Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Law Journals and Reviews


  State v. Kumukau:  A Case for the Application of Eighth Amendment Proportionality Analysis.  13 UH L. Rev. 577.

  Even a War Has Some Rules:  The Supreme Court Puts the Brakes on Drug-Related Civil Forfeitures.  16 UH L. Rev. 493.

  A Case for Hope:  Examining Graham v. Florida and Its Implications for Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence.  33 UH L. Rev. 391 (2010).


Case Notes


  Prison guard's alleged assault against inmate, if proved, violated inmate's Eighth Amendment right.  795 F.2d 780.

  Forfeiture under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act may violate the Eighth Amendment if grossly disproportionate.  817 F.2d 1409.

  Allegation of overcrowding in a prison, without more, does not state a claim under the Eighth Amendment.  However, if the overcrowding engenders violence, tension, and psychiatric problems, then an Eighth Amendment claim may arise.  832 F.2d 119.

  Prisoner was denied adequate medical treatment.  865 F.2d 982.

  No qualified immunity on 42 U.S.C. §1983 claim for prison official who allegedly forced inmate to choose between constitutional right to outdoor recreation and law library access.  39 F.3d 936.

  Prison officials' failure to provide inmate with outdoor recreation when officials knew of prison's goal to provide five hours of exercise per week precluded summary judgment for officials claiming 42 U.S.C. §1983 qualified immunity.  48 F.3d 1082.

  Prison officials not entitled to summary judgment on claim of 42 U.S.C. §1983 qualified immunity where inmate made adequate showing of "actual injury" to court access by officials that, if true, violates clearly established constitutional rights.  48 F.3d 1082.

  No merit to claim that forfeiture of real property violated excessive fines clause, where claimant's property bore a close relationship to gambling activity, and forfeiture did not impose upon claimant a grossly disproportionate penalty.  120 F.3d 947.

  District court correctly granted defendants summary judgment on claim, where inmate argued that being labeled a sex offender and being forced to participate in sex offender treatment program violated Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  131 F.3d 818.

  Because three-strikes statute (18 U.S.C. §3559(c)) restricted its application to instances where both the defendants' primary and past convictions were "serious violent felonies", defendant's punishment for bank robbery was not sufficiently disproportionate to contravene Eighth Amendment.  192 F.3d 1188.

  District court properly entered summary judgment in favor of prison physician on 42 U.S.C. §1983 claim, where plaintiffs  alleged that prison physician was deliberately indifferent to prisoner's serious medical needs, by, inter alia, failing to properly monitor prisoner while prisoner was in restraints and failing to employ emergency treatment to save prisoner's life; no genuine issue of fact was raised regarding prison physician's subjective knowledge and conscious disregard of a substantial risk of serious injury to prisoner.  391 F.3d 1051.

  Appellant's sentence did not violate the Eighth Amendment, where appellant appealed the ten-year sentence imposed by the district court following appellant's guilty plea to growing 2,349 marijuana plants.  432 F.3d 937.

  Generally out-of-state transfer of prisoner is not cruel and unusual punishment.  387 F. Supp. 912; 396 F. Supp. 196.

  While defendants were denied summary judgment in the district court's proceedings on the merits of an Eighth Amendment claim in a 42 U.S.C. §1983 lawsuit seeking damages for "over detention", defendants were nonetheless entitled to qualified immunity because the duty of defendants to review plaintiffs' original court records beyond what was in plaintiffs' institutional file was not clearly established; district court's denial of summary judgment to defendants as to the issue of qualified immunity vacated and remanded.  663 F.3d 1094 (2011).

  Violated by denying inmates regular outdoor exercise and recreation.  816 F. Supp. 1501.

  Violated by use of excessive force by prison personnel against inmates.  818 F. Supp. 1333.

  Summary judgment in favor of defendant appropriate on inmate's cause of action alleging that adult correctional officer's intentional and sadistic harassment of inmate violated inmate's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.  823 F. Supp. 750.

  Defendants acted neither with deliberate indifference nor maliciously and sadistically in labeling plaintiff as sex offender.  905 F. Supp. 813.

  Where plaintiff claimed that defendants state hospital superintendent, registered nurse, and paramedical assistant manifested a deliberate indifference to plaintiff's right to be free from an unreasonable use of force, plaintiff's claims against superintendent and nurse in their individual capacities were barred by doctrine of qualified immunity.  909 F. Supp. 737.

  Forfeiture of nine properties involved in money laundering offenses did not constitute an excessive fine under the Eighth Amendment.  164 F. Supp. 2d 1196.

  Defendants-prison doctors' motion for summary judgment denied; questions of fact existed as to whether defendants-prison doctors acted with deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious medical need for a drug.  217 F. Supp. 2d 1095.

  Because 18 U.S.C. §4248 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is civil and not criminal in nature, the Constitution's cruel and unusual punishment clause does not apply.  574 F. Supp. 2d 1123 (2008).

  Defendants had not demonstrated an absence of a genuine issue of material fact, or that they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law, on the merits of an Eighth Amendment claim, in a 42 U.S.C. §1983 civil rights lawsuit brought by a former state prisoner and other allegedly similarly-situated plaintiffs primarily seeking damages for "over detention".  678 F. Supp. 2d 1061 (2010).

  Defendants were not deliberately indifferent to plaintiff pre-trial detainee where defendants failed to ensure that plaintiff received the outside services for plaintiff's pregnancy as ordered; defendants' motion for summary judgment granted as to those defendants.  760 F. Supp. 2d 970 (2010).

  Where defendant deliberately structured over one million dollars to avoid paying taxes and illegally sold dangerous Class B 1.3G fireworks "on the street" for a profit, the forfeiture of the seized property did not violate the excessive fines clause.  The forfeiture of $345,421.70 and three motor vehicles was not grossly disproportionate to the gravity of defendant's offenses.  887 F. Supp. 2d 1051 (2012).

  Defendant failed to prove defendant was intellectually disabled for purposes of the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 and Atkins v. Virginia; defendant remained eligible to face the death penalty.  1 F. Supp. 3d 1124 (2014).

  Cruel and unusual punishment is such that would shock conscience of reasonable persons or outrage moral sense of community.  56 H. 343, 537 P.2d 724.

  Imprisonment for possession of marijuana is not cruel and unusual.  56 H. 501, 542 P.2d 366.

  Standard for determining.  61 H. 262, 602 P.2d 914.

  Extended prison term under §706‑662 not violative.  63 H. 488, 630 P.2d 619.

  Life imprisonment with mandatory minimum of fifteen years for attempted murder of infant by abandonment was neither cruel nor unusual.  73 H. 109, 831 P.2d 512.

  Given heinous character of offenses committed and primacy of retributive, incapacitative, and deterrent objectives, prescribed punishment not so disproportionate to proscribed conduct and of such duration as to shock conscience of reasonable persons or outrage moral sense of the community.  83 H. 335, 926 P.2d 1258.

  Not violated by ninety-day suspension of driver's license under §291-4 for drunken bicyclist where:  (1) no showing that disparity of risk between drunken bicyclists and drunken automobile drivers is so great; and (2) suspension not disproportionately onerous compared to more serious crimes in same jurisdiction and for the same offense in different jurisdictions.  87 H. 249, 953 P.2d 1347.

  Not violated by trial court's refusal to find strong mitigating circumstances pursuant to §706-606.5(4) (1998) and imposition of concurrent mandatory minimum ten-year terms where defendant could have reasonably been deemed to pose a danger to society, more serious crimes by repeat offenders may be punished in Hawaii by longer mandatory minimum terms, and other jurisdictions permitted significantly lengthier sentences for repeat offenders.  93 H. 87, 997 P.2d 13.

  Chapter 846E, as applied to defendant, was not grossly disproportionate to the offenses for which defendant was convicted, as proportionality is not guaranteed under this Amendment; the question was whether the statute itself effects a punishment which was both severe and unknown to Anglo-American tradition.  105 H. 222, 96 P.3d 242.

  As imposition of one-year term of probation, subject to condition that defendant undergo sex offender evaluation and treatment, for tying up and hitting nephew with belt (1) fell within the range of punishment prescribed by the applicable statutory provisions, (2) did not shock the conscience of reasonable persons, and (3) did not outrage the moral sense of the community, it was not cruel and unusual punishment for the family court to impose this sentence.  107 H. 117, 111 P.3d 12.

  Given the destructive, deceitful, and wasteful, albeit nonviolent, character of defendant's offenses and the primacy of the retributive, incapacitative, and deterrent objectives, five consecutive ten-year terms of imprisonment did not reflect a plain and manifest abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court; such a sentence was not so disproportionate to defendant's crimes nor of such duration as to shock the conscience of reasonable persons or to outrage the moral sense of the community, in light of the developing concepts of decency and fairness.  111 H. 267, 141 P.3d 440.

  Right not violated and trial court did not abuse discretion in ordering that defendant remain shackled during sentencing hearing where transcript of sentencing hearing contained no indication that the shackling in any way inhibited defendant from understanding what was going on, asserting defendant's self or consulting with counsel, or that the shackling in any way actually influenced or inclined the trial court against defendant.  111 H. 457 (App.), 142 P.3d 1286.

  Cited:  56 H. 447, 539 P.2d 1197.