Amendment 8
Activity

Although this amendment covers all types of cruel and unusual punishments, it is the death penalty that gets the most publicity. But there are some very strange circumstances that come up with other types of cases too.
  1. One judge ruled that a man convicted of killing a family while he was drunk driving had to not only spend 12 years in prison, but he had to also display pictures of the family members in his prison cell, and mail the survivors a check each month for $1.00 just to make sure that he didn't forget what he had done. Does this sound fair to you?
  2. Another judge, in a child molestation case, ruled that the man was guilty of molesting children while giving them piano lessons. His punishment included 6 years in prison and he was never allowed to play the piano again, as long as he lived. Does this sound fair to you?

    These might both sound unusual, but are they cruel too?

  3. A man was convicted of his 3rd rape charge. When he was being sentenced he asked the judge if he could have his genitals surgically removed because he knew that he would someday rape again. The judge could not allow the man to have this done because that would be cruel and unusual. Do you think so?

Now let's talk about the death penalty.

Pick one side and answer the questions on that side. Neither side is right or wrong, as long as you can explain why you believe what you do.

Are you in favor of the death penalty?

If you could make up the rules for the death penalty, what would those rules be?

Would only murderers and rapists get it?

Would there be any different rules if the accused murdered 3 people or 30?

What if the accused murdered 3 babies or 3 old people, is there any difference?

What if the accused planned the murder for 6 weeks, and even when the victims begged for their lives, he just laughed and killed them anyway?

What would you do if the accused just laughed during the whole trial, saying, "So sad, too bad, they're gone, hahaha." Would you want them to get the death penalty even more?

What if the accused were on trial for killing your favorite relative? Or your mom and dad? Or your best friend?

Would your rules allow for exceptions?

Explain why you believe that the death penalty is something that we need in this country.

Are you against the death penalty?

Okay, so you believe that killing people is wrong, even if it is for punishment. How would explain this to those who believe that the death penalty keeps some people from committing terrible crimes?

Can you really say to a family that lost their mother and father to a murderer, that keeping the murderer alive in prison is the best thing for the government to do?

In some countries, if you get caught stealing they chop off your hand. Shouldn't those who commit murder be murdered?

Why should someone who murders just for fun be allowed to live the rest of his life with cable tv, pool tables, weight rooms, and the people should have to pay for all of this?

How would you explain to your children that their friends were murdered and the man that did it is living in prison until he dies?

Explain why you believe that the death penalty is wrong, no matter what crime was committed.