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Name: United States v. Gementera
Case #: 03-10103
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/09/2004

Ordering a mail thief to stand outside a post office wearing a sandwich board stating “I stole mail” does not violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. After first deciding that the punishment did not violate federal sentencing law because it was reasonably related to the legitimate statutory objective of rehabilitation, the Ninth Circuit held that the order did not violate the defendant’s rights under the Eighth Amendment. The court first noted that shaming was a commonly accepted punishment at the time of the framing of the constitution, and further held that in comparison with the realities of a modern prison, the court could not conclude that the sandwich board punishment exceeded the bound of civilized standards or other evolving standards of decency.