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Eighth Amendment

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NEWS
December 13, 1991
The Eighth Amendment forbids "excessive bail," "excessive fines" and "cruel and unusual punishments." Though it was certainly not on the Framers' minds, the Eighth Amendment has become in this generation almost exclusively involved with capital punishment. The Eighth has probably produced the most heated legal and moral debate of any amendment in the Bill of Rights.This shortest of the first 10 amendments has also produced the longest one-case output of Supreme Court opinions. That was in 1972, when the court struck down a death sentence law in Georgia with a decision that, in effect, killed all such laws.
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NEWS
By Cal Thomas | April 26, 2014
Honestly, unless you are a big government liberal, how many people think the federal government should have more power than it already exercises over its citizens? Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 94, thinks the Constitution needs at least six amendments in order to bring the country more in line with what he believes is good for us. He outlines them in his new book, "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. " It is a revealing look into liberal thinking and the ideological opposite of radio talk show host Mark Levin's book, "The Liberty Amendments: Restoring theAmerican Republic.
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NEWS
By LINDA R. MONK | January 22, 1993
Alexandria, Virginia. -- These are banner days for non-smokers. To the amazement of many, smoking was prohibited at the Orioles' new stadium, even though it is open-air. Then, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that second-hand smoke is a human carcinogen, confirming that it poses a significant health risk to non- smokers.Finally, the Supreme Court last week heard the case of Helling v. McKinney, in which a Nevada prisoner claims that being exposed to cigarette smoke is cruel and unusual punishment.
NEWS
By Cal Thomas | December 20, 2006
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Which of the following scenarios constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution: (1) aborting a baby with a fully developed nervous system and probably inflicting great pain; (2) killing a nightclub manager in cold blood; (3) taking 34 minutes - twice the normal time - to execute the killer of the nightclub manager? Anti-death-penalty forces want us to believe No. 3. They claim the Dec. 13 execution in Florida of Angel Nieves Diaz took too long and required a second injection, thus violating the Eighth Amendment.
NEWS
By GEORGE F. WILL | March 2, 1992
Washington.-- The supervisor of the Louisiana prison guards told them ''not to have too much fun'' as they punched and kicked the handcuffed and shackled prisoner. It was the sort of stomach-turning scene that even when described nearly a decade later in court papers loses none of its power to provoke civilized people to reach for any remedy to redress the wrong.But a provocation is not necessarily a justification for invoking the Constitution. Constitutional rulings require reasons relating actions to principles and precedents.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun PTCHD: High court put new limit on lawsuits by inmates over conditions in prisonsWashington Bureau of The Sun Ann LoLordo of the Metropolitan staff of The Sun contributed to this article | June 18, 1991
WASHINGTON -- Dividing 5-4, the Supreme Court yesterday put a strict new limit on state prison inmates' attempts to use the Constitution to force the warden and other officials to improve living conditions behind bars.Bad conditions inside prisons, the court ruled, are unconstitutional only when they are the direct result of officials' intentional actions.Four of Maryland's prisons have been under federal court order since 1977 because of poor and overcrowded conditions, but it was unclear yesterday whether the Supreme Court decision would haveany effect on those consent agreements.
NEWS
By Cal Thomas | December 20, 2006
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Which of the following scenarios constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution: (1) aborting a baby with a fully developed nervous system and probably inflicting great pain; (2) killing a nightclub manager in cold blood; (3) taking 34 minutes - twice the normal time - to execute the killer of the nightclub manager? Anti-death-penalty forces want us to believe No. 3. They claim the Dec. 13 execution in Florida of Angel Nieves Diaz took too long and required a second injection, thus violating the Eighth Amendment.
NEWS
June 14, 1994
It is an open secret that homosexual rape in prisons by inmates of other inmates is widespread and, in many cases, taken lightly if not ignored by wardens and guards. A judiciary that has attempted to deal with brutality by prison guards and with cell size, prison menus and even passive tobacco smoke has yet to deal with this much more serious problem in a forceful and effective way. Until now -- maybe.The Supreme Court ruled last week in a case involving rape that "a prison official cannot be found liable under the Eighth Amendment unless the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must draw that inference."
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau | February 26, 1992
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court put new restrictions yesterday on prison guards' use of force to control unruly inmates, saying it is unconstitutional for guards to cause pain intentionally even if no serious injury results.The ruling came on a 7-2 vote, with new Justice Clarence Thomas issuing a strongly worded dissent that laid out a deeply conservative view of prisoners' rights.Mr. Thomas, in his first opinion as a member of the court dealing with an inmate rights' claim, protested vehemently over the court's repeated use of the Constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" to protect inmates against harsh conditions inside prison.
NEWS
By Sheridan Lyons and Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer | December 29, 1993
Seizing a man's $13,000 Corvette because he bought some phony crack cocaine amounts to an excessive fine in violation of the Constitution, a Baltimore County judge has ruled.William Garfield Witt, 30, bought a small amount of a substance that looked like the illegal drug at the Maple Crest apartments on Oct. 23, 1992. The seller turned out to be an undercover county police officer working on a "sting" operation to stop open drug dealing in the area.Mr. Witt, who lives in Essex, had no criminal record.
NEWS
By DAVID G. SAVAGE and DAVID G. SAVAGE,LOS ANGELES TIMES | December 8, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The government can seize part of a person's monthly Social Security benefit to pay off old student loans, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday. The 9-0 ruling gives the government an extra way of collecting on more than $7 billion in delinquent student loans. It could cost retirees up to 15 percent of their monthly benefit. Generally, Social Security benefits have been shielded from seizure. But Congress revised the law in 1996 to allow specifically for the collection of unpaid student loans, the justices said.
NEWS
By CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE | March 18, 2005
WASHINGTON - They swarmed the offices of U.S. representatives Wednesday demanding answers. "We're here to ask questions," said Alex DeOrazio, as he greeted a staffer for Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat from North Carolina. But this was no congressional probe, and DeOrazio was no investigator. The Glen Burnie fifth-grader was one of a group of elementary- and middle-school pupils who fanned out through the Cannon House Office Building to quiz congressional staffers on their knowledge of the Constitution as part of Liberty Day. In Butterfield's office, legislative fellow Ryan McKeon knew that senators serve six-year terms, but he was stumped on the next question: "What are the three rights in the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?"
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | March 9, 2005
FOUR INMATES were stabbed at the House of Corrections Annex in Jessup last month. Acting on a hunch that this might have been inappropriate conduct, prison officials instituted a one-month lockdown in which 1,200 inmates were confined to their cells. Now there's a Supreme Court case waiting to happen if ever I heard of one. You can imagine the scenario: One or several inmates, bristling that they have to be locked down because of the actions of a few dimwits, start to complain. "Hey, we didn't stab anybody.
NEWS
By Gregory Kane | March 5, 2005
THE NINE Divines have struck again. Actually, only about five or six justices on our Supreme Court are in full-blown divine mode at any given moment. Of the high court's nine members, only three can be counted on to consistently rule as if they have any sense: Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The others - some of whom have distinguished themselves as eager "penumbra raiders" - need full-immersion civics lessons about how and why the Constitution limits the powers of all three branches of the federal government.
NEWS
By Clarence Page | June 28, 2002
WASHINGTON -- Executions of the mentally retarded are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has ruled. That's a relief. I'd rather let dear little Kyrgyzstan stand alone as the only remaining country that allows regular executions of mentally retarded criminals. Nevertheless, an interesting backlash has erupted against the Supreme Court's decision, not so much for what it decided as the way it decided it. The complaint is that the high court's 6-3 decision is based not so much on legal precedent as on trends among the states, foreign countries, religious leaders, professional organizations and, most controversially, the results of opinion polls.
NEWS
By Linda R. Monk | October 26, 1999
THE STATE of Florida is getting squeamish about electrocuting murderers. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court released an opinion complete with color photos of the executed body of Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis, his blood-soaked shirt and contorted purple face downloaded to any curious citizen via the court's Web site.During oral arguments on the case, Provenzano vs. Moore, Justice Harry Lee Anstead asked an attorney for the state: "Can you hold that picture up to the people of the state of Florida and say this is what we want to do when we are taking a person's life as a result of a heinous crime?"
NEWS
By Linda R. Monk | October 26, 1999
THE STATE of Florida is getting squeamish about electrocuting murderers. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court released an opinion complete with color photos of the executed body of Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis, his blood-soaked shirt and contorted purple face downloaded to any curious citizen via the court's Web site.During oral arguments on the case, Provenzano vs. Moore, Justice Harry Lee Anstead asked an attorney for the state: "Can you hold that picture up to the people of the state of Florida and say this is what we want to do when we are taking a person's life as a result of a heinous crime?"
NEWS
June 14, 1994
It is an open secret that homosexual rape in prisons by inmates of other inmates is widespread and, in many cases, taken lightly if not ignored by wardens and guards. A judiciary that has attempted to deal with brutality by prison guards and with cell size, prison menus and even passive tobacco smoke has yet to deal with this much more serious problem in a forceful and effective way. Until now -- maybe.The Supreme Court ruled last week in a case involving rape that "a prison official cannot be found liable under the Eighth Amendment unless the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must draw that inference."
NEWS
By Sheridan Lyons and Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer | December 29, 1993
Seizing a man's $13,000 Corvette because he bought some phony crack cocaine amounts to an excessive fine in violation of the Constitution, a Baltimore County judge has ruled.William Garfield Witt, 30, bought a small amount of a substance that looked like the illegal drug at the Maple Crest apartments on Oct. 23, 1992. The seller turned out to be an undercover county police officer working on a "sting" operation to stop open drug dealing in the area.Mr. Witt, who lives in Essex, had no criminal record.
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