Twenty years ago, Johnny killed his wife in a fit of rage when he came home one night and saw her in bed with another man. Based on the mandatory sentencing guidelines at the time of his conviction, Johnny was sentenced to life in prison without any opportunity for parole.
For the past 20 years, Johnny has been a model prisoner. He finished his college degree and worked as a cook in the prison kitchen. One day, a fight in the mess hall between two other prisoners resulted in the death of one prisoner and several injuries to prison guards. At the time, Johnny was working in the kitchen and took no role in the fight.
After the fight, the warden of the prison imposed a series of punishments. First, the warden ordered a 24-hour lockdown of the prison. This lockdown lasted 10 days, during which prisoners were not allowed out of their cells.
Second, the warden ordered that prisoners be deprived of all treats including adult magazines, reading materials, caffeinated sodas, candy, and desserts; visiting privileges for all prisoners were halted for one year.
Finally, and perhaps worst, the warden decided to isolate the most violent prisoners for an extended period. Because of Johnnys murder conviction, the warden ordered Johnny to serve six months in solitary confinement.
After doing his time in solitary, Johnny filed an internal complaint with the warden. In his complaint, Johnny argued that the wardens punitive measures violated his Eighth Amendment rights. The warden denied Johnnys complaint and Johnny then filed a complaint in the federal court.
If your last name starts with M – Z, please represent the warden, who is most likely represented by the government. Show, using case law and other legal arguments, how the wardens measures did not constitute violations of the Eighth Amendment.
***Please note that the week 7 lessons contains review of the case law relevant to this forum discussion so please be sure to review this lesson found in the lesson section of this classroom. ***
Please note that your answers have nothing to do with your personal feelings, thoughts or experiences with these issues. Your answers are based purely on the law, specifically precedent set by case law. Reviewing the week 7 lesson will be very helpful to you in finding relevant case law.
1. Please read this article on facts about the death penalty. There are many articles on this topic. I chose this article because it seemed to be the least biased and most focused on the facts since it is published by a .gov website.
2. In the United States, is the death penalty an effective punishment considered the financial burden on the legal and criminal justice system?
3. Should the death penalty be banned as a violation of the 8th Amendment against cruel and unusual Punishment? What specific provisions of the Constitution support keeping or banning the death penalty?
4. What did the framers intend to ban with the 8th Amendment? How does that intent apply in today’s society?
After you have answered these questions respond to at least 3 student’s postings. Respond to students who have offered a different perspective or opinion than yours. Be sure to ask thought-provoking questions of your classmates to further and deepen the discussion.