The eighth amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Lawmakers passed this amendment on December 15, 1791. While that was over 200 years ago, you can still be thankful for their protection today.
The clause excessive bail should not be required comes from English where a long time ago sheriffs set bail amounts. They would often demand large bail amounts to keep their enemies in jail. Then, parliament passed a law where bailable and non-bailable bonds were defined. The system was very similar to what is present in Florida now where judges must obey a bond schedule for most offenses. The English system had many loopholes, however, that lawmakers closed with the passage of the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679. Then, judges had to set bail. The English legislature further defined the law a decade later. After ratifying the amendment, the United States Supreme Court found that the bond cannot be more than the expected fine. The court also found that they can hold someone without bail only in very select circumstances.
One of the most recent Supreme Court cases deals with the excessive fines wording in the U.S. Constitution. In that case, Timbs pled guilty to one count of dealing a controlled substance. He received a six-year sentence. Timbs was to serve one year on house arrest and five years on probation. He also agreed to pay the state of Indiana where the crime occurred $10,000. After several months passed, the state petitioned the court for the title to Timbs’ $40,000 Land Rover. An Indiana trial court said that granting the state ownership of the car was imposing an excessive fine. The Indiana Supreme Court disagreed, and the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In February 2019, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the vehicle belonged to Timbs and that Indiana’s claiming ownership was an excessive fine.
Many people who do not support the death penalty use this clause of the eighth amendment to support their case. Many other debates can come from this term that lawmakers copied from the English Bill of Rights. For example, who gets the right to decide cruel and unusual punishment, and should it be swayed by current public opinion or stick to what the term meant originally. Secondly, does the phrase prohibit punishments that are unusually large compared to the crime committed? Finally, does the phrase require that courts not hand down punishments that do not advance the public good?
If you do not have time to be thankful for the eighth amendment because you are in trouble with the law right now, call Mike Snapp Bail Bonds. They will help you get bail bonds in Orlando as fast as possible. Call this bail bonds in Orlando company today.