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Encyclopedia > Peine forte et dure

Peine forte et dure, (Law French for 'strong and hard punishment') was formerly a method of torture in the common law legal system, where the defendant who refused to plead ("stood mute") would be subjected to having heavier and heavier stones placed upon the chest until a plea was entered, or as the weight of the stones on the chest became too great for the victim to breathe, the victim would suffocate. Law French is an archaic language based on Norman and Anglo-Norman. ... The Iron Maiden of Nuremberg was a famous torture device Torture is the infliction of severe physical or psychological pain as an expression of cruelty, a means of intimidation, deterrent or punishment, or as a tool for the extraction of information or confessions. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... In Common law, a defendant is any person who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff in a civil suit or any person who has been named in a criminal information or criminal complaint and stands accused of violating a criminal statute. ... Plea has come to mean in the popular vernacular the assertion by a criminal defendant, in response of an arraignment, whether he is guilty or not guilty. ... Asphyxia is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body. ...

The common law courts originally took a very limited view of their own jurisdiction. They considered themselves to lack jurisdiction over a defendant until he had voluntarily submitted to it by entering a plea seeking judgment from the court. Obviously, a criminal justice system that only punished those who volunteered for punishment was unworkable; this was the means chosen to coerce them. The term jurisdiction has more than one sense. ... The study of criminal justice traditionally revolves around three main components of the criminal justice system: police courts corrections Nowadays, it is sometimes argued that psychiatry is also a central part of the criminal justice system. ...

Many defendants charged with capital offences nonetheless refused to plead, since thereby they would escape forfeiture of property, and their heirs would still inherit their estate; but if the defendant pled guilty and was executed, their heirs would inherit nothing, their property escheating to the Crown. Pleading innocent was also not an option, since the torture would merely be redoubled until they pled guilty. Peine forte et dure was abolished in the United Kingdom in 1772, although the last known actual use of the practice was in 1741. [1] Today, in all common law jurisdictions, standing mute is treated by the courts as equivalent to a plea of Not Guilty. Escheat is an obstruction of the course of descent and the consequent reversion of property to the original grantor. ...

The most famous victim of peine forte et dure in American history was Giles Corey, who was pressed to death on September 19, 1692, during the Salem witch trials, after he refused to enter a plea in the judicial proceeding. Giles Corey (also spelled Cory or Coree, 1612? - September 19, 1692) was a famous victim of the Salem Witchcraft Trials in early colonial America. ... September 19 is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years). ... Events February 13 - Massacre of Glencoe March 1 - The Salem witch trials begin in Salem Village, Massachusetts Bay Colony with the charging of three women with witchcraft. ... 1876 illustration of the courtroom The Salem witch trials of Colonial America resulted in a number of convictions and executions for witchcraft in 1692 in Massachusetts, the result of a period of factional infighting and Puritan paranoia which led to the deaths of at least 25 people and the imprisonment... Plea has come to mean in the popular vernacular the assertion by a criminal defendant, in response of an arraignment, whether he is guilty or not guilty. ...

See also: Crushing, a related form of execution This article is about the method of execution. ...

  Results from FactBites:
peine forte et dure@Everything2.com (1778 words)
When Major Strangeways was condemned to peine forte et dure, a heavy piece of iron was fixed anglewise over his heart and the attendants increased the pressure by throwing the weight of their own bodies upon it.
Card's description of peine forte et dure is reasonably accurate for the later years, though he has committed the common error of assuming that the crushing was in order to torture a confession or simply a method of execution.
It is unfortunate, unpleasant, grisly, and horrifying that the result was the peine forte et dure, but it is important to realise that this particular barbarism was never supposed to be what it became.
  More results at FactBites »



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