Weems v. United States 217 U.S. 349 (1910)

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WEEMS v. UNITED STATES 217 U.S. 349 (1910)

In Weems, the Court held that punishment is cruel and unusual if it is grossly excessive for the crime. Paul Weems, a government official in the Philippines, was convicted of falsifying pay records. Under a territorial law inherited from the Spanish penal code, Weems was sentenced to cadeña temporal, a punishment involving fifteen years of hard labor in chains, permanent deprivation of political rights, and surveillance by the authorities for life. Since the Philippine Bill of Rights was Congress's extension to the Philippines of rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the meaning of cruel and unusual punishment was the same in both documents.

Dennis J. Mahoney

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Weems v. United States 217 U.S. 349 (1910)

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