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The U.S. Constitution, 2nd Edition by Timothy Harper

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CHAPTER11

The Eighth Amendment: Bail and Punishment

In This Chapter

  • The Eighth Amendment
  • Excessive bail and fines
  • Cruel and unusual punishment

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The Eighth Amendment’s vague language has led to confusing and conflicting court rulings over the years, especially with shifts in society’s standards and the makeup of the Supreme Court. What does “excessive” mean? What is “cruel and unusual”? And do the standards apply differently to different types of defendants? Children? People with mental disabilities?

In particular, there’s been ...

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