However, for purposes of capital punishment for child rape, we find this language does not provide any additional protections beyond those provided by the Eighth Amendment. Therefore, our analysis will proceed according to Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. 38 05-1981.KA1 which renders capital punishment a proportionate penalty under the Eighth Amendment. 24 The Eighth Amendment provides that “[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” U.S. Const. amend. VIII. In Weems v. United States, the United States Supreme Court first discussed the Eighth Amendment as being “progressive, and . . . not fastened to the obsolete, but may acquire meaning as public opinion becomes enlightened by a humane justice.” 217 U.S. 349, 366-67, 378, 30 S.Ct. 544, 54 L.Ed. 793 (1910). Decades later, in Trop v. Dulles , the Supreme Court established that “[t]he Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” 356 U.S. 86, 101, 78 S.Ct. 590, 2 L.Ed.2d 630. (1958). This Eighth Amendment framework was further defined in Gregg v. Georgia , which held that a punishment is excessive and unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment if it (1) makes no measurable contribution to acceptable goals of
Later, in Stanford v. Kentucky, which held that executing an individual for crimes 25 committed at 16 or 17 years of age did not violate the Eighth Amendment, the Court held that the Court’s independent judgment had no bearing on the acceptability of a particular punishment under the Eighth Amendment. 492 U.S. 361, 109 S.Ct. 2969, 106 L.Ed.2d 306 (1989). However, as discussed infra , Stanford was later overruled by Roper v. Simmons , infra , in which the Court also reaffirmed its view prior to Stanford that it must exercise its own independent judgment to determine whether the death penalty is a disproportionate penalty. 39 05-1981.KA1 punishment and hence is nothing more that the purposeful and needless imposition of pain and suffering; or (2) is grossly out of proportion to the severity of the crime. 428 U.S. 153, 96 S.Ct. 2909, 49 L.Ed.2d 859 (1976) (affirming the death sentence for first-degree murder). In Coker v. Georgia , discussed infra , the Court further explained: A punishment might fail the test on either ground. Furthermore, these Eighth Amendment judgments should not be, or appear to be, merely the subjective views of individual Justices; judgment should be informed by objective factors to the maximum possible extent. To this end, attention must be given to the public attitudes concerning a particular sentence history and precedent, legislative attitudes, and the response of juries reflected in their sentencing decisions are to be consulted. 433 U.S. 584, 592, 97 S.Ct. 2861, 53 L.Ed.2d 982 (1977). 25 Before 1977, aggravated rape was punishable by death in Louisiana. In 1976, the United States Supreme Court invalidated the death-penalty provision of Louisiana's aggravated-rape statute based on the notion that the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty for that crime constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 128 pages?