Those who are convicted of a crime are vulnerable to the punishments inflicted upon them and are not in a position to easily protect themselves from extremes of punishment. To protect these people, the Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of punishment that is cruel and unusual. The phrase cruel and unusual is particularly effective because it allows interpretation according to an evolving standard. Therefore, although it was included in the Constitution to protect against punishments in use in the 1700s that the framers found offensive, it is used ...

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