At what point is the discretion in individual cases actually a pattern which has become a concrete rule and that rule violates the principle and the spirit of the law
Despite a six-fold expansion in the prison system after 1980, crime hadn't gone down much. The frustration wasn't like the first time you put your 75 cents in the machine and nothing came out. This was like after you've been kicking the machine for 10 years with nothing happening.
If the court does not invalidate penalties that are this extreme, it is telling the states, 'Anything goes.
If all the kids who made noises about killing their parents were laid end to end, you'd have an enormous sub-sample of the juvenile population, but usually it's all talk. Given the enormous amount of familial conflict, the rarity of kids killing parents is remarkable.
(California) absolutely parallels the national pattern. The United States is the world capital of mixed feelings about capital punishment.