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Home > History > Amendment 8 - United States Constitution Interactive

Amendment 8 - United States Constitution Interactive

This page provides the text and interpreted text of the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is part of our interactive Constitution.

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What does it Say?

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

What does it Mean?

According to Amendment VIII, bails, fines, and punishments for those who have broken the law must be fair and humane. This amendment has been invoked in the defense of individuals who have been sentenced to death for their crimes. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment in Furman vs Georgia (1972) because it was not applied fairly and uniformly. The decision resulted in many states adopting new capital punishment laws. Recently, the 8th Amendment has been invoked in opposition to the drugs and methods used by several states in their executions of criminals.

 

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