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Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Rights and Liberties under the Law

Cruel and Unusual Punishment by Joseph A. Melusky
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In one of the lengthiest, noisiest, and hottest legal debates in US history, Cruel and Unusual Punishment stands out as a levelheaded, even-handed, and thorough analysis of the issue. The U.S. Constitution guarantees us freedom from "cruel and unusual punishment." Yet it allows the state to kill us, imprison us for life, or keep us in solifary confinement for years in the new Supermax prisons. How do we reconcile this contradiction? The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution created one of the nation's most valued freedoms but, at the same time, one of its most persistent controversies. On 184 separate occasions, the Supreme Court attempted to decide what constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment." In this third volume in ABC-CLIO's America's Freedoms series, constitutional scholar Joseph A. Melusky and Judge Keith A. Pesto helps readers make sense of the controversy. The authors begin by sketching the context of the debate in a general overview that addresses issues such as excessive bails and fines, and non-capital offenses. But their primary focus is capital punishment.

In a detailed, chronologically ordered discussion, they traces the evolving opinion of the nation's highest court from the late nineteenth century to the present, analyzing issues, arguments, holdings, and outcomes.

ABC-CLIO; March 2003
400 pages; ISBN 9781576076057
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Title: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Author: Joseph A. Melusky