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NCJ Number: 31657 Find in a Library
Title: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS EIGHTH AMENDMENT PROHIBITS EXCESSIVELY LONG SENTENCES
Journal: FORDHAM LAW REVIEW  Volume:44  Issue:3  Dated:(DECEMBER 1975)  Pages:637-646
Author(s): D GROBMAN
Corporate Author: Fordham University
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Fordham University
Bronx, NY 10458
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IN DOWNEY V. PERINI (1975) THE SIXTH CIRCUIT RULED THAT A SENTENCE THAT IS DISPROPORTIONATE TO THE CRIME FOR WHICH IT IS ADMINISTERED MAY BE HELD TO VIOLATE THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT SOLELY BECAUSE OF THE LENGTH OF IMPRISONMENT.
Abstract: AT ISSUE IN THIS CASE WAS WHETHER A 30 TO 60 YEAR SENTENCE FOR A FIRST NARCOTICS-RELATED CONVICTION OF POSSESSION FOR SALE AND SALE OF A 'SMALL AMOUNT' OF MARIJUANA CONSTITUTED CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. MORE BROADLY, THE COURT CONSIDERED WHETHER THE LENGTH OF A SENTENCE MIGHT BE THE SOLE BASIS FOR A FINDING OF CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. THIS ARTICLE CITES PERTINENT CASE LAW TO ILLUSTRATE AND DISCUSS THE TREND TOWARD CONSIDERATION OF THE EXCESSIVENESS OF PUNISHMENT UNDER THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT. HIGHLIGHTED ARE THE CALIFORNIA AND MICHIGAN THREE-TIERED TESTS FOR DETERMINING SENTENCING VIOLATIONS OF THE PROHIBITION AGAINST CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT - COMPARISON OF THE SENTENCE WITH STATUTORY PROVISIONS FOR THE SAME OFFENSE IN OTHER STATES AND AGAINST THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS FOR MORE SERIOUS CRIMES IN THEIR OWN STATE, PLUS (IN MICHIGAN) DETERMINATION OF THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE VALID GOALS OF A PRISON SENTENCE, AND (IN CALIFORNIA) CONSIDERATION OF THE OFFENSE'S DANGER TO SOCIETY. ALSO EXAMINED ARE THE REASONS WHY THE PURPOSEFULLY SEVERE PRISON SENTENCES UNDER THE NEW YORK DRUG TRAFFICKING LAWS ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE OVERTURNED AS DISPROPORTIONATE.
Index Term(s): Cruel and unusual punishment; Drug law offenses; Judicial decisions; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing/Sanctions
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