Does the Death Sentence Violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments

Main Issue Whether the death sentence violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments? Relevant Legal Concepts “Reasonable people can differ about whether the ethical judgments embodied in these legislative and judicial decisions should be legally sanctioned as the public policy of the state.” (p. 64) “A person whose behavior is consistent with moral principles is said to have integrity…People are also concerned about ethical behavior in their personal lives. They worry about whether a person with whom they have shard a confidence is trustworthy.” (p. 71) “Ethics, which is the study of morality, is one of the five traditional branches of study within philosophy..Ethicists are concerned with what makes conduct morally right or wrong and the essential nature of moral responsibility.” (p. 72) “ .Is killing in self-defense wrong or “What ought a physician do when a patient dying of a terminal disease asks for assistance in committing suicide? Modern ethicians primarily focus on normative moral issues rather than metaethical, although this tendency is of recent origin and primarily…” (p. 72) “Although law can contribute rules that embody moral norms, law in our democracy is not expected to play the primary role in promoting ethical behavior in society.” (p. 73) Relevant Case Law Gregg v. Georgia, “The common-law rule imposed .mandatory death sentence on all convicted murderers…narrowing the class of murders to be punished by death.” (p. 65) “And the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall deprive any person of ‘life, liberty, or property’ without due process of law.” (p. 65) “….death penalty cannot be said to violate the constitutional concept of cruelty.” (p. 65) Rationale Jonas had been questioned regarding his former girlfriends death. There could be a completely good reason why he had dried blood on his clothes, muddy boots, a bracelet with the name of his ex-girlfriends on it, or the bloody survival knife in his room. Even though the evidence in his room looks as if he was guilty, he still has the right to a reasonable trial as well as being protected by the law. An individual’s mental capacity is very important in the penalty phase. If in fact he had a diminished mental capacity and was guilty of murder and sentenced to death, it could be regarded as cruel and unusual punishment because it would violate his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment right because he was not mentally stable. Since some statutes can split a criminal trial into a guilt and penalty phase, it can also give jurors frustrating and justifying factors in considering the death penalty. A court can reject the idea that Capital Punishment is severe and unexpected punishment under the Eighth Amendment as well as remove it as a punishing option for crime that is not one of murder. If states dispensed it fairly and rationally so that it would serve a legitimate need, capital punishment could be considered constitutional. Ruling In this case, I would rule in favor of Jonas because his mental capacity would not be that of a killer. An individual who commits murder, usually will hide the evidence or dispose of it from a bridge into the water and not have it in their bedroom where there is a chance a parent will find it. He obviously had no reason to hide the bloody survival knife and muddy boots. Main Issue Whether other facts in the case are as such that the defendant can not be prosecuted. Relevant Legal Concepts “Although law can contribute rules that embody moral norms, law in our democracy is not expected to play the primary role in promoting ethical behavior in society. . athletic teams, and business, professionals, and fraternal groups of all types are expected to fill the void.” (p. 73-74) They often establish ethical codes, rules (such as those prohibiting, “unsportsmanlike conduct” or “conduct unbecoming an officer”) and discipline and even expel members who violate their teams.” (p. 74) Relevant Case Law In State v. Mobbley, “…where the meaning of the statutory language is plain, and where the words used by the Legislature are free from ambiguity, there is no basis for interpreting the statute.” (p. 77) “The statute does not exempt a defendant from prosecution.” (p. 77-78) Rationale The laws are a standard in how Americans should act and treat others in society. Some individuals are held to the higher standard due to their education; especially anyone in law. When an individual has taken an oath to support the law and the constitution of the United States, they are making a promise to protect it no matter the consequences. District Attorney Schultz took that same oath. Encouraging her to lie and to not disclose the results was a direct violation. Although he is working towards reelection and this case would help him to keep his position, he would commit a injustice because although the DNA came back negative, does not mean their DNA can not be used on other cases, thereby not bringing them to justice on the other ones. His getting an unjust enrichment for keeping quiet does not uphold the law or helping the other victims. Ruling In this case, I would not re-elect District Attorney Schultz because I could not trust him to uphold the laws that he had taken an oath to protect. The court should rule a judgment against the players because I believe if the District Attorney had mentioned the DNA and he had used that DNA on other cases, they would be guilty in other cases involving violence toward women. Main Issue Whether a felony or misprision had been committed. Relevant Legal Concepts “Misprision of a felony is another common law crime .makes it criminal for a person to fail to tell authorities of the commission of a felony of which he or she has knowledge.” (p 79) “ .absence of a legal duty to act, the law has generally left the decision….up to each individual’s conscience.” (p. 81) Relevant Case Law from Text In Holland v State of Florida, “ .existence of misprision of felony as a crime at common law was to aid an alien, dictatorial sovereign .” (p. 80) “ .the duty of a citizen to accuse every offender, and to proclaim every offense which comes to his knowledge; but the law which would punish him in every case, for not performing this duty, is too harsh for man.” …. (p. 80) Rationale Michelle committed larceny when she took the bags of money and gambled it, thereby depriving the true owner of the property. Morally, stealing is wrong, especially when it has to do with the FDIC and the individual intends to re-pay it back. But while individuals are not perfect, they try and make the right decision, such as in this case. Ethically she should be obligated to return the money and be penalized for waiting the three days to return it because the bank that it belonged to probably was depending on it. If everyone informed the authorities all the times they did something wrong or what they saw, the court system would be flooded with cases. It is unreasonable for individuals to confess what they did and how it would be corrected. On a personal note, I believe she should serve some time in jail for what she did because it is wrong to take something that doesn’t belong to you. Not reporting it afterwards is just as bad as taking it in the first place. Ruling Legally, there isn’t a crime of misprision for failure to report as a felony, thus, she should not do any jail time for her action. Although she should pay a fine for it.

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