Saturday, January 9, 2010

Excessive Punishment for Graffitti?

In December, an 18 year old Corpus Christi man was sentenced after being found guilty of repeated acts of graffiti or "tagging" of private and public property in Corpus Christi.

During his sentencing, Sebastian Perez said that graffiti had become a bad habit that he was trying to break. The high school dropout wept as asked for probation and promised to return to school, get a job and clean up the mess he made.

Perez was blamed for a total of $7,300 by the Corpus Christi police.

The 148th south Texas District judge was unmoved. Judge Marisela SaldaƱa "threw the book" at Perez.

He was sentenced to 8 years in prison without the chance of parole.

Do you think this was fair? Do you think the punishment fits the crime?

The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The Texas State Constitution in Section 13, similarly states that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted. All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law."

If you think Perez's sentence was fair, why do you think it was the right punishment? What reasons do you think the judge handed out the sentence. Do you agree with all of the reasons?

If you don't think Perez's 8 year sentence was fair, is it a violation of the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the either the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution or Article I, Section 13 of the Texas Constitution? Why or Why Not?