Better Than … the ‘Bill of Rights’ – Seventh & Eighth Amendments

Go Lean Commentary

We presented a thesis, that despite the public branding of America being the “Greatest” country, we can do better in a new Caribbean. We presented the argument that the American Bill of Rights may not be the masterpiece as people want to believe:

  • It’s First Amendment does not allow for mitigation of the Fake News phenomenon;
  • the Second Amendment does not allow for common sense gun control;
  • the Fourth & Fifth Amendments allows for so many exclusions that they undermine any quest for justice.

Now we make the assessments on the Seventh and Eighth Amendments of the US Constitution. These provide the legal premise of …

Seventh Amendment – Guarantees jury trials in federal civil cases
Eighth Amendment – Restricts against excessive bail and cruel-and-unusual punishments

Surely, these constitutional provisions allow the United States to be a more Perfect Union? Undeniably, No! In fact, these constitutional mandates have resulted in a more unequaled society. As we examine the actuality of America’s criminal justice system, we concur with the critics and scholars, that the legal deficiencies are acute; see these headlines here:

“Increasingly, bail has become a way to lock up the poor regardless to guilt” – VIDEO below.

“War against Poor people” – Criticism of America in previous VIDEO.

These headlines are true because of the painful reality that there are two standards of justice in America:

One for poor people and one for rich people. – See the previous blog-commentaries in Appendix A below.

What is worse: there’s nothing “we” can do about it, as Caribbean people. There is little that American can do about it either. This is the continuation – 5 of 6 – of the November 2019 series from the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean. This series supports the thesis that we, in the Caribbean, can be Better Than America, in words (law) and in action. As related in a previous submission, the American Bill of Rights was designed to be embedded in the country’s legal foundation in such a way so as to prevent subsequent majorities from violating the rights of minorities. This sounds “good on paper”, but it made it near-impossible to change the Constitution. So when deficiencies emerge just through societal evolution, the country’s criminal justice laws have not kept pace; now there is a blatantly unequal, unjust system of law-and-order.

This introduction allows us to define these subsets of the Bill of Rights, the Seventh and Eighth Amendments of the US Constitution, as follows:

Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution

  • In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.[93]

The Seventh Amendment guarantees jury trials in federal civil cases that deal with claims of more than twenty dollars. It also prohibits judges from overruling findings of fact by juries in federal civil trials.

Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution

  • Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.[93]

The Eighth Amendment forbids the imposition of excessive bails or fines, though it leaves the term “excessive” open to interpretation.[112] The most frequently litigated clause of the amendment is the last, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment.[113][114] This clause was only occasionally applied by the Supreme Court prior to the 1970s, generally in cases dealing with means of execution. In Furman v. Georgia (1972), some members of the Court found capital punishment itself in violation of the amendment, arguing that the clause could reflect “evolving standards of decency” as public opinion changed; others found certain practices in capital trials to be unacceptably arbitrary, resulting in a majority decision that effectively halted executions in the United States for several years.[115] Executions resumed following Gregg v. Georgia (1976), which found capital punishment to be constitutional if the jury was directed by concrete sentencing guidelines.[115] The Court has also found that some poor prison conditions constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as in Estelle v. Gamble (1976) and Brown v. Plata (2011).[113]
Source: Retrieved November 26, 2019 from

Note: Rich people are able to hire jury consultants to “stack the deck” in their favor to ensure victory. It’s an art and a science! (See more on this subject here:

The US currently boast a criminal justice system with Cash Bail that imperils the poor. So when a suspect is accused of a crime and does not have the money for bail, they have to stay in jail until their trial. Since they are detained, this actuality is in fact a “cruel and unusual” punishment; especially when they have been innocent all the while. Many times the offences are small and the amount of time away from their normal routines (jobs and family obligations) disrupt their lives severely. See how this has been depicted in this embedded VIDEO here:

VIDEO – Bail: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) –

Published Jun 7, 2015 – John Oliver explains why America’s bail system is better for the Reality TV industry than it is for the justice system.

Connect with Last Week Tonight online…

Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel for more almost news as it almost happens:

Find Last Week Tonight on Facebook like your mom would:

Follow us on Twitter for news about jokes and jokes about news:

Visit our official site for all that other stuff at once:

Despite the humorous portrayals, this is no laughing matter. Many lives are ruined because of the injustice of the Cash Bail system. America is punishing poor people for being … poor.

This is not our conclusion alone.

There are advocates that are trying to reform and transform this broken eco-system. Kudos to them. There are also organizations that are trying to help the most vulnerable of the victims of this legal dysfunction. These “Do Gooders” should be recognized, honored, promoted and emulated. See the news story of one such group in Atlanta, Georgia in Appendix B below.

(Click here to read the full article).

We too can do good and do better in our Caribbean homeland; we have no Bill of Rights impeding our need for progress. We have always maintained that we can more easily reform our homeland than to fix American society. We have no excuse not to change and improve our communities.

This is the quest of the Go Lean movement to reform and transform Caribbean society. The revelation of the ugly details of American jurisprudence is the purpose of this November 2019 blog series. The full catalog of this series on the Bill of Rights is detailed as follows:

  1. Better than the Bill of Rights: First Amendment – We can do better
  2. Better than the Bill of RightsSecond Amendment – No slavery legacy
  3. Better than the Bill of RightsThird  & Fourth Amendments – Remember, Justice First
  4. Better than the Bill of RightsFifth & Sixth Amendments
  5. Better than the Bill of Rights: Seventh & Eighth Amendments
  6. Better than the Bill of Rights: Ninth & Tenth Amendments

As this series refers to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for elevating the societal engines – economics, security and governance – of the 30 Caribbean member-states, this entry focuses more on the need for a roadmap to help poor people in our Caribbean society. While poverty must not be criminalized, we must also not be satisfied to just stop on criminal justice issues; we must make strenuous effort to forge a society where poverty can be mitigated and its “captors liberated”. Our goal is for the Caribbean homeland to be a place where people can prosper where they are planted. If we fail on the prospering side, then people will be inclined to just abandon their homeland. (This is a Push and a Pull issue).

Oops too late!

We already have an atrocious societal abandonment rate – some reports reflect 70 percent of the professional classes have already left from the independent countries. It is even worse still in dependent territories – 50 percent of everyone!

The Go Lean book provides 370 pages of roadmap posits that economic optimizations must be coupled with security provisions; we cannot have one without the other. This is a Big Idea for the Caribbean to reform and transform its economic and security engines; this requires adopting new community ethos (attitudes and values), plus the executions of new strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to empower poor people to elevate their circumstances. In the end, the goal is to find success in the journey to Middle Class. This is the actual title of one advocacy in the Go Lean book. Consider the specific plans, excerpts and headlines here from Page 222, entitled:

10 Battles in the War on Poverty

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market Confederation Treaty
This regional re-boot will allow for the unification of the region into one market, thereby creating a single economy of 30 member-states, 42 million people and a GDP of over $800 Billion. Following the model of the European Union, the CU will seek to streamline economic engines so as to increase jobs, standards of living and opportunities – increasing GDP. The CU will work to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play for all socio-economic classes.
2 Minimize Political Bureaucracy
3 Welfare versus “Work-fare”

Many economists have argued that the US “War Against Poverty” – Welfare first – policies, actually had a negative impact on the economy because of their interventionist nature. This school of thought is that the best way to fight poverty is not through government spending but through economic growth, thus “Work-fare” is a better solution. In 1996 the US implemented a Welfare-to-Work program that had almost immediate results – welfare and poverty rates both declined during the late-1990s, leading many commentators to declare that the legislation was a success. The CU takes a similar stance: lead with jobs!

4 Entrepreneurial Values
5 Repatriation of Time, Talent and Treasuries
6 Family Planning

Third World countries usually have higher birth rates than Developed countries. While not discouraging individual rights, the CU will facilitate better education, women’s health resources and access to prenatal healthcare.

7 Education Goals in Balance
8 Proactive about Healthcare Realities
9 Aging Population

The CU will facilitate for the Caribbean Region to be the world’s best address for senior citizens. This will send the invitation to retirees (Caribbean Diaspora and foreign) to welcome their participation and contributions to CU society. The increase in the pool of participants and beneficiaries will extended added benefits to domestic seniors.

10 Raise Retirement Age

Yes, we can do better in the Caribbean homeland. We are hereby determined and committed to battling poverty in the 30 member-states. The Go Lean roadmap presents the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to do “whatever it takes” to lower the Push and Pull factors that cause people to abandon their communities. It is conceivable, believable and achievable to succeed.

Competing with America is not an option; the very continuation of our Caribbean culture depends on our ability to compete better. Lowering Push and Pull factors, at times, involve just messaging the people on the truth of the American experience.

So yes, we can be Better Than America; we can do better than the Bill of Rights (with its concern for tyranny). We can be more just, and more equal in our public safety mechanisms and the dispensation of justice; and do it without allowing tyranny. We urge all Caribbean stakeholders – citizens and government leaders alike – to lean-in to this roadmap to make our homeland a better place to live, work and play.  🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the ccidence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – Observing and Reporting on America’s Criminal Injustice

There have been a number of blog-commentaries by the Go Lean movement over the years that highlighted the inequality in the American Justice System – clearly “justice is blind, deaf and dumb”, as  there is a Great Divide in this country for Black vs White and Rich vs Poor. See a sample list here of those previous submissions: Introducing Formal Reconciliations: Forging Justice After the Fact Unequal Justice: Lessons from the American Sheriffs Eco-System Cop-on-Black Shootings in America’s DNA/Slavery Legacy Is the US a ‘Just’ Society? Hardly! – Notice how the Rich is treated Lessons learned for Justice: The need for Special Prosecutors Justice and Economics – Both needed to forge change Learning from the History of Lynching: ‘Hurt People Hurt People’ Pharma Injustice: Opioids & the FDA – ‘Fox guarding the Henhouse’ Taking from the Poor to Give to the Rich High Profile Sexual Harassment Accusers – Hard to get Justice America’s Race Relations – Spot-on for Protest Immigration Realities in the US – Better to Stay Home Learning from Good and Bad Stereotypes: Japanese Internments American Defects: Racism – Is It Over? Prisoners for Profit – Mostly Black-and-Brown Victimized US versus Marcus Garvey: An Obvious Case of Racial Injustice Easy on White Collar Crimes & Health-care Fraud = $272 Billion/year Book Review: ‘The Divide’ – American Injustice … Age of Wealth Gap


Appendix B – New Birth bails nonviolent offenders out of jail for fresh start
By: Shelia Poole, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has raised $120,000 to provide bail for first-time, nonviolent offenders in four Georgia counties.

The “Bail Out” program was designed to give men and women a second chance, beginning Easter weekend. [Pastor Jamal] Bryant will share details of the initiative during a press conference at 2 p.m. Saturday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 6400 Woodrow Rd. in Stonecrest.

He is expected to joined by rapper and actor Clifford “T.I.” Harris, VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” personality Scrapp DeLeon and representatives from local sheriffs’ offices.

The program targets DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties. It will also help with job readiness.

It began as a $40,000 local challenge within the New Birth congregation and quickly grew to $120,000 and a larger metro movement.

“I looked at what was happening in the prison pipeline and realized that the church voice had been muted on the issue of prison reform,” said Bryant, the megachurch’s senior pastor.  “I realized that we needed to be part of what was taking place.”

And what better time, he noted, than during the observance of Easter, when Christians celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ which some churches refer to as “Resurrection Sunday.”
Source:  Posted April 19, 2019; retrieved November 26, 2019 from:

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