The Eighth Is Great: The Case Of Titus Oates In England

1221 Words5 Pages

John Rohrer
Ms. Mears
AP Government
23 February 2018

The Eighth is Great
Out of all the Amendments included in the Bill of Rights, none have been as important in American courtrooms as the 8th Amendment. When an American is convicted of a crime of any kind, the 8th Amendment will be there to protect the rights of that American regardless of his or her circumstance. It is the 8th Amendment which builds the foundation of our criminal justice system and allows us to call ourselves a civilized society even when punishing others.
When the Constitution was ratified in 1787, it did not contain the phrase “cruel and unusual punishment”. This is because the right of every American to remain free from “cruel and unusual punishment” was only added in …show more content…

Titus Oates in 1678 and 1679 “accused various English Catholics of a ‘popish plot’ to assassinate King Charles II and take control of the government of England” (“Our Titus Oates.”). The testimony given by Titus resulted in thirty-five people being executed before anyone called into question the validity of what was said (“Titus Oates.”). Titus himself was later flogged, pilloried, and imprisoned (“Titus Oates.”). However, the earliest occurrence of the phrase “cruel and unusual punishment” in American legislation was when George Mason included the phrase in the Declaration of Rights for the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1776 (“An Overview of the 8th Amendment.”). This liberty has evolved since its implementation as a result of the changing times. As new crimes have surfaced the proper means to address those who commit them has come into question. One drastic change brought about by the 8th Amendment was that the death penalty was prohibited for juvenile offenders for non-homicidal cases as of 2005 ("Roper v. Simmons.", Oyez). The right of every American to remain free from “cruel and unusual punishment” is of the utmost importance in order to maintain fairness and equality for all people, even those convicted of dire …show more content…

Constitution as part of the Bill of Rights. Life without parole for juvenile offenders used to be commonplace across the nation until the case of Graham v. Florida in 2010 ("Graham v. Florida.", Oyez). In context, Terrence Graham was convicted of armed burglary and attempted armed robbery at the age of 16 and as a result served a twelve month sentence ("Graham v. Florida.", Oyez). Six months later after serving his sentence however, Graham was convicted once again but this time under armed home robbery ("Graham v. Florida.", Oyez). As a result of receiving this second conviction while violating his original probation, Terrence Graham was sentenced to life without parole (“Graham v. Florida.”, Juvenile Law Center). This sentence was challenged by Terrence Graham who argued a life sentence without parole for a juvenile counted as a form of “cruel and unusual punishment” and thus violated the 8th Amendment ("Graham v. Florida.", Oyez). Ultimately the question was raised if the, “Imposition of a life sentence without parole on a juvenile convicted of a non-homicidal offense violate[s] the Eighth Amendment” ("Graham v. Florida.", Oyez). This question and case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court where it was ruled that “life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of non homicide offenses is unconstitutional” (“Graham v. Florida.”,

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