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Cruel and Unusual Non-Capital Punishments
American Criminal Law Review  (IF3.455),  Pub Date : 2021-09-01, DOI:
William W. Berry III

The Supreme Court has rendered the Eighth Amendment a dead letter with respect to non-capital, non-juvenile life-without-parole sentences. Its cases have erected a gross disproportionality standard that seems insurmountable in most cases, even for draconian and excessive sentences. State courts have adopted a similar approach in interpreting state constitutional Eighth Amendment analogues, often finding that they are no broader than the Supreme Court’s narrow interpretation of the Eighth Amendment, despite linguistic variations in many cases.