THREE STRIKES….Sam Heldman is outraged by the Supreme Court’s latest decision in State Farm v. Campbell. Why, he asks, is a high jury award in a tort case unconstitutional simply for being out of line with the severity of the infraction, while 25-to-life isn’t unconstitutional for someone who’s stolen some golf clubs?
Well, Sam has settled down and had the night to think it through, and this morning he writes that he’s even more outraged.
Me too. California actually has one of the more draconian three-strikes laws in the country, where you can indeed get a life sentence for a third infraction that’s not very serious. Generally, the 8th Amendment requires that punishment not be outrageously disproportionate to the crime, but the Supreme Court has nonetheless ruled that California law in this regard is just peachy. When it comes to torts, however, apparently they feel differently. As Sam puts it, why do they show “blatantly greater solicitude for corporations than for people”? Why indeed.