Last week, the South Dakota Supreme Court issued a pair of decision upholding severe sentences. In State v. Shelton, the Court upheld a 25 year sentence for a defendant convicted of three relatively minor drug distribution offenses. In State v. Klinetobe, the defendant received life in prison without the possibility of parole for aiding and abetting first degree manslaughter. Both defendants argued that their sentences were cruel and unusual under the Eighth Amendment.
When I read the decisions, I wasn't surprised that the Court unanimously upheld the sentences. I think its been a couple decades since the Court found a sentence so excessive that it violated the Eighth Amendment. I could be wrong about that, but it seems like every sentence is affirmed on appeal.