Criminal Law (2005 Fall)
- 8th Amendment – “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted ...”
- Harmelin – Life in prison without possibility of parole for possession of <700g of cocaine not “cruel and unusual”.
- Majority – Narrow holding that diversity in policy and implementation is heart and soul of federal system; but “death is different”.
- Kennedy concurrence – No strict proportionality; 8th Amendment only forbids extreme sentences “grossly disproportionate” to offense.
- Legality - Limits on what acts the state can criminalize
- Role of public morality [Lawrence - Statutes criminalizing sodomy unconstitutional for punishing homosexual status]
- Role of courts [Shaw – Court creates offense of “conspiracy to corrupt public morals”]
- Viscount Simonds – power in the courts
- Lord Morris – power to the jury
- Lord Reid (dissent) – power to Parliament
- Role of legislature [Keeler – Court declines to define unborn fetus as “human being”, reverses conviction of defendant who kneed his pregnant ex-wife, killing the fetus]
- Vagueness [Morales – Statute criminalizing loitering unconstitutionally vague]
- Lack of notice
- Arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement