Friday, June 06, 2003

too much time is cruel AND unusual

As our society of people becomes desensitized to violence on the screen and in video games, our legal society is evolving on an opposite path. In Delaware, we have abolished the whipping post, chosen the less dramatic/barbaric (if that can be possible) lethal injection method of capital punishment, and now drawn the dotted line in the shifting sands as to how much time in jail constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

On the 30th of May, the Delaware Supreme Court decided to remand the case of Crosby v. Delaware for a third time, because the lower Court's 45 year sentence under Delaware's "too many strikes" law was so long as to be impermissible under the U.S. Supreme Court's recent 8th Amendment rulings. In the Delaware Supreme Court's 43 + page Opinion, it can clearly be seen that the Court is interpreting the U.S. Supreme Court rulings and apply them to the facts in Crosby. We were a little lost in some of the language in the first half of the Opinion, but found the review of the history of Delaware's habitual criminal statutes and the ultimate logic of the analysis to be instructive.

The Delaware Supreme Court's decision is, of course by definition, correct. This entry is a report and commentary and is not intended as a critique.

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