8th amendment

-- by Xinqiu and Xinlin Huang

Prohibits excessive bail,excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishment


This amendment explains that in criminal cases unnecessary or extreme amounts of bail will not be required by the defendant. No ridiculous fines will be assessed.


  • The section of the bills of rights (first 10 amendment for United State constitution).
  • State that punishment must be fair, cannot be cruel, and that fines that are extraordinarily large cannot be set.
  • Introduced on sep 5th, 1789. Voted by quote of 12 states on dec. 15th, 1791.

understand line by line

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fine imposed"

  • The courts are not allowed to assign an accused person a large and excessive amount of money for bail. This is because if they could, a judge would have the chance to judge someone early on and set a bail amount based on that.
  • Bail: property or money that a defendant must give to the course as security for his or her appearance at trial.

How Court decide Bail

  1. The seriousness of the offense.
  2. The weight of evidence against the accused.
  3. The nature and extent of any ties.
  4. The accused ability to pay a given account.
  5. The probabilities that the accused will flee the jurisdiction if released.
* The bail will high enough so that accused will show up in the addition of trial.

“Nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”

According to the 8th amendment, punishments cannot be inhuman, outrageous or shocking to the social conscience are cruel and unusual. The 8th amendment prevent to the punishments such as being strangled, branded, or burned, or being lock in the stocks.

*Every harsh punishments are disproportional will be overturned on appeal.

How to Determine the Punishments

In determine which criminal sentence are offensive to society, the court will survey state the legislation to calculate whether they are authorized by a majority of jurisdictions.

If most states authorized a particular punishment, the court will not invalidate to "evolving standards of decency".

Defendant's Status

If the defendant is under 18-year-old U.S.A citizen who have been convicted any crime except murder, the court will minimize his moral culpability. It is some way to the mentally retarded people.

Mentally retarded people

Several states including Texas, exempted the mentally retarded individual (which means his/her IQ is lower than 70) from death-penalty. But a few state did not. Because so a few states allowed execution of mentally retarded, the practice become "unusual". According, the court categorically excluded the mentally retarded from execution under the 8th Amendment.

The Function of the Excessive Fines Clauses

Prevents judges from levying excessive fines.

What amount is excessive?

A higher court may reverse a low court's arbitrary, exorbitant fines if they are "so grossly excessive as to amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law". Fines are rarely due to any of these 8th Amendment conditions.


In 1689, this principle was put into the English Bill of Rights by Parliament, declaring "as their ancestors in like cases have usually done... that excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." The inclusion of this statement in the English Bill of Rights was largely due to the famous case of Titus Oates.

George Mason write the Virginia Declaration of Rights by the Fifth Virginia Convention at Williamsburg and included the phrase, "That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed; nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted," which was drawn nearly word for word from the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Which was approved and passed unanimously in June,1776.

Titus Oates

Titus Oates lied and caused many innocent people died because of it. His punishment resulted in being in a pillory for two days, and being whipped tied onto moving cart. Later on this case was thought of one that had very cruel and excessive punishments.

Answer the questions

why was the Eighth Amendment important to them?

The 8th Amendment is important because it protect the individual from excessive bail or fines, and from"cruel and unusual punishments". The "cruel and unusual punishments" clause has been the most important and the most widely debated. The court has ruled that punishments involving lingering deaths are banned by this amendment, but not other forms of capital punishment.

What is the Function of the 8th Amendment?

It restricts the courts from handing out cruel and/or unusual punishments for their crimes. Some argue that death is cruel while unusual is sometimes argued case by case if the punishment isn't typical to the crime.

important pieces reader needs to know about 8th amendment

  • 8th amendment is a section of Bill of Rights which is introduced by James Madison.
  • 8th amendment also applies by state.
  • some punishment are complete under the 8th amendment, such as taking away a person's citizenship or painful hard labor.

Why put this in place in the U.S government?

Founding fathers desire to give the government into the hands of the people and take it away from arbitrary rulers and judges, who might inflict any amount of excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishments they desired.

How to remember 8th Amendment

E. Eighth Amendment

I. Is good because it

G. Gets people of cruel or unusual punishments and

H. Help ensure that nobody is

T. Tortured even for the most

H. Heinous crimes.