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?


  1. It is not fair to have EIGHT years sentecne, because everyone has their right to do everything they want to based on the first amendment. However, the 18 year-old man influences others right and destroied the property that belongs to others. Graffitti is his habbit, but he shouldn't pant on others house.

    Tiffany Chen (7th) ;)

  2. I don’t think it is right to be sentenced to that many years of jail due to the rights given to us by the constitution. I think that those rights do however go to a certain point before the government should get involved in it. I do think he should be sent to prison (maybe like 2 to 3 years max and some community service after) but eight years is a very long time to serve a sentence for this incident and i think it is cruel and unusual punishment. Everyone deserves a second chance and if this guy says he is willing to go back to school and try and get better, i think they should give it to him.

    Courtney Katz (4th)

  3. Even though Sebastian Perez vandalized so many things (buildings, traffic signs, fences, etc,) 8 years is an extremley excessive sentence. He should have to pay the $7,300 in damages and maybe at most a few months in jail, not a state prison. He did no harm to a person, only to property that can easily be fixed. The sentence is definitley violating both the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause in the 8th Ammendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 13 of the Texas Constitution. The judge was very harsh and had no sympathy for the Perez, who was ready to turn his life around. Also, it costs a prison $25,000 to hold 1 non-violent offender. That means the 8 year sentence will cost $200,000 all because of $7,300 worth of property damage. They should just make him clean it all up, personally apologize to all of the defaced private property owners and make him do community service on weekends, not spend 8 years of his young life with murderers, rapists, and child molesters in state prison.

    Beau Bennett
    5th Period