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

Law Commons

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

Criminal Law

Eighth Amendment

Institution
Publication Year
Publication
Publication Type
File Type

Articles 1 - 30 of 186

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Gross Injustices Of Capital Punishment: A Torturous Practice And Justice Thurgood Marshall’S Astute Appraisal Of The Death Penalty’S Cruelty, Discriminatory Use, And Unconstitutionality, John D. Bessler Apr 2023

The Gross Injustices Of Capital Punishment: A Torturous Practice And Justice Thurgood Marshall’S Astute Appraisal Of The Death Penalty’S Cruelty, Discriminatory Use, And Unconstitutionality, John D. Bessler

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Through the centuries, capital punishment and torture have been used by monarchs, authoritarian regimes, and judicial systems around the world. Although torture is now expressly outlawed by international law, capital punishment—questioned by Quakers in the seventeenth century and by the Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria and many others in the following century—has been authorized over time by various legislative bodies, including in the United States. It was Beccaria’s book, Dei delitti e delle pene (1764), translated into French and then into English as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1767), that fueled the still-ongoing international movement to outlaw the death penalty. …


The Court And Capital Punishment On Different Paths: Abolition In Waiting, Carol S. Steiker, Jordan M. Steiker Apr 2023

The Court And Capital Punishment On Different Paths: Abolition In Waiting, Carol S. Steiker, Jordan M. Steiker

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The American death penalty finds itself in an unusual position. On the ground, the practice is weaker than at any other time in our history. Eleven jurisdictions have abandoned the death penalty over the past fifteen years, almost doubling the number of states without the punishment (twenty-three). Executions have declined substantially, totaling twenty-five or fewer a year nationwide for the past six years, compared to an average of seventy-seven a year during the six-year span around the millennium (1997-2002). Most tellingly, death sentences have fallen off a cliff, with fewer the fifty death sentences a year nationwide over the past …


Criminal Justice Secrets, Meghan J. Ryan Jan 2022

Criminal Justice Secrets, Meghan J. Ryan

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

The American criminal justice system is cloaked in secrecy. The government employs covert surveillance operations. Grand-jury proceedings are hidden from public view. Prosecutors engage in closed-door plea-bargaining and bury exculpatory evidence. Juries convict defendants on secret evidence. Jury deliberations are a black box. And jails and prisons implement clandestine punishment practices. Although there are some justifications for this secrecy, the ubiquitous nature of it is contrary to this nation’s Founders’ steadfast belief in the transparency of criminal justice proceedings. Further, the pervasiveness of secrecy within today’s criminal justice system raises serious constitutional concerns. The accumulation of secrecy and the aggregation …


Hiv No Longer A Death Sentence But Still A Life Sentence: The Constitutionality Of Hiv Criminalization Under The Eighth Amendment, Lauren Taylor Jan 2022

Hiv No Longer A Death Sentence But Still A Life Sentence: The Constitutionality Of Hiv Criminalization Under The Eighth Amendment, Lauren Taylor

Georgia Law Review

When the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s in the United States, there was mass confusion and hysteria regarding HIV transmission and prevention, leading many states to enact HIV criminalization statutes to prosecute persons living with HIV who either exposed another person to HIV or put someone in danger of being exposed to HIV. Yet, almost forty years later, these statutes are still used to criminalize and control the behaviors of people living with HIV, and in some cases, impose lengthy prison sentences hinging on the possibility of exposure. These HIV criminalization statutes and subsequent criminal cases often do not …


Giving Due Process Its Due: Why Deliberate Indifference Should Be Confined To Claims Arising Under The Cruel And Unusual Punishment Clause, Shad M. Brown Apr 2021

Giving Due Process Its Due: Why Deliberate Indifference Should Be Confined To Claims Arising Under The Cruel And Unusual Punishment Clause, Shad M. Brown

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

This Note discusses culpability requirements for claims brought by pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners. The initial focus is on deliberate indifference, a culpability requirement formulated under the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause but symmetrically applied to claims arising under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Note then shifts to Kingsley v. Hendrickson, a landmark Supreme Court decision that casts doubt on the application of Eighth-Amendment standards to Fourteenth-Amendment claims. Finally, this Note advocates for the application of objective unreasonableness, a different culpability requirement, to claims arising under the Due Process Clause. It does so on the …


Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski Feb 2021

Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski

Michigan Law Review

Nearly five million individuals are admitted to America’s jails each year, and at any given time, two-thirds of those held in jail have not been convicted of a crime. Under current Supreme Court doctrine, these pretrial detainees are functionally protected by the same standard as convicted prisoners, despite the fact that they are formally protected by different constitutional amendments. A 2015 decision, Kingsley v. Hendrickson, declared that a different standard would apply to pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners in the context of use of force: consistent with the Constitution’s mandate that they not be punished at all, pretrial detainees …


The Two Percent: How Florida’S Capital Punishment System Defies The Eighth Amendment, Sofia Perla Jan 2021

The Two Percent: How Florida’S Capital Punishment System Defies The Eighth Amendment, Sofia Perla

FIU Law Review

No abstract provided.


Beyond "Children Are Different": The Revolution In Juvenile Intake And Sentencing, Joshua Gupta-Kagan Jan 2021

Beyond "Children Are Different": The Revolution In Juvenile Intake And Sentencing, Joshua Gupta-Kagan

Faculty Scholarship

For more than 120 years, juvenile justice law has not substantively defined the core questions in most delinquency cases — when should the state prosecute children rather than divert them from the court system (the intake decision), and what should the state do with children once they are convicted (the sentencing decision)? Instead, the law has granted certain legal actors wide discretion over these decisions, namely prosecutors at intake and judges at sentencing. This Article identifies and analyzes an essential reform trend changing that reality: legislation, enacted in at least eight states in the 2010s, to limit when children can …


The Eighth Amendment Power To Discriminate, Kathryn E. Miller Jun 2020

The Eighth Amendment Power To Discriminate, Kathryn E. Miller

Washington Law Review

For the last half-century, Supreme Court doctrine has required that capital jurors consider facts and characteristics particular to individual defendants when determining their sentences. While liberal justices have long touted this individualized sentencing requirement as a safeguard against unfair death sentences, in practice the results have been disappointing. The expansive discretion that the requirement confers on overwhelmingly White juries has resulted in outcomes that are just as arbitrary and racially discriminatory as those that existed in the years before the temporary abolition of the death penalty in Furman v. Georgia.1 After decades of attempting to eliminate the requirement, conservative justices …


Beat The Heat: Texas’S Need To Reduce Summer Temperatures In Offender Housing, Mary E. Adair Jun 2020

Beat The Heat: Texas’S Need To Reduce Summer Temperatures In Offender Housing, Mary E. Adair

St. Mary's Law Journal

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s lack of air conditioning in offender housing areas is a violation of the Eighth Amendment and deprives offenders of humane living conditions. Unlike most Texans, offenders housed in the TDCJ are unable to adequately protect themselves from the higher, prolonged summer temperatures. Most Texas prisons do not provide air conditioning or other types of cooling systems in offender housing areas, so offenders are at the mercy of the elements with little protection against heat-related illnesses. Several jurisdictions, other than Texas, have recognized extreme temperatures in housing areas can lead to constitutional violations because the …


Bucklew V. Precythe'S Return To The Original Meaning Of "Unusual": Prohibiting Extensive Delays On Death Row, Jacob Leon Apr 2020

Bucklew V. Precythe'S Return To The Original Meaning Of "Unusual": Prohibiting Extensive Delays On Death Row, Jacob Leon

Cleveland State Law Review

The Supreme Court, in Bucklew v. Precythe, provided an originalist interpretation of the term “unusual” in the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This originalist interpretation asserted that the word “unusual” proscribes punishments that have “long fallen out of use.” To support its interpretation, the Supreme Court cited John Stinneford’s well-known law review article The Original Meaning of “Unusual”: The Eighth Amendment as a Bar to Cruel Innovation. This Article, as Bucklew did, accepts Stinneford’s interpretation of the word “unusual” as correct. Under Stinneford’s interpretation, the term “unusual” is a legal term of art derived from eighteenth-century …


Urge To Reform Life Without Parole So Nonviolent Addict Offenders Never Serve Lifetime Behind Bars, Johanna Poremba Jan 2020

Urge To Reform Life Without Parole So Nonviolent Addict Offenders Never Serve Lifetime Behind Bars, Johanna Poremba

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


Eighteen Is Not A Magic Number: Why The Eighth Amendment Requires Protection For Youth Aged Eighteen To Twenty-Five, Tirza A. Mullin Jan 2020

Eighteen Is Not A Magic Number: Why The Eighth Amendment Requires Protection For Youth Aged Eighteen To Twenty-Five, Tirza A. Mullin

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The Eighth Amendment protects a criminal defendant’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. This Note argues that any punishment of eighteen- to twenty-five-year-olds is cruel and unusual without considering their youthfulness at every stage of the criminal process, and that it is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment for these youths to be automatically treated as fully-developed adults. This Note will explore in depth how juveniles differ from adults, both socially and scientifically, and how the criminal justice system fails every youth aged eighteen- to twenty-five by subjecting them to criminal, rather than juvenile, court without considering their …


Science And The Eighth Amendment, Meghan J. Ryan Jan 2020

Science And The Eighth Amendment, Meghan J. Ryan

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

As time hurtles forward, new science constantly emerges, and many scientific fields can shed light on whether a punishment is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual, or even on whether bail or fines are unconstitutionally excessive under the Eighth Amendment. In fact, in recent years, science has played an increasingly important role in the Court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. From the development of an offender’s brain, to the composition of lethal injection drugs, even to measurements of pain, knowledge of various scientific fields is becoming central to understanding whether a punishment is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. There are a number of limits to …


Confession Obsession: How To Protect Minors In Interrogations, Cindy Chau Jan 2020

Confession Obsession: How To Protect Minors In Interrogations, Cindy Chau

Journal of Race, Gender, and Ethnicity

No abstract provided.


Recent Developments, Raelynn J. Hillhouse Jul 2019

Recent Developments, Raelynn J. Hillhouse

Arkansas Law Review

No abstract provided.


Individualized Sentencing, William W. Berry May 2019

Individualized Sentencing, William W. Berry

Washington and Lee Law Review

In Woodson v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court proscribed the use of mandatory death sentences. One year later, in Lockett v. Ohio, the Court expanded this principle to hold that defendants in capital cases were entitled to “individualized sentencing determinations.” The Court’s reasoning in both cases centered on the seriousness of the death penalty. Because the death penalty is “different” in its seriousness and irrevocability, the Court required the sentencing court, whether judge or jury, to assess the individualized characteristics of the offender and the offense before imposing a sentence. In 2012, the Court expanded this Eighth Amendment concept …


Punishing Poverty: Robinson & The Criminal Cash Bond System, Lauren Bennett Mar 2019

Punishing Poverty: Robinson & The Criminal Cash Bond System, Lauren Bennett

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The current cash bail system works in a way that punishes poverty. In Robinson v. California, the Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment to punish an individual for a status or condition. Poverty is a status. The cash bail system is unconstitutional under Robinson and the Eighth Amendment because it punishes the status of poverty. Similar to drug addiction, poverty “may be contracted innocently or involuntarily or it might even take hold from the moment of a person’s birth.” Kalief Browder had no control over his family’s financial position. Yet, this financial position kept him …


Reckless Juveniles, Kimberly Thomas Feb 2019

Reckless Juveniles, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

Modern doctrine and scholarship largely take it for granted that offenders should be criminally punished for reckless acts.1 Yet, developments in our understanding of human behavior can shed light on how we define and attribute criminal liability, or at least force us to grapple with the categories that have existed for so long. This Article examines recklessness and related doctrines in light of the shifts in understanding of adolescent behavior and its biological roots, to see what insights we might attain, or what challenges these understandings pose to this foundational mens rea doctrine. Over the past decade, the U.S. Supreme …


Judges Do It Better: Why Judges Can (And Should) Decide Life Or Death, Andrew R. Ford Jan 2019

Judges Do It Better: Why Judges Can (And Should) Decide Life Or Death, Andrew R. Ford

Dickinson Law Review (2017-Present)

Following its decision in Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court of the United States has attempted to standardize procedures that states use to subject offenders to the ultimate penalty. In practice, this attempt at standardization has divided capital sentencing into two distinct parts: the death eligibility decision and the death selection decision. The eligibility decision addresses whether the sentencer may impose the death penalty, while the selection decision determines who among that limited subset of eligible offenders is sentenced to death. In Ring v. Arizona, the Court held for the first time that the Sixth Amendment right to …


The Present Crisis In American Bail, Kellen R. Funk Jan 2019

The Present Crisis In American Bail, Kellen R. Funk

Faculty Scholarship

More than fifty years after a predicted coming federal courts crisis in bail, district courts have begun granting major systemic injunctions against money bail systems. This Essay surveys the constitutional theories and circuit splits that are forming through these litigations. The major point of controversy is the level of federal court scrutiny triggered by allegedly unconstitutional bail regimes, an inquiry complicated by ambiguous Supreme Court precedents on (1) post-conviction fines, (2) preventive detention at the federal level, and (3) the adequacy of probable cause hearings. The Essay argues that the application of strict scrutiny makes the best sense of these …


Unusual: The Death Penalty For Inadvertent Killing, Guyora Binder, Brenner M. Fissell, Robert Weisberg Jul 2018

Unusual: The Death Penalty For Inadvertent Killing, Guyora Binder, Brenner M. Fissell, Robert Weisberg

Indiana Law Journal

Can a burglar who frightens the occupant of a house, causing a fatal heart attack, be executed? More generally, does the Eighth Amendment permit capital punishment of one who causes death inadvertently? This scenario is possible in the significant minority of American jurisdictions that permit capital punishment for felony murder without requiring a mental state of intent to kill or reckless indifference to human life. Thus far, Eighth Amendment death penalty jurisprudence has required a culpable mental state of recklessness for execution of accomplices in a fatal felony, but has not yet addressed the culpability required for execution of the …


All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2018

All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes

Michigan Law Review

A review of Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment.


Convictions Of Innocent People With Intellectual Disability, Sheri Johnson, John H. Blume, Amelia Courtney Hritz Jan 2018

Convictions Of Innocent People With Intellectual Disability, Sheri Johnson, John H. Blume, Amelia Courtney Hritz

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court held that executing individuals with intellectual disability violates the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment. In addition to concerns over culpability and deterrence, the Court’s judgment in Atkins was informed by the heightened “risk of wrongful execution” faced by persons with intellectual disability. This essay explores that question both anecdotally and quantitatively, hoping to illuminate the causes of wrongful conviction of persons with intellectual disability. We provide examples from our experiences in the Cornell Death Penalty Clinic and cases brought to our attention by defense attorneys. We also present data …


Appealing To Empathy: Counsel's Obligation To Present Mitigating Evidence For Juveniles In Adult Court, Beth Caldwell Jul 2017

Appealing To Empathy: Counsel's Obligation To Present Mitigating Evidence For Juveniles In Adult Court, Beth Caldwell

Maine Law Review

Media representations of youth as “superpredators” and “monsters” fuel public fear of juvenile offenders. These depictions infiltrate public consciousness and promote widespread misconceptions about the prevalence of youth crime and the nature of juvenile delinquents. In public discourse, youth who break the law are characterized as hardened criminals who will continue to prey upon innocent victims unless they are incarcerated. However, a closer examination of the life stories of young people who commit serious crimes reveals histories characterized a lawyer’s job is to uncover these stories and to tell them in a compelling way. The effective presentation of mitigating information …


From Grace To Grids: Rethinking Due Process Protections For Parole., Kimberly A. Thomas, Paul D. Reingold May 2017

From Grace To Grids: Rethinking Due Process Protections For Parole., Kimberly A. Thomas, Paul D. Reingold

Articles

Current due process law gives little protection to prisoners at the point of parole, even though the parole decision, like sentencing, determines whether or not a person will serve more time or will go free. The doctrine regarding parole, which developed mostly in the late 1970s, was based on a judicial understanding of parole as an experimental, subjective, and largely standardless art—rooted in assessing the individual “character” of the potential parolee. In this Article we examine the foundations of the doctrine, and conclude that the due process inquiry at the point of parole should take into account the stark changes …


The History And Future Of Capital Punishment In The United States, Robert A. Stein Mar 2017

The History And Future Of Capital Punishment In The United States, Robert A. Stein

San Diego Law Review

It is a great pleasure to be with you today to deliver the 2016 Nathaniel Nathanson Lecture. I am delighted to join the many distinguished jurists and scholars that have delivered this Lecture in prior years. Early in his career, Professor Nathanson clerked for Justice Louis Brandeis and served the Securities and Exchange Commission in its formative days. Professor Nathanson is deservedly viewed as one of the architects of modern administrative law. His work, Administrative Discretion in the Interpretation of Statutes,was monumental in the field of administrative law. Professor Nathanson was the first scholar to identify a “principle of limited …


Random If Not "Rare"? The Eighth Amendment Weaknesses Of Post-Miller Legislation, Kimberly Thomas Mar 2017

Random If Not "Rare"? The Eighth Amendment Weaknesses Of Post-Miller Legislation, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

First, this Article surveys the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to analogize life without parole for juveniles to the death penalty for adults, and discusses the Eighth Amendment law regarding the parameters around death penalty statutory schemes. Second, this Article examines the state legislative response to Miller, and scrutinizes it with the Court's Eighth Amendment death penalty law-and the states' responses to this case law-in mind. This Article highlights the failure of juvenile homicide sentencing provisions to: 1) narrow offenses that are eligible for life without parole sentences; 2) further limit, once a guilty finding is made, the categories of …


The Downstream Consequences Of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan Stevenson Jan 2017

The Downstream Consequences Of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan Stevenson

Scholarly Works

In misdemeanor cases, pretrial detention poses a particular problem because it may induce innocent defendants to plead guilty in order to exit jail, potentially creating widespread error in case adjudication. While practitioners have long recognized this possibility, empirical evidence on the downstream impacts of pretrial detention on misdemeanor defendants and their cases remains limited. This Article uses detailed data on hundreds of thousands of misdemeanor cases resolved in Harris County, Texas—the thirdlargest county in the United States—to measure the effects of pretrial detention on case outcomes and future crime. We find that detained defendants are 25% more likely than similarly …


Cruel Techniques, Unusual Secrets, William W. Berry, Meghan J. Ryan Jan 2017

Cruel Techniques, Unusual Secrets, William W. Berry, Meghan J. Ryan

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

In the recent case of Glossip v. Gross, the Supreme Court denied a death row petitioner’s challenge to Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol. An important part of Justice Alito’s majority opinion highlighted the existence of a relationship between the constitutionality of a punishment and the requirement of a constitutional technique available to administer the punishment.

Far from foreclosing future challenges, this principle ironically highlights the failure of the Court to describe the relationship under the Eighth Amendment between three distinct categories of punishment: (1) the type of punishment imposed by the court — i.e., death penalty, life without parole, life with …