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Unformatted text preview: Exam III Study Guide Lesson 7: Cruel and Unusual Punishment • Cruel and Unusual Punishment • Torture does not equal Cruel and Unusual Punishment • Torture is usually done to get information about a crime, not as a punishment. • 5 th Amendment Due Process Clause • Applies to people in the territorial US, even if they are not US citizens. • 8 th Amendment – Cruel and Unusual Punishment • Has been very broadly incorporated • Requires that punishment be both cruel AND unusual • Punishment can be unusual (ex: uncommon) but not unconstitutional • If a punishment is cruel and yet common, it can still be unusual in the sense that it is unjust or excessive (arbitrary). • Robinson v. California (1962) • Facts: • CA statute made it a criminal offense for a person to “be addicted to the use of narcotics.” • Lawrence Robinson was convicted under the law, which required a sentence of at least 90 days in jail • State appellate court affirmed Robinson’s conviction on appeal • Issue: • Was the CA law an infliction of cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the 8 th Amendment? • Decision: • 6-2 in favor of Robinson , written by Stewart • Legal provision = 8 th Amendment Cruel and Unusual • Reasoning: • Court held that laws imprisoning persons afflicted with the “illness” of narcotics addiction inflicted cruel and unusual punishment in violation o the 8 th and 14 th Amendments. • Court likened law to one making it a criminal offense “to be mentally ill, or a leper, or to be afflicted with a venereal disease,” and argued that state could not punish persons merely because of their “status” of addiction • Court noted that the law was not aimed at the purchase, sale, or possession of illegal drugs. • Background of Death Penalty • In 1972 looked like DP was dying out – 5 years since anyone has been executed. • Furman v. Georgia was just decided. • In 1976 the USSC had changed • More conservative justices • Reinstated the Death Penalty • There is no mandatory Death Penalty, and no Death Penalty strictly for rape. • 1980s: • Can’t put to death anyone under 16 , but 16 and 17 can get it. • 1990s: • You can put mentally retarded to death • 2000 – Death Penalty Fading • Can’t put to death anyone under 18 (Simmons case) or Mentally Retarded (Adkins case) • Furman v. Georgia (1971) • *Right around when DP started to die out • Facts : • Furman burglarized a home and a family member discovered him. • He attempted to flee, and in doing so he tripped and fell. • Gun he was carrying went off and killed a resident of the home. • Convicted of murder and sentenced to death • Two other DP cases were decided along with Furman: • Jackson v. Georgia – Concerns constitutionality of death sentence for rape • Branch v. Texas – Concerns constitutionality of death sentence for murder • Question : • Does the imposition and carrying out of DP in these cases constitute Cruel and...
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- First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Unusual Punishment