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By author: Robert J. McWhirter
Number of Pages:  53
Dimensions:  7 X 10 Inches (US)
Original publication year:  2017
ISBN:  978-1-945682-08-7
Paperback / softback
Availability: In stock.

1. Important: Part of an effort at punishment reform, this amendment bans excessive bail, excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment 2. Timely: This amendment still shows great vitality and relevance. Current cases [2016] of “cruel and unusual punishment” under debate encompass whether children convicted of homicide should receive lifetime sentences without possibility of parole, and whether the death penalty and the execution of defendants with intellectual disability or severely mentally ill, or anybody else, violates the 8th amendment 3. Author is a constitutional lawyer, teacher and TV commentator 4. Unique approach that links argument to popular culture--films, TV, sports and current affairs
The Eighth Amendment “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Today, our interest in “cruel and unusual punishment” centers on the death penalty. But, as made clear in this book, it has been viewed with different perspective in different ages. Medieval Christians saw the death penalty as a means of obtaining God’s grace and treated execution with reverence whereas earlier, and later generations saw it as a correction to vice and deterrent to others. Rarely has it been seen as retribution. And although the Framers’ wording, with a one word exception, is copied from the English Bill of Rights of 1689, the Framers were working with a different premise – an evolving notion of crime, proportionality and punishment. In this book, Robert McWhirter traces the complicated history that led to the juxtaposition of “cruel” and “punishment” in the Eighth Amendment from early Judaic law to the present day. This lively account is written for the interested citizen, as well as the civics student. Along the way there are surprising, and interesting, discursions into how the events and personalities surrounding the Eighth Amendment have appeared in literature, film, sports and popular culture. The book is part of a collection chronicling the origins, history, and interpretation, of the first ten Amendments to the Constitution – the Bill of Rights.
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