Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The Excessive Bail section provides constitutional protection against excessive bail, including the practical denial of bail by fixing its amount unreasonably high, as decided in United States v. Motlow, 10 F.2d 657 (1926). 

The Excessive Fines section provides constitutional protection against grossly excessive fines, as decided in Waters-Pierce Oil Co. v. Texas, 212 U.S. 86 (1909). 

The Cruel and Unusual Punishment section provides constitutional protection against grossly disproportionate punishment for capital sentences.  In the case of non-capital sentences, gross disproportionate requirements are only available in “exceedingly rare” and “extreme cases,” as discussed in Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63 (2003).  This section also provides constitutional protection against inhumane conditions of confinement, discussed in Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312 (1986).