release on public safety as long as inmate reduction measures are concerned.
Eight Amendment -- Death Penalty- Missouri Supreme Court Holds that the Juvenile Death
Penalty Violates the Eight Amendment. - State ex rel. Simmons v. oper, 112 S.W.3d
(Mo. 2003) (en banc), cert. granted, 124 S. Ct. 1171 (2004). Harvard Law eview,
This article looks at the decision of the Missouri Supreme Court on the case State ex…… [Read More]
District of Columbia v. Heller Case Brief
Case Facts: The District of Columbia Code prohibited carrying an unregistered firearm and banned the registration of handguns through its provisions. However, the provisions granted the chief of police the liberty to grant one-year licenses for handguns. Additionally, the Code required individuals owning legitimately registered firearms to keep them unloaded and disassembled or with locked trigger unless they were in business places or being utilized for legalized recreational activities.
A special police officer in Washington, D.C., Dick Anthony Heller, was permitted to carry a handgun while on duty. He applied for a one-year registration license from the city of Washington for a handgun he wanted to keep at home. Based on the provisions of the District of Columbia Code, Heller's application was rejected. Consequently, he sued the District of Columbia on the premise that the provisions of this Code violated the Second Amendment.…… [Read More]
Or, as Saletan points out, those three elements "by deduction, are the due process test" (2011).
But this ought to leave a bad taste in one's mouth because all three of these elements can be manipulated to violate one's due process right.
"hich leaves us with an awkward bottom line. If the target is a suspected terrorist, "imminence" can be redefined to justify killing him. If the weapon is a drone, feasibility of arrest has already been ruled out -- that's why the drone has been sent to do the job. So in any drone strike on a U.S. citizen suspected of terrorism, only one of the three questions we supposedly apply to such cases is really open: Has he been fighting alongside al-Qaida? If he has, we can kill him. That's the same rule we apply to foreigners. In effect, citizenship doesn't matter. The "due process" test is empty"…… [Read More]
The death penalty is not unconstitutional and is even mandatory for certain crimes with the judge and jury having little discretion in the matter in order to avoid violating the provision that prohibits 'cruel and unusual punishment' the methods used for execution of the death penalty should be humane and sensible. While the criminal may lack in possessing any compassion whatsoever that this complete lack of the ability to have or posses real compassion that resulted in their being sentenced to death is a consideration in the regard given those sentenced to death. Finally, there should be no lack of certainty that the individual being put to death was the perpetrator of the crime committed.
VI. The ISSUES & the DEATE[S]
The issues and debates surrounding the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are becoming more heated with each passing day and while the general public…… [Read More]
The effect that ever changing societal values have on the Supreme Court's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution
The effect that ever changing societal values have on the Supreme Court's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution
The effect that ever changing societal values have on the Supreme Court's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution
Constitution represents the supreme law that directs political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of the nation. All other laws must be in line with the constitution in order to be effective and efficient in their application. Social or societal values have continuous effects on the interpretation of the constitution. The main objective of the constitution is to protect the interest of the individuals in the society. This objective makes the constitution relevant to the societal values within the context of the United States of America. The societal values keep changing in the contemporary world thus resulting into…… [Read More]
Some of these methods include plea agreements and the disclosure of incriminating evidence, along with witness testimony. Thus, defendants' rights do not tie the hands of officers and the courts because officers and the courts have an arsenal of ways to manage these rights and still perform their jobs.
While the myriad of rights offered to defendants in the United States may sometimes seem like ways to protect the guilty and harm the innocent, this is far from the case. Not only are these rights necessary for protecting the defendant, along with the rest of the democratic society of the United States, but the rights can also be managed through a plethora of legal tactics on the part of the courts and police officers. Established through the Constitution and landmark court cases, primarily, defendants' rights honor the intent of the constitution. Though it is true that some guilty defendants may…… [Read More]
Correctional institutions have enhanced in quality and condition over the years. What started out as dungeons and sewers in ome, the conditions for correctional institutions have improved to quite an extent. In the 1980s, overcrowding became a renowned problem as it also went against the eighth amendment that forbids cruel and unusual punishment. (Carter & Glaser, 1977, p. 1) Increased crowdedness causes mental and physical damage to the inmates in the prison according to a research done by Paulus, Cox and McCain. The Iowa department of corrections takes control of the public, workers and the offenders by keeping them under punishment yet away from cruel behaviors as well. All the correctional measures taken under the criminals are done under proper supervision to ensure that their safety is not compromised.
Community-based correctional institutions.
Community-based corrections are a substitute measure to punish criminal without sending them to jail. The Iowa department of…… [Read More]
Moreover, in Perry v. Louisiana, 498 U.S. 38 (1990), the Court used that decision to bolster Louisiana's attempts to forcibly medicate a prisoner in order to make him death-eligible. If one agrees that the death penalty is a just penalty for one who has committed a capital crime, and that the reason that mentally ill defendants should not be executed is because they lack competence, then it does not seem unethical to allow them to be forcibly medicated in order to be competent. After all, in that scenario, avoiding medication could be likened to any other attempt to avoid punishment. Moreover, an organic physical disorder that arose after conviction, but that would have prevented a defendant from committing a crime, would not be sufficient reason not to execute a person on death row.
However, forced medication, especially for court appearances, may violate a defendant's Fifth Amendment right to present a…… [Read More]
U.S. Supreme Court and the Rights of Inmates
The objective of this study is to identify the constitutional amendments that deal directly with the rights of correctional inmates. For each amendment, this work will describe the rights of inmates and correctional procedures that evolved to protect those rights. Lastly, this work will explain the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in interpreting correctional law, inmates' rights and correctional procedures.
Four Amendments That Address Rights of Prisoners
The primary areas of constitutions rights for inmates incarcerated in U.S. prisons are derived from four constitutional amendments. Those four amendments include the following:
(1) First Amendment -- This amendment governs to what extent authorities restrict the rights of inmates in regards to religion, speech press, and in general, the right to communicate with persons outside the jail. (Thigpen, Hutchinson, Persons and Holland, 2007)
(2) Fourth Amendment -- due process and equal protection. This…… [Read More]
Panetti has not challenged those factual findings on appeal."
Panetti could not be considered incompetent to stand execution based on Ford v. Wainwright. Similar to Panetti, Ford did not initially argue mental illness, but during the trial he developed a severe form of mental disorder, leading to his unawareness of the crimes he had committed and of the reasons for his capital punishment.
The involved parties were both counting on Justice Powell's previous expertise in the Ford v. Wainwright case and were hoping that the judge would be better able to understand both sides.
The dismissal of the second issue of the case, that of the habeas relief motion, is based on the argument that Ford only "requires an opportunity for the petitioner to be heard and an impartial tribunal - both of which Panetti received." Other requests of Panetti's were dismissed. "ecause the state-court procedures were adequate under Ford,…… [Read More]
In fact, when actual harm seems imminent, the government has more leeway to restrict the speech. Fighting words or words likely to result in harm to an individual fall into this category. The most notorious example is shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater. A more realistic example is the criminalization of terroristic threats.
) in an essay of at least two well-developed paragraphs, explain how laws related to capital punishment have changed since the early 1970s
At the beginning of the 1970s, capital punishment was legal throughout the United States, though execution rates varied tremendously by state. However, in 197, in the case of Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 38 (197), the Supreme Court suspended capital punishment throughout the states. The Court found that capital punishment violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. However, it is important to realize that the violation did not come from the…… [Read More]
U.S. Constitution: Discussion Questions
A) he Fourteenth Amendment: the Case of Whitney V. California
274 U.S. 357
Whitney V. California (No. 3)
Argued: October 6, 1925
Decided: May 16, 1927
Location: Socialist Convention at Loring Hall
Factual Analysis: Anita Charlotte Whitney, who subscribed to the CLPC (Communist Labor Party of California), found herself was arraigned for breaching the state's 'Criminal Syndicalism Act', which forbade any actions aiding or advocating crime commission, including "terrorism as a means of accomplishing a change in industrial ownership or control, or effecting any political change" (LII, n.d.).
was the 'Criminal Syndicalism Act' repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment? By penalizing those who advocate unlawful and violent methods of altering political and industrial situations and not penalizing individuals who advocate the same methods with the aim of maintaining such conditions, the statute, in the view of the defendant, contravened the 'Equal Protection Clause of the…… [Read More]
Is Capital Punishment Cruel and Unusual?
hat is cruel and unusual punishment? Does the definition of cruel and unusual punishment change with time and changing social mores? Does the determination of whether or not a punishment is cruel and unusual depend on the crime committed, the criminal being punished, or both? These are all very important questions, which must all be examined before one can determine whether or not capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment.
Cruel and unusual punishment is a difficult term to define, as it depends on the values and mores of the defining society. The prohibition against cruel punishment basically means that the punishment should fit the crime. For example, determining when death is an appropriate issue has been one of the complicating factors in the death penalty debate. Historically, the death penalty was previously available for a variety of crimes, ranging from theft…… [Read More]
Supreme Court established in analyzing the constitutionality of punishment? List and discuss at least three of them.
The only specific mention of definition of legally administrable punishment in the U.S. Constitution is that the punishment not be cruel and unusual, a vague semantic term that has proved fertile ground for both opponents and proponents of the death penalty. Capital punishment, however, was declared unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia (1972). This was not because it meted out death to a defendant. Rather, it was the grounds that it was administered in a cruel and unusual fashion. Thus it was in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Also, Georgia's capital punishment laws were meted out in an unclearly defined fashion that was overly subjective, and according to sociological data submitted to the court, seemed to unfairly penalize African-Americans. It was also thus in violation of the equal protection clause…… [Read More]
Graham vs. Florida Focal Point Analysis
There are many issues involved in the Supreme Court decisions especially with regard to the Constitution. One important assumption is that the court is moving to create a situation where the rights of humans are being protected and arbitrariness being curbed. In the light of the fact that human rights are now a universal concept and is globally acknowledged, the fact that constitutions and laws that abridge the human rights have to go or be amended cannot be argued against. While the constitution may be supreme, the rights of humans take priority, especially in the global context. In such a case the case of Graham vs. Florida can be seen as a landmark judgement so far as the way prisoners have to be treated is concerned.
The problem is more of legal rationality because the laws are rules that a society creates for the…… [Read More]
adults have an episode or two from their youth of which they are not extremely proud. Perhaps it involved sneaking a beer (or several beers) at a social function, or lying about one's plans for the evening to get permission to attend a questionable event. Most kids have learned the hard way on at least a few experiences -- speeding, missing curfew, or cheating on a test. Younger children are taught that taking a pack of gum from the store without paying for it is wrong, and that there are certain words on television that they shouldn't repeat in school. e accept these facts of life fairly easily; minors aren't mentally or socially equipped to know how they should behave all of the time. Children have to be taught about social mores, and teenagers test authority without considering the consequences in a way that most adults would. Lawbreaking -- whether…… [Read More]
Also, the search warrant must specify exactly what evidence the police are seeking. At times, a search warrant is not required, for if an officer observes a crime being committed, he/she has the right to arrest or apprehend the culprits. However, if a search warrant specifies what evidence is being sought during a search and other evidence is found concerning another crime, such evidence cannot be used in court.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees that an accused person will be treated fairly and justly by the officers that make the arrest and by the courts that hear the accuser's case. As to jury trials, three rules must be followed -- first, the jury must be made up of twelve members; second, the trial must be supervised by a judge with the authority to instruct the jurors, and third, the verdict of the jurors must be unanimous. However, prior to 1968, states…… [Read More]
The Court went on (1. b) to assert that using the Eighth Amendment to apply to an issue in a public school would amount to "wrenching " it from "its historical context" -- which is actually a safeguard against criminals. The plaintiffs had also used the Fourteenth Amendment to argue that James Ingraham was not given due process, but the High Court (2.) stated that the Fourteenth Amendment does not require notice and a hearing prior to delivering blows from a wooden paddle (corporal punishment) in a public school environment since that punishment is authorized by "common law" (Cornell Law School).
The justices that ruled with the majority and refused to grant relief to the Ingraham family: Powell, Burger, Blackmun, Stewart and Rehnquist. Those justices dissenting from the majority opinion: hite, Brennan, Marshall and Stevens. As to his dissenting opinion, Justice hite asserted that because the "Framers" of the Constitution…… [Read More]
Death penalty advocates rationalize capital punishment under the principle of an eye for an eye which is the belief that punishment should fit the crime. In particular, people who support capital punishment dispute that murderers should be put to death in retribution for their crimes and that such vengeance serves justice for murder victims and their survivors. Death penalty opponents stress the purity of life, quarrelling that killing is forever wrong whether by a person or by the state and that justice is best served by way of reconciliation (The Death Penalty: Specific Issues, 2010).
Opponents of the death penalty dispute that there is a hazard of putting to death innocent people, and cite real cases in which defendants were incorrectly convicted of, and occasionally put to death for, capital crimes. Death penalty opponents see current laws which limit the appeals process as equivalent to mounting the likelihood for putting…… [Read More]
Building more prisons (only 15 of the 112 current Texas prisons are private) cost the taxpayers money, money that, given the current economic climate is begrudgingly spent. Indeed, Dick J. eavis, of the Texas Monthly, believes that the prisons of 20 years ago were much more cost-effective, and also much more effective in their job of rehabilitation, than prisons who now operate under the guidance of the PLA (Prison Litigation eform Act) signed into law by President Clinton in 1995. He states the previous prison system: "was a more efficient but no less ugly system because things were that way. Texas prisons were places where, in defiance of law, prisoners were punished by assault, by kicks and blows from guards and their convict allies, the building tenders. Men were thrown into darkened cells and kept incommunicado and wasting away on a diet of bread and water." (Texas Monthly) Was this…… [Read More]
However, this Court also recognizes that mental illness oftentimes differs from other immutable characteristics, such as mental retardation and age, in that a defendant oftentimes has the ability to control mental illness through medical interventions. hile there is tremendous evidence of Panetti's deteriorated mental state, there is very little evidence to support Panetti's assertions that he was insane at the time of the murders. Though there are serious questions regarding Panetti's competency to stand trial, much less his competency to represent himself in that trial, there simply does not appear to be any evidence that he was insane at the time of the murders. Panetti engaged in preparations that were rationally aimed at accomplishing the murder of his in-laws, but was able to refrain from killing his wife and child. In addition, he engaged in a stand-off with police that resulted in him escaping the stand-off without being killed and…… [Read More]
In oodson v. North Carolina, the Court held that an offense may not carry a mandatory capital punishment sentence, concluding that it violated both the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments because it precluded consideration of factors such as the defendant's character and life experiences in coming to a punishment decision (Larson 2003). This decision was affirmed in Roberts v. Louisiana when the Court held that even where a state narrowly defines an offense for which capital punishment be given, a mandatory imposition of the death penalty is unconstitutional (Larson 2003).
In Zant v. Stephens, a petitioner again alleged that an aggravating circumstance listed in the Georgia capital sentencing statue was invalid, and although the Court rejected the claim, it addressed the constitutionality of aggravating circumstances (Larson 2003). The Court held that an aggravating circumstance must "genuinely narrow the class of persons eligible for the death penalty and must reasonably justify the…… [Read More]
The trial court was concerned with the State's lack of a written protocol specifying the chemicals and doses, the lack of consistency in its administration, the total discretion give to Dr. Doe I, and the lack of oversight over the doctor. The trial court fashioned a remedy that required the Department of Corrections to prepare a written protocol requiring the participation of a board-certified anesthesiologist, at least 5 grams of thiopental, and certification that an inmate has achieved sufficient anesthesia before administering the next two chemicals. The court required that it certify the protocol and stayed all executions till it was approved. The State submitted a plan, which was not approved by the court. The State then appealed the trial court's decision.
Rule of Law: A State's lethal injection protocol did not violate the Eighth Amendment, because the protocol required a sufficient dose of thiopental to eliminates an inmate's risk…… [Read More]
And employers cannot by law attempt to intimidate or fire workers for their pro-union activities. Another action the correctional officers could have taken would have been to bring their Congressman or Congresswoman into the matter to put pressure on Duffy through the Illinois governor's office or through federal Civil Rights legislation. Clearly Duffy was in violation of civil rights under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Answer to Question Five: Two months in solitary confinement is far too harsh for a person violating a minor institutional rule. In fact it is outrageously cruel. It violates all five of the Supreme Court's tests for whether an act is a violation of the Eighth Amendment. This kind of power is that of a demented, vicious warden, who uses severe, inhumane tactics because he has some crazed vindictive nature against inmates. He is in the wrong job because he expects prisoners (who…… [Read More]
Oreto, 37 F.3d 739 (1st Cir. 1994). The 2st Circuit rejected the defendant's claim that requiring two predicate acts for conviction under one theory of liability but only one act for conviction under "loan sharking," violated equal protection.
Due Process. The forfeiture provisions of RICO have been criticized for violating the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Numerous cases have rejected this criticism including U.S. v. Nichols, (10th Cir. 1994).
Tenth Amendment. Arguments that RICO unconstitutionally intrudes upon state sovereignty in violation of this Amendment have all been summarily rejected. U.S. v. Thompson, 685 F.2d 993-1001 (6th Cir. 1982).
Most experts agree that RICO has been abused since its first effective use against the Mafia in the 1980s. For certain, it has virtually destroyed the Mafia -- lakey's intended goal and its only intended purpose at the time. However, even prior to the first Mafia convictions under its statutes,…… [Read More]
Evolution of the Death Penalty in Supreme Court Jurisprudence
Capital punishment has been in existence for centuries. As early back as the Eighteenth Century B.C., the use of the death penalty was found in the Code of King Hammurabi (Death Penalty Information Center [DPIC], 2010). The utilization of the death penalty for designated crimes continued through the years and became incorporated in Britain's penal system (DPIC, 2010). Britain's use of capital punishment carried over into colonial America (DPIC, 2010). Since that time, the death penalty has been a part of the American criminal justice system. However, its use has not been without strong opposition. This paper explores the Supreme Court cases exploring this controversial topic and discusses the evolution of jurisprudence on the subject matter.
Much of the legal support or opposition for the use of the death penalty has been at the state level. Where the death…… [Read More]
There should also be refresher courses given every year so that officers do not forget about their ethical responsibilities. t is important in the police arena that ethical behavior is top priority and that everyone is as ethical as they can be.
Web Field Trip
Tonry, M. (1997). ntermediate Sanctions in Sentencing Guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/165043.pdf
The article ntermediate Sanctions in Sentencing Guidelines is a very comprehensive guide to what intermediate sanctions are and how they can be incorporated into sentencing guidelines. This article defines what intermediate sanctions are and how they can be used in sentencing guidelines in order to help those offenders who may not otherwise benefit from traditional sentencing practices. The guide also discusses the problems that can occur when implementing these types of sanctions and what can be done to try and avoid the issues that can occur. The overall gist of the article is to…… [Read More]
One is most deterred by what one fears most. From which it follows that whatever statistics fail, or do not fail, to show, the death penalty is likely to be more deterrent than any other.
If it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to prove statistically, and just as hard to disprove, that the death penalty deters more from capital crimes than available alternative punishments do (such as life imprisonment), why do so many people believe so firmly that the death penalty is a more effective deterrent?
Some are persuaded by irrelevant arguments. They insist that the death penalty at least makes sure that the person who suffered it will not commit other crimes. True. Yet this confuses incapacitation with a specific way to bring it about: death. Death is the surest way to bring about the most total incapacitation, and it is irrevocable. ut does incapacitation need to…… [Read More]
prisoners do have some rights, it is worth noting that their rights are extremely circumscribed, particularly when contrasted with that of the average citizen who is not incarcerated. The most salient right that prisoners have is afforded by the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which strictly forbids cruel and unusual punishment (Dolovich, 2009, p. 881). As such, prisoners are entitled to a minimum standard of living. However, in several prisons it is extremely difficult to enforce this particular amendment, largely due to the fact that much of what takes place in a prison setting is well beyond the reach of the public's discernment.
Another highly important right that prisoners have is their right to due process, which is directly related to their ability to appeal decisions and to access less restrictive forms of punishment, such as parole. Due process means that prisoners are entitled to the same rights…… [Read More]
Death penalty is generally conceived of as the supreme legal sanction, inflicted only against perpetrators of the most serious crimes. The human rights community has traditionally held a stance against the death penalty for a wide variety of reasons: critics argue that the death penalty is inhuman and degrading; that it is inappropriately applied and often politically motivated; and that rather than reducing crime, the viciousness of the punishment only serves as an inspiration to further violence.
Historically the death penalty has existed all around the world. Only since the beginning of the twentieth century has the death penalty been rejected by a growing number of people and states. International law discourages but does not prohibit it. Article 6 (paragraphs 2 and 5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political ights states that "sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the…… [Read More]
Paradoxically, states with harsher criminal statutes and higher conviction rates tend to maintain fewer inmate developmental programs because high-volume prisons tend to be run on a for-profit basis that discourages "unnecessary" spending. The most cynical suggestion is that decreasing recidivism is against the financial interests of private prisons and (although to a lesser extent,) those of government-run prisons as well (Schmalleger, 2008).
Other aspects of many types of contemporary criminal trends may also significantly undermine any strategy of deterrence through awareness of strict prosecution and sentencing. In that regard, law enforcement authorities across the nation have catalogued volumes of information about criminal subcultures in general and of the street gang mentality in particular (Pinizzotto, Davis, & Miller, 2007). Urban street gangs in particular have given rise to a culture of remorseless violence and disregard for the consequences of even the most violent crime that largely precludes any real deterrent value…… [Read More]
The debate surrounding capital punishment is not as clear as one might think -- in fact, there is a great deal of gray within this debate. The actual definition is State controlled taking of a human life in response to some crime committed by a person who was legally convicted of that crime (Lacayo, 2009). Capital punishment has been part of human history, and currently 58 global nations actively practice it, 95 have abolished it, and the remained have not used it in over a decade (Amnesty International, 2010). Some scholars tout the view that capital punishment produces an extremely strong deterrent effect to crime that actually saves lives, is supported by the majority of Americans, and that each execution actually results in a statistically viable reduction in murders (Muhlhausen, 2007). As of 2010, however, Amnesty International categorizes most countries as abolitionist regarding the death penalty (Figures on…… [Read More]
Locking up petty thieves and drug users (the overwhelming majority of them black and Latino males) for 25 years to life without the possibility of parole is a blatant violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment."
Summary and Conclusion
Changes are needed in order to address the critical problem of overcrowding in U.S. Prisons and as well the fact that there are so many non-violent offenders housed with hardened and violent criminal individuals is as well a problem in the present structure of the prison system. Only legislation of this law into a modified workable solution will address all the relevant issues brought on by the "Three Strikes" law.
Ehlers, Scott, et al. (2004) Still Striking Out Ten Years of California's Three Strikes Law 2004 September:
According to this work written and published in 2004: " the ten-year anniversary of the signing of the…… [Read More]
Equal protection is a fundamental constitutional protection, that in modern times, guarantees the equal effect of law to all persons. In that regard, the Supreme Court has established specific suspect classes of individuals, such as membership in a minority race, whose rights to equal protection must be guarded most scrupulously, primarily because the need to do so has been more than adequately demonstrated by aspects of relatively recent American history.
According to criminologists and researchers who have conducted studies of the impact of criminal laws in general, and of capital punishment in particular, criminal defendants who are members of minority races (as well as those who are poor) are statistically much more likely to receive the death penalty in comparison with non- minority (and wealthier) criminals convicted of identical death-penalty-eligible offenses (Schmalleger, 2007; Zalman, 2008). This discrepancy suggests that capital punishment in the U.S. still violates one of…… [Read More]
Therefore, even staunch proponents of capital punishment share the concern that it be (1) imposed only where extreme punishment is appropriate to the nature of the crime, and (2) applied in a manner that does not cause unnecessary pain or prolonged suffering. Assuming those elements are satisfied, capital punishment is warranted in certain situations.
The prospect of conviction in error is one of the strongest positions against capital punishment, precisely because the concept of valuing the preservation of the freedom of the innocent from wrongful conviction over the value of ensuring punishment for the guilty is fundamental to American justice. By extension, one could argue convincingly that protection against wrongful execution is even more important than wrongful criminal conviction in general. However, it is possible to establish more stringent standards of proof, judicial review, and myriad other conceivable procedural safeguards short of abolishing capital punishment altogether. Therefore, that approach would…… [Read More]
Specifically, Singleton's case was denied review by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, and he was executed in Arkansas on January 6, 2004. As noted in the lower court's dissent: "Treating the prisoner may provide short-term relief but ultimately result in his execution, whereas leaving him untreated will condemn him to a world such as Singleton's, filled with disturbing delusions and hallucinations." Simply put: The Court found it in the state of Arkansas' best interest for Singleton to be forcibly treated and executed rather than left untreated but alive."
The U.S. Supreme Court has been consistently clear since the decision in Gregg v. Georgia that the Constitution does not prohibit execution as long as procedural safeguards are established, but the Court's jurisprudence concerning the mentally ill as opposed to the mentally retarded has been less clear. In 2002, the Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded…… [Read More]
The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Illinois and argued that the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to protect against race discrimination only…" Gibson, 2007, Background to Muller v. Oregon section ¶ 1). The Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not include the protection of women's rights.
The following depicts Justice Bradley's concurring opinion regarding Bradwell's
Man is, or should be, woman's protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. The constitution of the family organization, which is founded in the divine ordinance, as well in the nature of things, indicates the domestic sphere as that which properly belongs to the domain and functions of womanhood.... The paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law…… [Read More]
and, that do to so would contradict Judeo-Christian values of morality (Wilson, 2009). Additionally, opponents of the death penalty note that there is no evidence that lethal punishment has any effect whatsoever on whether or not criminals will commit a murder; and, that retribution here does not help to bring about closure. ather, it perpetuates the underlying violence and had a tendency to bring about more anger as opposed to peace. In the words of Jesuit Priest and Community Professor, aymond a. Schroth, S.J., "It [capital punishment] contaminates the otherwise good will which any human being needs to progress in love and understanding" (Schroth, 2008). Thus, capital punishment as a means to provide retribution for families fails to take into consideration the immense toll that the process of putting another human being puts another under.
In addition to the foregoing reasons against capital punishment, a review of the implementation of…… [Read More]
It was during the same period that hostilities with the communist leadership culminated into the bombing of Libya, loggerheads with the Soviet Union and a stiff arms race with the U.S.S.R.
It is also significant to note that it was during the same time that he successfully engaged Mikhail Gorbachev who was then the Soviet General secretary and culminated into the signing of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty that signaled the end in arms race and both countries agreed to decrease in nuclear weapons in their custody.
Upon ascending to presidency, Reagan was bent on introducing new political as well as economic dispensations radically. He advocated more for supply-side economics which saw him push for reduction of tax rates to speed up economic growth, money supply control to check inflation, reduction of regulation on the economy particularly business to encourage competitive and free-market free for all which as a matter…… [Read More]
It is difficult to argue that the death penalty is being applied evenly and fairly as required by the Supreme Court's Furman v. Georgia decision. In fact, it could be argued, with statistics like these, that the application of the death penalty is being influenced by racial factors.
If the race of the victim is a factor in deciding whether or not the defendant receives the death penalty, then the race of the defendant is even more of a factor. For decades, critics of the justice system have asserted race to be a factor in crime and prosecutions in the United States, and it was ultimately the arbitrary imposition of the death penalty on African-Americans in Georgia that led to the Supreme Court's banning it in 1971. Black defendants are still overwhelming prosecuted more often than white defendants, but it is not only death penalty cases where this is the…… [Read More]
In the end this may require a campaign to recruit more female corrections officers and eliminate or reduce greatly the presence of male officers from female facilities. Because of past abuses, the presence of male officers may cause many psychological obstacles for female inmates even if the officers are not sexually abusing inmates.
The increase in the female inmate population coupled with the increase in the violent nature of crimes being committed by women has caused corrections organizations to hire male guards. On the one hand, the male guards have the physical strength to subdue a violent or aggressive inmate. On the other hand male guards can also serve as very intimidating figures in a population where the majority of the women have been sexually or physically abused before coming to prison. Prior abuses cause these women to be more vulnerable and more likely to be preyed upon by…… [Read More]
Putting the defendant in jail for life is, simply put, a violation of the Eighth Amendment - cruel and unjust punishment.
King Brothers Case
This case followed directly on the heels of the Tate case, but provides less of a defense to the children here. It is undisputed that the children knew what they were doing when they helped to murder their father. Unlike the Tate case, there is no debate about mens rea, or actual guilt in the crime.
As a defense attorney, however, I would focus the children's defense on the fact that the sentencing of life in prison is unconstitutional given the Eighth Amendment's bar against cruel and unjust punishment.
The children were exceedingly young, and under the influence of child molester and statutory rapist. As a result, their situation is extraordinary in its circumstances, and even though a prison sentence is appropriate, a mitigated sentence with…… [Read More]
In the city of New Orleans, murder is an epidemic; one cannot watch a local news program or read a newspaper without hearing of another murder. The deaths and their attendant toll on families and loved ones are devastating, but the impact is not limited to the victims. Instead, this epidemic of murder impacts the entire community; the murders demonstrate a lack of respect for the value of human life, as well as a callous disregard for the rule of law. The justice system appears to be broken, and it appears that people commit murder without considering the morality of their actions or feeling the real-life consequences to them if they are caught. The disregard for the law can be understood when placed in context; even murderers who are caught, prosecuted, and convicted of their crimes tend to serve marginal sentences before being returned to the community to…… [Read More]
Supreme Court's recent decision to ban the execution of mentally challenged individuals raises important ethical issues. Judges must be able to determine if a person is indeed mentally challenged. hile the legal system and psychology have made important insights into this issue, there is still some inconsistency in the definition and application of mental retardation in the judicial system. Accordingly, an analysis of the ethical principles underlying the issue is useful. Ultimately, a combination of both deontological and teleological approaches may provide the best ethical guidelines for such a complex issue.
The ethical factors involved in handing down any death sentence are complex. This is especially true when the accused is a mentally challenged individual. In the American criminal justice system, the court must be assured that an accused individual is fully responsible for their actions in order to hold responsible for their crime. In other words, in order to…… [Read More]
Pelican Bay State Prison: War Zone
How does the video you selected support a social structure theory?
One social structure theory relates and highlights all the happenings in this video. Social disorganization theory appears to dominate the entire movie. This concept represents social change, lack of social agreement, and social conflict as the main causes of criminal activity and deviance; it is carefully associated with the environmental theory of criminology. Poverty is regarded to be the minimum stage or point in our social society. On the poverty stage, there are high levels of lack of employment, drug use and addiction, criminal activity and people without abilities to discover efficient and permanent employment. It does not imply that this does not exist in the higher stages of our society: they exist although the magnitudes are significantly lower. Absence of education is attributed to learners who fail to be successful in the…… [Read More]
Of the major forms of punishment meted out by the criminal justice system in the United States, the death penalty seems the most severe. Fines, probation, restitution money, community service, and even incarceration all offer the potential for the accused to rehabilitate, or perform restitution in the form of service to the victim. This may be why the United States and Japan are the only modern industrialized democracies to have the death penalty: it may be perceived as overly harsh by some other cultures ("Death Penalty Fast Facts," n.d.). In spite of some problems related to its use, the death penalty remains in place in the United States for several reasons. For one, the death penalty is not used often and is applied judiciously due to "declining support," (Mears 1). It is a severe option that is taken seriously and invoked only to serve the fundamental core values…… [Read More]
The United States is one of the few industrialized, democratic nations in the world which still permits capital punishment on a state-by-state basis. Not all states have the death penalty but executions are still carried out in the United States and the punishment remains controversial.
Despite the singularity of its status internationally, the death penalty has historically been a popular policy in the United States, even though it has been hotly debated throughout US history in the legislature and the courts. This essay on death penalty will examine its legal statusin the United States, its history, and its future.
The Future of the Death Penalty in America
Why America Has a Death Penalty
Death Penalty: Arguments and Counter-Arguments
Death Penalty Pros and Cons
[ more topics for death penalty ]
A Comparison of the Death Penalty in Different Countries and the United States
The Death Penalty Debate…… [Read More]
Prosecuting a former President for illegal activity in his role as President would certainly increase partisan bickering; making it less likely that Obama could effectuate meaningful change in his administration. Doing that might actually cause people greater harm. For example, the economy is having a direct impact on Americans right now, diverting funds into an expensive investigation that might not even result in a realistic possibility of prosecution for Bush or other high-level officials, would be a waste of taxpayer money. Obama must consider all of those issues when making the decision whether or not to investigate Bush. The most reasonable conclusion is for him not to instigate a criminal investigation against Bush, but to correct the illegal behavior, compensate victims, and move forward.
ABCNews. "Sawyer Interviews Ford: Pardoning Nixon was 'Absolutely Essential.'" Good
Morning America. 2006. ABCNews Internet Ventures. http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2753606.
The Children of the Camps Project. "Internment…… [Read More]
Capital punishment: Is it a deterrent to Cop Killings?
Capital punishment is the imposition of death penalty on persons condemned of a crime. (Americana, 596) Killing condemned criminals has been one of the most extensively practiced types of criminal punishment in the United States. Capital punishment has been enforced as a punishment for brutal offenses from the initial stages of documented history. The first evidence of death penalty in the United States dates back to the colonial period in 1608 in Jamestown. Possibly there do is no existence of any public policy matter connected to management of crime which has been explored and evaluated so long as the death penalty; in much diverse means than the death penalty; or in higher degree than the death penalty.
Expressed in an easy manner, the predicament is this: no crime control concern known by us more about than the death penalty and also…… [Read More]
omen and the Death Penalty Analysis
An Analysis of the Historical Effect of Gender and Race on the Application of the Death Penalty in the United States
hile the debate over capital punishment continues to rage in the United States, questions of why the death penalty is viewed as ethical by some, while others would view it as unethical become increasingly significant. In addition, there are new controversies concerning the ethical nature of the death penalty in view of new technology such as DNA evidence that has cleared many death row prisoners. The ethical debate over the death penalty has resulted in the practice being abolished in most industrialized nations, and the United States remains the only advanced country in the world with the death penalty (with the exception of Belgium, where the practice is legal but is virtually nonexistent). However, capital punishment remains a viable punishment for capital crimes…… [Read More]
esearch reveals that those who kill white victims are much more likely to receive the death penalty than those who kill black victims. One study found that for similar crimes committed by similar defendants, blacks received the death penalty at a 38% higher rate than all others (Dieter, 1998).
It is significant to note that the death penalty is more likely to be imposed on men than woman. Death sentences and actual executions for female offenders are rare in comparison to such events for male offenders. Woman account for 10% of the murder arrests, 2% of the death sentences imposed at the trial level, 1.7% of the persons presently on death row, and 1% of the persons actually executed since 1973 (Streib, 2010).
States vary enormously in the quality of representation they provide to indigent defendants. The quality of legal representation is related to the arbitrary application of the death…… [Read More]
Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974)
Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979)
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976)
Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396 (1974)
Facts: n Wolff v. Mcdonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974), the inmates at a Nebraska prison filled a complaint against disciplinary measures at the prison contrary to the due process. n it they outlined the short comings of the prisons legal assistance program in meeting constitutional standards. They added that the prison's regulations governing inmates' mail were also unconstitutionally restrictive.
n the Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979), the inmates filed a class action suit in the Court of Appeal against constitutionality of various confinement and practices in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. These included double bunking, publisher only rule, restricting books intended for inmates, prohibition of food and other items from outside as well as unnecessary inmate body cavity searches.
n Estelle…… [Read More]
The significant increase in prison terms has created unsafe, unhealthy, and potentially dangerous conditions for violent and non-violent criminals alike, frequently affecting the potential to rehabilitate felons. The Law has led to various unusual circumstances that have attracted national attention, especially those cases that send third-time offenders to prison for 25 years or more for simple, non-violent, victimless crimes, such as in the case of Santos Reyes in 1998. Despite the controversy and negative consequences, the Supreme Court upheld the Three Strikes Law, saying that it stopped short of constituting "cruel and unusual punishment."
The Three Strikes Law had the intention of limiting recidivism. However, numerous studies suggest that declines in recidivism have been negligible. This is another unintended consequence of the Three Strikes Law; the general failure to curb third offenses. Violent crimes have dropped in urban areas in California, but those declines are in line with declines in…… [Read More]
upport for this contention comes from the observation that male offenders too are comparatively lightly punished when domestic abuse is involved.
Other factors, however, indicate greater complexity. treib (1990), for instance, showed that confounding factors for deserving the death sentence include the offender's prior record for committing crimes; premeditation of the crime; and her potential for future violent crimes. Women are less likely to represent or possess these characteristics than men and, therefore, subsequently are figured less often on Death Row.
However, it is also very likely that simple sexism plays a part. This is particularly likely when it is seen that those tending more towards the death penalty - i.e. more conservative, Republican, white-male dominated groups -- are also less strongly against women receiving this penalty. In fact, these groups have sometimes even prominently militated against women receiving the death sentence, as was the case with Pat Robertson and…… [Read More]
However, the reasons why people commit crime are as different as the individuals themselves. Intentional murder comes in two different flavors. The first is the carefully plotted, well thought out, planned act. In this scenario, motivational theory takes over. The person must feel that they will gain some type of value from the action. It may be that they gain something, such as money, or they may feel that eliminating a person will offer them some type of protection. In any case, the person justifies their actions through a perceived reward in the future (Horisch and Strassmair).
In the case of an intentional murder, the death penalty may deter the action. However, several conditions must be met for the fear of death to act as a deterrent. The person must feel that there is a significant possibility that they will be caught and punished for their crimes. In many cases,…… [Read More]
For example, they should be required to complete at least 20 hours of training on brain disorders. It is ideal if consumers and family members become part of the activity and process. It must also be emphasized that, in most cases, dangerous or violent acts committed by persons with these brain disorders are the consequence of neglect, inappropriate or inadequate treatment of their illness (NAMI).
The Alliance also contends that the unpopular insanity defense should be retained and should be tested according to both volitional and cognitive criteria or standards (National Alliance of Mental Illness 2006). At the same time, the Alliance opposes the adoption of laws or position on "guilty but mentally ill. Instead, it advocates systems, which will provide comprehensive, long-term care and supervision in hospitals and the community where such individuals are found who are "not guilty by reason of insanity," "guilty except for insanity," or similar…… [Read More]
heard in the U.S. Supreme Court -- ashington v. Harper -- will be the focus of the first part of this paper. The second part reviews prison conditions in Texas.
ashington v. Harper -- Part One
This was a case resulting from the unstable mental condition of alter Harper, who has been incarcerated in the ashington state prison system since a robbery conviction in 1976. Harper has been administered antipsychotic drugs for years because of his psychiatric condition; when he does not take his medication his condition worsens, and he becomes violent, according to Justia.com, the U.S. Supreme Court Center for public information. On occasion Harper has become violently out of control in prison and as a result has been transferred to the Special Offender Center (SOC).
hile at the SOC (a facility for inmates with "serious mental illness") Harper was required to take the drugs "against his will." He…… [Read More]
Juveniles who are Imprisoned for Life with No Parole
We live in a world where human beings of any age commit and are punished for menial to heinous crimes. In other words, humans at every stage of life are committing and being punished for crimes, including children and teenagers, called juveniles under the law until they reach adulthood. The paper will explore and debate the pros and cons of sentencing juveniles as LWOPs. The paper will reference recent and groundbreaking cases of juvenile crime and debatable sentencing. The paper aims to provide a modern context within which to examine and debate the use of life sentencing without parole for juvenile offenders. Ultimately, the paper concludes that LWOP for juveniles should, with great discrimination and in the rarest of cases, be used around the world, but before doing so, the stipulations for its use must be clearly stated and…… [Read More]
Dead Man alking-MLA
DEAD MAN ALKING
Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a controversial subject in modern day America. Should criminals be put to death for their crimes? Or should punishments be limited to prison terms? Americans lineup on both sides of the issue with some States favoring executions and others banning the practice. Tim Robbins's Dead Man alking is a film which delved into this subject through the story of a nun who is asked by a death row convict to become his spiritual advisor. The movie was based on Sister Prejean's Book of the same title about her real-life encounter with a convicted death row inmate named Pat Sonnier. (estlund ) The different sides of this complicated issue were explored through different characters in the story, each with a different view on the events which has resulted in a convicted murdered facing his own execution.…… [Read More]