Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law and Race Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Cruel and unusual punishment

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

The Concept Of “Unusual Punishments” In Anglo-American Law: The Death Penalty As Arbitrary, Discriminatory, And Cruel And Unusual, John D. Bessler May 2018

The Concept Of “Unusual Punishments” In Anglo-American Law: The Death Penalty As Arbitrary, Discriminatory, And Cruel And Unusual, John D. Bessler

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, like the English Bill of Rights before it, safeguards against the infliction of “cruel and unusual punishments.” To better understand the meaning of that provision, this Article explores the concept of “unusual punishments” and its opposite, “usual punishments.” In particular, this Article traces the use of the “usual” and “unusual” punishments terminology in Anglo-American sources to shed new light on the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. The Article surveys historical references to “usual” and “unusual” punishments in early English and American texts, then analyzes the development of American constitutional ...