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NCJ Number: 156477 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing and the Clouded Waters of Eighth Amendment Proportionality
Journal: Maryland Law Review  Volume:54  Issue:3  Dated:(1995)  Pages:748-761
Author(s): M G Hjortsberg
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 14
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In Thomas v. State, a domestic assault case, the Maryland Court of Appeals created a complex, convoluted, and inappropriate proportionality analysis in considering whether a 20-year sentence for a slap to the face and a 30- year sentence for repeated blows with a steam iron represented cruel and unusual punishment and whether they violated Maryland common law.
Abstract: The court held that the 20-year sentence was grossly disproportionate and therefore unconstitutional, but the 30- year sentence did not violate either the Eighth Amendment or Article 25 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. In view of Proportionality decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, Maryland case law, and the holdings of Simms v. State and subsequent cases, the majority's decision appears to stand on shaky legal precedence. Moreover, the court incorrectly applied the Supreme Court's limited proportionality analysis. A more soundly reasoned opinion would have avoided a decision based solely on constitutional grounds and simply extended the court's holding in Simms v. State. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Appellate court decisions
Index Term(s): Cruel and unusual punishment; Domestic assault; Maryland; Sentencing factors; State laws; Victims of violent crime
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