PAD 525 Week 7 Discussions Offenses and Punishment

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Week 7 Discussion 1

 “Offenses and Punishment.” Please respond to the following: 

Explain with examples how the Eighth Amendment restricts the government’s authority to make something a crime. 

Analyze Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville. As a public administrator, explain whether there should be a higher concern for public safety or for individual rights. Support your position with examples or evidence.

“Offenses and Punishment.” Please respond to the following:

Explain with examples how the Eighth Amendment restricts the government’s authority to make something a crime. 

Analyze Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville. As a public administrator, explain whether there should be a higher concern for public safety or for individual rights. Support your position with examples or evidence.

 

Discussion 1: Offenses and Punishment

The Eighth Amendment states that, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The amendment forbids the federal government from forcing unacceptable harsh penalties on those who commit crime, either as the price of obtaining bail or being punished for their crimes after conviction. The constitution makes the federal government more powerful including the power to create federal crimes and punish offenders. This would make congress oppress people through use of cruel punishments including torture of convicted offenders.

This amendment now does not allow the use of torture to get a confession from offenders. Barbaric methods of punishment are not allowed and the state cannot deprive people of their lives, property, and liberty without following due process of the law. It also prohibits the state from imposing punishments disproportionate to the offense such as imposing a life sentence for a parking violation for instance. The state is also prohibited from charging excessive bail by setting a higher figure than a reasonably calculated amount.

In the case of Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, eight defendants were put into prison due to the violation of the state of Florida’s vagrancy law. There charges included prowling by auto, vagrancy, loitering and common thief, and vagrancy, disorderly loitering on the street. Papachristou had been convicted previously. It was held that it was unconstitutional simply because the city’s ordinance cannot be aligned or adjusted with th constitutional standards. The ordinance is vague since a person does not know what he/she has done was against the law or they have no knowledge on the subject matter (FindLaw, 2016). This made the statute to encourage subjective convictions and arrest.

As a public administrator, I think that there should be a higher concern for the safety of individual rights. The right of every citizen needs to be protected by everyone including law enforcement agents. People should has a right to walk and go to places they would want to as long as they do not violate the rights of other people. The Jacksonville ordinance made criminal activities which by modern standards are normally innocent (FindLaw, 2016). Night walking is one of such activities. Sleepless people walk at night most of the time maybe in the hope of inducing sleep through relation. They cannot therefore be arrested just by assuming that they might commit crime more so if they have no criminal record. It is also against the rights of individuals to be arrested without being given a notice. The police are only supposed to make arrests based on probable cause which is according to the Fourth and the Fourteenth Amendments. “Arresting a person on suspicion, like arresting a person for investigation, is foreign to our system, even when the arrest is for past criminality,” The rights of the defendants were therefore violated and as a public administrator it is important that I advocate for preservation of individual rights that are enshrined in the constitution.

Reference

FindLaw’s United States Supreme Court case and opinions.. (2016). Findlaw. Retrieved 13 November 2016, fromhttp://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/405/156.html

FindLaw’s Supreme Court of Missouri case and opinions.. (2016). Findlaw. Retrieved 13 November 2016, fromhttp://caselaw.findlaw.com/mo-supreme-court/1273234.html

Week 7 Discussion 2

 “Procedures and Prosecution.” Please respond to the following: 

Evaluate United States v. Agurs. Another very important public policy issue is an appreciation for the difference between obtaining a high conviction rate or being perceived as “tough on crime,” and seeking justice. Debate your position on the death penalty regarding whether it is used for justice or for other purposes. Support your position with examples or evidence. 

In the text, it states that “the (Supreme) Court has agreed that the death penalty can be constitutionally sustained only if its imposition is consistent with ‘evolving standards of decency’.” With so many juveniles committing heinous crimes, take a position and debate as a public administrator on whether you think the death penalty should be allowed for juveniles? Use the e-Activity case as a reference for discussion.

DISCUSSION 2

“Procedures and Prosecution.” Please respond to the following:

Evaluate United States v. Agurs. Another very important public policy issue is an appreciation for the difference between obtaining a high conviction rate or being perceived as “tough on crime,” and seeking justice. Debate your position on the death penalty regarding whether it is used for justice or for other purposes. Support your position with examples or evidence. 

In the text, it states that “the (Supreme) Court has agreed that the death penalty can be constitutionally sustained only if its imposition is consistent with ‘evolving standards of decency’.” With so many juveniles committing heinous crimes, take a position and debate as a public administrator on whether you think the death penalty should be allowed for juveniles? Use the e-Activity case as a reference for discussion.

 

Procedures and Prosecution

In United States v. Agurs the respondent got a conviction for second-degree murder for the killing of Sewell using a knife during a fight. At the trial it was also found that Sewell had been carrying two knives, where the respondent stabbed him with one of the knives. The respondent’s counsel moved for a new trial and asseted that the prosecution had not disclosed that the victim had a prior criminal record where he had taken plea for charges of assault as well as carrying a deadly weapon. The district court however denied the motion on grounds that the evidence of the victim’s criminal record was not material since it shed no light on his character.

In my opinion I think that the defendant was not offered a fair trial and due process was not properly followed. It is important for prosecution to convict many crimes but at the same time offer justice. I would argue that the defendant was probably acting on self-defense based on the victim’s previous criminal record and carrying a weapon that was not disclosed by the prosecution. Disclosing this evidence to the jury would have probably influenced the jury in making their verdict. The defendant was not offered a fair trial which in my view is the state wanting to convict more crimes use convicting the victim to a death penalty seemed unfair.

E- activity

I do not support the conviction of juvenile offenders to the death penalty in as much as they are committing heinous crimes. In the case of Simmons v. Roper, Simmons was sentenced to death at the age of 17 years. A series of appeals against the case were rejected until in 2002 when his execution was stayed by the Missouri Supreme Court. The case of Atkins v. Virginia was ruled that execution of the mentally disabled people was in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments that prohibits cruel and unusual punishments. The Missouri Supreme Court reconsidered the Simmon’s case based on this. It was also held in the case of Stanford v. Kentucky that execution of minors was unconstitutional and was no longer valid.

The question is whether the execution of minors violate the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment in the Eighth Amendment. This in my opinion is true because the standards of decency have evolved so that execution of minors is now cruel and unusual punishment which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. The minds of minors cannot be compared to those of adults because their thinking is different and they are still growing. The circumstances that might have led to their offense is also important to be considered. Death penalties should therefore, not be passed to the minors because it is cruel and indecent.

 

 

References

Bradley, A., Ewing, K., & Knight, C. (2014). Constitutional and Administrative Law (1st ed.). Harlow, England: Pearson.

CRS/LII Annotated Constitution  Eighth Amendment. (2016). Law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 13 November 2016, fromhttps://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt8_user.html#amdt8_hd4https://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt8_user.html#amdt8_hd4




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