Share Tweet By Billy Hallowell Editor
April 2, 2024

As presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump continues to face various legal battles, an appeals court recently granted him at least a temporary reprieve from a $454 million fine.

Listen to them on the latest episode of Quick Start ?

With Trump and co-defendents up against a deadline to pay the penalty, the appeals court last week lowered the amount to a $175 million bond, giving the former president 10 days to secure the sum.

This not only at least temporarily lowered the penalty but also relieved Trump from New York Attorney General Letitia James’s pledge to seize his assets should he be unwilling or unable to pay the larger fine.

If, in months to come, the appeals court does rule in the attorney general’s favor and against Trump’s appeal, he could reportedly still be forced to pay the $454 million bond. But, for now, the former commander-in-chief secured and posted the lower $175 million bond Monday.

Certain critics have claimed the sum is unheard of, with some talking heads alleging the massive bond is a violation of the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Bradley Jacob, a professor at Regent University School of Law, told CBN News the 8th Amendment is “primarily about criminal law in a criminal court,” which is noteworthy considering Trump’s case is civil. Jacob went on to explain some of the parameters and confines of the 8th Amendment text:

“You can’t give cruel and unusual punishments,” he said. “You can’t tar and feather someone; you can’t impale them on a stake those kinds of things are not permitted under the Constitution.”

Jacob continued, “Bail can’t be way out of proportion to the crime; if you’re going to go on trial for jaywalking, they can’t put $10,000 bail on that … those kinds of issues.”

Despite the criminal aspects of the 8th Amendment, Jacobs said there have been some court cases indicating excessive fines could also apply to a fine or judgment in a civil case “if the amount of money that’s in the judgment is just way out of proportion to the offense.”

This is why some might be claiming the amendment applies to Trump’s current battle.

That said, Jacobs noted some might argue the initial fine was so large due to Trump’s sweeping financial resources. Considering he’s reportedly worth billions, hundreds of millions might be seen by some as large enough to dissuade alleged behaviors.

Still, Jacobs said other issues must be considered, specifically the “actual harm” purportedly done by Trump.

“It’s particularly tricky in this case, because it’s hard to quantify the actual harm that he caused,” he said, citing claims made against the president.

Watch Jacobs’ full explainer.

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