(A dissent argues that “humiliation is not one of the three proper goals under the Sentencing Reform Act,” and that the goal of a punishment like the one here is “to degrade the object of shame, … to dehumanize him.” This type of punishment “recalls a time in our history when pillories and stocks were the order of the day.”) U.S. v. Gementera, 379 F.3d 596 (9th Cir. 2004).
A. The U.S. Constitution generally: The U.S. Constitution imposes important limits on punishments that may be imposed by federal and state legislatures.
1. Bill of Rights: The Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution) imposes several limits on the criminal process. By its terms, the Bill of Rights applies only to the federal government, not the states (but see below for how the Bill of Rights affects the states). Some of the more important Bill of Rights guarantees that limit what conduct may be criminalized, or limit how that conduct can be prosecuted, are these:
Cf. Dressler Hnbk, § 4.02[A].
2. Extension of Bill of Rights to the states: As I just mentioned, the Bill of Rights applies by its terms only to the federal government. But the Fourteenth Amendment, enacted after the Civil War, imposes limits on what state governments can do. One clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law[.]” In the criminal law context, the effect of this Fourteenth Amendment Due Process clause is to make nearly all of the Bill of Rights guarantees applicable to the states.