Amendment VIII

Excessive bails, fines, cruel or unusual punishment

The Eighth Amendment

The eighth amendment states, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted." This amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. It was ratified on December 15, 1791. It was originally part of the English Bill of Rights. When deciding what amendments to add, James Madison suggested this.

Excessive Bails

The eighth amendment gives people the right not to get excessive bails. This means that if you are arrested, your family will not have to pay a lot of money to get you out. Many states have extensions of this rule. Michigan's judges can be censured if they give and excessive bail.

Excessive Fines

The eighth amendment also states that you cannot receive an excessive fine for your crime after conviction. Many people were given an extreme amount of money to pay after they had been convicted.

Cruel or Unusual Punishment

Under the eighth amendment you cannot be charged with any cruel or unusual punishment. This part of the amendment is very controversial. How do we know what punishments are cruel or unusual? It has been said by Supreme Court Justices punishments must not lower human dignity, be obviously personal, totally rejected throughout society, or completely unnecessary. There is also the issue of capitol punishment. Some people believe that the death sentence is very cruel but others think it is necessary in society.