Furman v Georgia is a U.S Supreme Court decision that ruled on the requirement for a degree of consistency in the application of death penalty .The ruling was done in 1972. It occurred when there was a consolidation of several other laws that were in existence to come up with a better one. At this time there was inconsistency in court rulings on various cases especially in death penalty. Cases were handled arbitrarily. Sentences were not reliable. They were also inconsistent because punishments for similar cases were administered differently. There was a crisis in the judiciary system of the United States (Melvisky, 2006). Furman was concerned .This is because people were handled differently in courts. Poor people got severe punishments because they were not able to speak for themselves as the rich made their ways even in serious offences.
Racial discrimination was a major challenge. The blacks were heavily punished because they were foreigners. The whites got fair sentences as natives of America. Furman v Georgia then came into force to address the challenge. The Supreme Court forced the government to review the penalties for capital offenses. This was to ensure that death penalty would not be administered in a discriminatory manner (Smith, 2006).
Eighth Amendment is a law in the Bill of Rights of the U.S constitution that prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bails, imposing excessive fines. It also prevents the government from enforcing cruel and unusual punishments on the citizens of the United States.The Amendment were inspired by the English case where many people were murdered through a court order. U.S government then made the amendment to protect its citizens from such death penalty cases. Furman v Georgia law that came in force is very relevant to the Eighth Amendment and has enhanced effectively in the judiciary system of the U.S. This is because it is a law that advocates for reliability and consistency in court judgments (Finkel, 2007).
The aim of the research is to find out the relevance of Furman v Georgia on the Eighth Amendment in the U.S. This is achieved through discussion on the consistency in passing sentences in relation to the protection of human rights. Research paper is to establish how Furman v Georgia makes the Eighth Amendment to be effective in reducing excessive punishments.
Relevance of Furman v Georgia in Eighth Amendment
Furman v Georgia is relevant to the Eighth Amendment in many ways. This is because whatever the Amendment advocates for is strongly made possible in law and supported by Furman v Georgia. Areas include standards of decency and rights, excessive punishments, death penalty and forbidden punishments as discussed below (Schwartz, 2005). Eighth Amendment advocates for rights to be used to prevent citizens from unjust and misappropriate punishments. It prohibits the federal government from allowing its forces to subject the citizens to unfair punishments. Furman v Georgia is relevant in this case because there should be away in which citizens are treated fairly while being punished. The fair treatment should be similar to everybody without others being favored.
Standards of decency should be used to determine cases. The Amendment requires judges to be descent and reflect maturity to the society whenever they are making any court rulings on committed offence. Furman policy becomes relevant in this case. For consistency in rulings to exist, decency must be upheld. This will result into a reliable court system that has the society as a priority and does not administer cases arbitrarily (Smith, 2008).
Relevancy of Furman V Georgia on Death Penalty Admission
The Eighth Amendment says that death penalty is not appropriate for rape cases especially where the rape victim is not murdered. Courts administer death penalty differently. Some courts apply the punishment horribly while others are cruel and inhuman. But the Amendment insists on reliability of the process in death penalty irrespective of how courts do it and where they do it (Patterson, 2006). Furman says that death sentences should not be passed discriminatively or randomly. Judgment should be fair and consistent to all. Nobody should be subjected to death because of color or financial status. Furman policy aims at accomplishing the goal of the Amendment in death penalty. This makes it relevant on the Eighth Amendment.
Forbidden Punishments and the Eighth Amendment. There are punishments which are completely forbidden by the Supreme Court of the U.S through the Amendment. This is because the cases are discriminative in the society. The cases include those involving mad people and minors. The Bill prohibits the state from punishing children and mad people like normal adults. Furman law advocates for reliability in case determination. In this case the results would not be reliable because these people are not normal .As a result unfair punishment can be given to them. This is what the amendment is against (Melvisky, 2006).
Excessive sentences also show relevance of Furman to the Bill. The sentences can either be through fines or bails. The Amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail requirement and excessive fines imposed to the citizens of the U.S. We discuss each of the two components in relation to the three factors to be considered while administering excessive sentences while addressing the relevancy of Furman v Georgia. The factors include gravity of case, admissibility in the same and different jurisdiction (Finkel, 2007).
Imposed fines on the offenders can be excessive. The Bill does not accommodate heavy fines as a form of punishment in the courts. This is because before a fine is imposed on a sentence the following three principles should be considered by the court. Gravity of the offence and the harshness of the penalty. If the offence is not grave, the penalty should be lighter. But for the grave offences heavy fines can be imposed without being excess (Patterson, 2006). Furman is relevant to this fact because it will ensure that there is reliability in the manner in which the fines are imposed.
Criminals in the same jurisdiction should also face the same penalty. In this case the Bill aims to ensure that no discrimination is practiced for similar cases in the same court. This is irrespective of their origin or status. The statement makes Furman v Georgia to be very relevant because it aims at eradicating discrimination and consistency in sentences passed to the U.S citizens. Crimes committed in other jurisdictions should be fined equally. Courts have inconsistent on the judge. But the Bill does not allow judges to charge excess fines in some courts as others charge the required fines for the same offence. Furman is relevant in this last principle of fines imposed on the sentences. This is because when the courts impose the same fines for similar case across the jurisdictions, consistency and reliability is achieved.
Bails required for sentences should not be excessive. The Eighth Amendment prevents the judges through the Supreme Court of the U.S from charging excessive bails for sentences. This depends on the gravity of the offence. Higher bails should be required for serious offences but this should not be excessive in nature. Lower bails should be charged for lesser sentences. Furman becomes relevant in this principle because linking the bails with the gravity of the offenses ensures consistency in the cases.
Offences in the same court should require same bails. This is in accordance to the Amendment that prevents the courts from applying double standards on the citizens of America. Courts should not discriminate the citizens by putting different bails for similar cases in the same court. This makes Furman to be relevant. Uniform bails required for the same offences in the same jurisdiction results to reliability which is a principle of Furman v Georgia. At the same time, consistency will be achieved in the courts.
Jurisdictions in other places should require same bail for similar cases. Different courts have different judges who can reason in diverse way. In most cases their punishment varies even for the same offences. This is the significance of the Bill. It stands to correct the arbitrary bailing of the citizens through uniform bails for the same offences across the courts. Furman v Georgia is relevant in the principle because it advocates for consistent punishments for the citizens across the United States. This results to a reliable and dependable court system which is the policy of Furman v Georgia. Furman v Georgia is relevant in the administration of cruel and unusual punishments (Patterson, 2006). The Eighth Amendment ruled that there are some punishments that are cruel and unusual. Such punishments should not be applied on the citizens. This is because they were found to be unacceptable, inconsistent and unreliable in their mode of admissibility to the offenders.
Relevance of the cruel and unusual punishment is discussed. This is done using the four principles of cruel and unusual punishments of Furman v Georgia. They include torture, arbitrary punishments, rejected and unnecessary punishments. We analyze cruel and unusual punishment by the four Furman v Georgia principles, (Brenan J. 2005).
Cruel punishments should not be used to correct the offenders. The Amendment strongly condemns cruel punishments. These are punishments that inflict pain on the citizens irrespective of the offence that they have committed. In view of Furman v Georgia, punishment should not torture people. This includes punishments that degrade the human dignity. It then becomes relevant to the Eighth Amendment of the United States that aims to protect the people from cruel punishments (Smith, 2008).
Arbitrary punishments are not accepted by the Bill. Furman says that severe punishments that are inflicted in an inconsistent way are not acceptable. Instead the punishments should be applied in a consistent way to all irrespective of whom they are and where they are found. The relevance of this principle to the Amendment is that it aims to ensure that cruel punishments are not applied on the citizens of the United States. Punishments admitted from sentences should be acceptable to the society. This is the principle that describes the cruel punishments that are not acceptable in the society. It states that such sentences should be eradicated from the law because they do not protect human rights. The principle is relevant to the Amendment because it supports the Supreme Court decision that prohibits admission of severe punishments rejected by the society.Furman then becomes relevant to the Bill of Rights in the constitution of the United States (Finkel, 2007).
The other principle is the severe punishment that is completely unneccessary.Since the Amendment at protecting the citizens; it therefore does not encourage unwanted punishment whatsoever. Punishments should only be applied if they are necessary. Furman v Georgia then becomes very relevant to the Bill. This is because through this principle it promotes consistency and reliability of sentence admissibility to the citizens (Melvisky, 2006). The Eighth Amendment ruled against the unusual punishments. The Supreme Court instructed that all the states should seize to inflict the odd punishments to the citizens. After the declaration Furman stated the four principles of unusual punishments. This makes it relevant to the Amendment as discussed in view of the four principles.
Odd punishments encourage torture and so should not be allowed in courts. It inflicts pain on people. The result is degradation of human dignity which is against the Eighth Amendment. It was aimed at protecting the lives of the citizens. This principle makes Furman v Georgia to be relevant on the Amendment (Smith, 2008). This is because it helps in protecting the lives of citizens through campaign against torture of human life. The result of the campaign is that the courts will be able to use other punishments that are friendly to human life. Strange punishments are arbitrary and so they should not be applied .That is they can be discriminative and without order. It results to sentences being admitted in a random manner. This is not in line with the Bill of Rights which was formed by the Supreme Court to protect the lives of the citizens. It is evidenced that Furman v Georgia is relevant as it promotes consistency and reliability in the admissibility of punishments by discouraging arbitrary punishments (Schwartz, 2005).
Furman v Georgia suggests that unusual punishments should not be used because they are not accepted in the society. When courts use strange punishment on the offenders the society becomes curious .This is because such penalties are odd to the citizens and they suffer from ill-treatment. The Amendment was aimed at making the citizens to feel protect in their country so this kind of punishment is not acceptable. In this regard, Furman becomes very relevant to the Eighth Amendment (Patterson, 2006).
Recommendations and Conclusion
In view of this research, the following recommendations can be made. U.S should embrace consistency and reliability in penalty application. Furman v Georgia should be improved to enhance it effectively in the judiciary system of the United States of America. The recommendations are based on the research findings that indicated such needs in the entire U.S court system. The research has indicated that Furman v Georgia is relevant on the Eighth Amendment which was primarily formed by the Supreme Court of the U.S government to protect its citizens against cruel and abnormal penalties from the courts.