Capital Punishment - Cruel and Inhumane? :: …

Hence we see the use of printing, which alone makes the public, and not a few individuals, the guardians and defenders of the laws. It is this art which, by diffusing literature, has gradually dissipated the gloomy spirit of cabal and intrigue. To this art it is owing, that the atrocious crimes of our ancestors, who were alternately slaves and tyrants, are become less frequent. Those who are acquainted with the history of the two or three last centuries, may observe, how from the lap of luxury and effeminacy have sprung the most tender virtues, humanity, benevolence, and toleration of human errors. They may contemplate the effects of, what was so improperly called, ancient simplicity and good faith; humanity groaning under implacable superstition; the avarice and ambition of a few, staining with human blood the thrones and palaces of kings; secret treasons and public massacres; every noble a tyrant over the people; and the ministers of the gospel of Christ bathing their hands in blood, in the name of the God of all mercy. We may talk as we please of the corruption and degeneracy of the present age, but happily we see no such horrid examples of cruelty and oppression.

Capital Punishment - Cruel and Inhumane

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Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman ..

punishments become more mild, clemency and pardon are less necessary. Happy the nation in which they will be considered as dangerous! Clemency, which has often been deemed a sufficient substitute for every other virtue in sovereigns, should be excluded in a perfect legislation, where punishments are mild, and the proceedings in criminal cases regular and expeditious. This truth will seem cruel to those who live in countries, where, from the absurdity of the laws, and the severity of punishments, pardons, and the clemency of the prince, are necessary. It is indeed one of the noblest prerogatives of the throne, but, at the same time, a tacit disapprobation of the laws. Clemency is a virtue which belongs to the legislator, and not to the executor of the laws; a virtue which ought to shine in the code, and not in private judgment. To shew mankind, that crimes are sometimes pardoned, and that punishment is not the necessary consequence, is to nourish the flattering hope of impunity, and is the cause of their considering every punishment inflicted as an act of injustice and oppression. The prince, in pardoning, gives up the public security in favour of an individual, and, by his ill-judged benevolence, proclaims a public act of impunity. Let, then, the executors of the laws be inexorable, but let the legislator be tender, indulgent and humane. He is a wise architect, who erects his edifice on the foundation of self-love, and contrives, that the interest of the public shall be the interest of each individual; who is not obliged by particular laws, and irregular proceedings, to separate the public good from that of individuals, and erect the image of public felicity on the basis of fear and distrust; but, like a wise philosopher, he will permit his brethren to enjoy, in quiet, that small portion of happiness, which the immense system, established by the first cause, permits them to taste on this earth, which is but a point in the universe.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment Essay

Some have pretended, that in whatever country a crime, that is, an action contrary to the laws of society, be committed, the criminal may be justly punished for it in any other; as if the character of subject were indelible, or synonimous with, or worse than that of slave; as if a man could live in one country, and be subject to the laws of another, or be accountable for his actions to two sovereigns, or two codes of laws, often contradictory. There are also who think, that an act of cruelty committed, for example, at Constantinople may be punished at Paris; for this abstracted reason, that he who offends humanity, should have enemies in all mankind, and be the object of universal execration; as if judges were to be the knights-errant of human nature in general, rather than guardians of particular conventions between men. The place of punishment can certainly be no other, than that where the crime was committed; for the necessity of punishing an individual for the general good subsists there, and there only. A villain, if he has not broke through the conventions of a society of which, by my supposition, he was not a member, may be feared, and by force banished and excluded from that society; but ought not to be formally punished by the laws, which were only intended to maintain the social compact, and not to punish the intrinsic malignity of actions.

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and the question of cruel and unusual punishment in ..

more immediately, after the commission of a crime, a punishment is inflicted, the more just and useful it will be. It will be more just, because it spares the criminal the cruel and superfluous torment of uncertainty, which increases in proportion to the strength of his imagination and the sense of his weakness; and because the privation of liberty, being a punishment, ought to be inflicted before condemnation, but for as short a time as possible. Imprisonments, I say, being only the means of securing the person of the accused, until he be tried, condemned or acquitted, ought not only to be of short duration, but attended with as little severity as possible. The time should be determined by the necessary preparation for the trial, and the right of priority in the oldest prisoners. The confinement ought not to be closer than is requisite to prevent his flight, or his concealing the proofs of the crime; and the trial should be conducted with all possible expedition. Can there be a more cruel contrast than that between the indolence of a judge, and the painful anxiety of the accused; the comforts and pleasures of an insensible magistrate, and the filth and misery of the prisoner? In general, as I have before observed, If there be any society in which this is not a fundamental principle, it is an unlawful society; for mankind, by their union, originally intended to subject themselves to the least evils possible.

The Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or ..

In the whole extent of a political state, there should be no place independent of the laws. Their power should follow every subject, as the shadow follows the body. Sanctuaries, and impunity, differ only in degree, and as the effect of punishment depends more on their certainty, than their greatness, men are more strongly invited to crimes by sanctuaries, than they are deterred by punishment. To increase the number of sanctuaries, is to erect so many little sovereignties; for, when the laws have no power, new bodies will be formed in opposition to the public good, and a spirit established contrary to that of the state. History informs us, that from the use of sanctuaries have arisen the greatest revolutions in kingdoms and in opinions.

Define cruel and unusual punishment

The second category of the Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment proportionality analysis involves those cases in which the Court established categorical rules about what punishments are cruel and unusual when applied to an entire category of offenders or to certain offenses. In two such cases, Roper v. Simmons and Graham v. Florida, the Court utilized this analysis to hold that certain punishments violate the Eighth Amendment when applied to juveniles under the age of eighteen.