The DICT Development Group

Search for:
Search type:

Database copyright information
Server information

2 definitions found
 for Capital crime
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Crime \Crime\ (kr[imac]m), n. [F. crime, fr. L. crimen judicial
     decision, that which is subjected to such a decision, charge,
     fault, crime, fr. the root of cernere to decide judicially.
     See Certain.]
     1. Any violation of law, either divine or human; an omission
        of a duty commanded, or the commission of an act forbidden
        by law.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. Gross violation of human law, in distinction from a
        misdemeanor or trespass, or other slight offense. Hence,
        also, any aggravated offense against morality or the
        public welfare; any outrage or great wrong. "To part error
        from crime." --Tennyson.
        [1913 Webster]
     Note: Crimes, in the English common law, are grave offenses
           which were originally capitally punished (murder, rape,
           robbery, arson, burglary, and larceny), as
           distinguished from misdemeanors, which are offenses of
           a lighter grade. See Misdemeanors.
           [1913 Webster]
     3. Any great wickedness or sin; iniquity.
        [1913 Webster]
              No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. That which occasion crime. [Obs.]
        [1913 Webster]
              The tree of life, the crime of our first father's
              fall.                                 --Spenser.
        [1913 Webster]
     Capital crime, a crime punishable with death.
     Syn: Sin; vice; iniquity; wrong.
     Crime,+Sin,{Vice">Usage: Crime, Sin,{Vice. Sin is the generic term,
            embracing wickedness of every kind, but specifically
            denoting an offense as committed against God. Crime is
            strictly a violation of law either human or divine;
            but in present usage the term is commonly applied to
            actions contrary to the laws of the State. Vice is
            more distinctively that which springs from the
            inordinate indulgence of the natural appetites, which
            are in themselves innocent. Thus intemperance,
            unchastity, duplicity, etc., are vices; while murder,
            forgery, etc., which spring from the indulgence of
            selfish passions, are crimes.
            [1913 Webster]

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  CAPITAL CRIME. One for the punishment of which death is inflicted, which 
  punishment is called capital punishment. Dane's Ab. Index, h.t. 
       2. The subject of capital punishment has occupied the attention of 
  enlightened men for a long time, particularly since the middle of the last 
  century; and none deserves to be more carefully investigated. The right of 
  punishing its members by society cannot be denied; but how far this right 
  extends, by the laws of nature or of God, has been much disputed by 
  theoretical writers, although it cannot be denied, that most nations, 
  ancient and modern, have deemed capital punishment to be within the scope of 
  the legitimate powers of government. Beccaria contends with zeal that the 
  punishment of death ought not to be inflicted in times of peace, nor at 
  other times, except in cases where the laws can be maintained in no other 
  way. Bee. Chap. 28. 
       3. It is not within the plan of this work to examine the question, 
  whether the punishment is allowed by the natural law. The principal 
  arguments for and against it are here given. 
       4.-1. The arguments used in favor of the abolition of capital 
  punishment, are; 
       5.-1st. That existence is a right which men hold from God, and which 
  society in body can, no more than a member of that society, deprive them of, 
  because society is governed by the immutable laws of humanity. 
       6.-2d. That, even should the right be admitted, this is a restraint 
  badly selected, which does not attain its end, death being less dreaded than 
  either solitary confinement for life, or the performance of hard labor and 
  disgrace for life. 
       7.-3d. That the infliction of the punishment does not prevent crimes, 
  any more than, other less severe but longer punishments. 
       8.-4th. That as a public example, this punishment is only a barbarous 
  show, better calculated to accustom mankind to the contemplation of 
  bloodshed, than to restrain them. 
       9.-5th. That the law by taking life, when it is unnecessary for the 
  safety of society, must act by some other motive this can be no other than 
  revenge. To the extent the law punishes an individual beyond what is 
  requisite for the preservation of society, and the restoration of the 
  offender, is cruel and barbarous. The law) to prevent a barbarous act, 
  commits one of the same kind,; it kills one of the members of society, to 
  convince the others that killing is unlawful. 
      10.-6th. That by depriving a man of life, society is deprived of the 
  benefits which he is able to confer upon it; for, according to the vulgar 
  phrase, a man hanged is good for nothing. 
      11.-7th. That experience has proved that offences which were formerly 
  punished with death, have not increased since the punishment has been 
  changed to a milder one. 
      12.-2. The arguments which have been urged on the other side, are, 
      13.-1st. That all that humanity commands to legislators is, that they 
  should inflict only necessary and useful punishments; and that if they keep 
  within these bounds, the law may permit an extreme remedy, even the 
  punishment of death, when it is requisite for the safety of society. 
      14.-2d. That, whatever be said to the contrary, this punishment is 
  more repulsive than any other, as life is esteemed above all things, and 
  death is considered as the greatest of evils, particularly when it is 
  accompanied by infamy. 
      15.-3d. That restrained, as this punishment ought to be, to the 
  greatest crimes, it can never lose its efficacy as an example, nor harden 
  the multitude by the frequency of executions. 
      16.-4th. That unless this punishment be placed at the top of the scale 
  of punishment, criminals will always kill, when they can, while committing 
  an inferior crime, as the punishment will be increased only by a more 
  protracted imprisonment, where they still will hope for a pardon or an 
      17th.-5th. The essays which have been made by two countries at least; 
  Russia, under the reign of Elizabeth, and Tuscany, under the reign of 
  Leopold, where the punishment of death was abolished, have proved 
  unsuccessful, as that punishment has been restored in both. 
      18. Arguments on theological grounds have also been advanced on both 
  sides. See Candlish's Contributions towards the Exposition of the Book of 
  Genesis, pp. 203-7.  Vide Beccaria on Crimes and Punishments; Voltaire, 
  h.t.; Livingston's Report on a Plan of a Penal Code; Liv. Syst. Pen. Law, 
  22; Bentham on Legislation, part 3, c. 9; Report to the N. Y. Legislature; 
  18 Am. Jur. 334. 

Contact=webmaster@dict.org Specification=RFC 2229