The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution pertains to criminal law by limiting the types of punishments, fines, and bails that can be imposed in criminal cases. Many people have heard of the protection against “cruel and unusual punishment.” Indeed, the origin of that concept is the Eighth Amendment.
Prohibition Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment. The Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment protects individuals convicted of crimes from receiving inhumane punishments. Over the years courts have used this amendment to forbid barbaric practices such as burning alive, disembowelment, and drawing and quartering. More contemporarily, the U.S. Supreme Court has used the Eighth Amendment to forbid executing an individual whose crime did not involve taking the natural life of another. For example, an individual convicted of rape — even of a child — cannot be put to death because of the Eighth Amendment.
Prohibition Against Excessive Fines and Bails. The Eighth Amendment also prohibits the state from levying excessive fines on those convicted of crimes. Further, the amendment protects against imposing bails higher than necessary to ensure a defendant’s appearance at his or her court appearances.
Other Eighth Amendment Protections. Other protections exist under this very important constitutional amendment. If you are facing criminal prosecution in the state of Colorado, contact Denver criminal defense attorney Jacob E. Martinez today to discuss your case, and learn how the Constitution provides protections to you.