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Article VIII What Does It Really Mean Article VIII states Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed nor cruel and unusual punishment American Experience p 22 Excessive bail was borrowed with a few slight changes from the English Bill of Rights Act The concept of bail in both England and in the United States was never thought as right to bail in all cases but to provide that bail would not be excessive in cases where it is considered legitimate to set bail The definition of Bail as according to the Random House Dictionary of the English Language property given as surety that a person released from custody will return custody will return at an appointed time The concept of bail was first created by the Statute of Westminster the First of 1275 AD which created a detailed list of certain offenses that were bailable and those that were not Because judges were permitted to imprison people with or without bail the Petition of Right was enacted in 1628 AD Due to various frauds of petitions for habeas corpus which could not be presented the English Parliament enacted the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 AD which established procedures for the release of prisoners from prison and created penalties for judges who did not comply with the Act As a result of this the judges then set bail so high that it could not be met With this Parliament responded by including in the Bill of Rights of 1689 AD a provision that excessive bail should not be required In America excessive fines were given meaning during the early part of the twentieth century In an early case the Supreme Court held that it had no authority to revise the sentence of an inferior court despite the fact that the excessiveness of the fines were quite apparent on the face of the records With
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