Constitutional Law On Punishment Fitting The Crime

Constitutional Law On Punishment Fitting The Crime

The Bill of Rights deals with laws pertaining to the basic human rights. One of the laws states that no one should be inflicted with unusual or cruel punishment when in custody. This constitutional law or amendment is the eighth of the ten laws of the Bill of Rights.

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It curbs the supreme power and prevents the federal government to do as it pleases. In truth, it is like a restraining order on the government, which can only operate along these guidelines.

This Amendment also says “no excessive fines be imposed”. This can be better understood with an analogy. For example, one does not complain if one is fined a small amount for littering, but the government cannot fine the guilty party a million dollars to ensure that the crime is not repeated.

The amendment also states that “excessive bail shall not be required”. The accused has to pay the court a certain sum of money as an assurance that they will return to the court to face their trial. For example, a person accused of theft of things worth six hundred dollars may pay a bail worth thousand dollars. The judge cannot ask him to pay fifty-thousand dollars as bail amount. This can be considered as an illegal action on the part of the judge.

In today’s world, capital punishment includes lethal injection, hang to death, gas chamber, firing squad or the electric chair. However, many say that these types of execution are “cruel”. Before accusing the law of being cruel, one should keep in mind the time this amendment was written. At that time people were executed by means of quartering, strangulation, burned to death or even having their guts cut out. Even petty crimes such as theft could be punished by chopping off the accused person''s arms. The amendment states that the punishment should befit the crime, without literally saying the same words. It is a relief that in today’s world there are no such cruel sentences.

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