(Adapted by permission from 84 Ky. L. J. 107 (1995)) This article examines the Supreme Court's treatment of the Eighth Amendment with respect to claims of excessiveness regarding prison sentences. Specifically, it addresses the issue of whether and to what degree the Eighth Amendment requires that a punishment not be disproportional to the crime punished. In analyzing all of the modern holdings of the Court in this area, one finds significant fault with each. The result of this series of flawed opinions from the Supreme Court is that the state of the law with respect to proportionality in sentencing is confused, and what law can be discerned rests on weak foundations.
Consistently Inconsistent: The Supreme Court and The Confusion Surrounding Proportionality in Non-Capital Sentencing, Criminal Practice Law Report, Vol. 4, No. 3, March, 1996