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281
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

and was coupled with mutilation. Under the Penal Code of 1810, as amended in or after 1832, even so late as 1871, thirty offences were capital, one being perjury against a prisoner resulting in his condemnation to death (art. 361). At present it may be imposed for wounding a public official with intent to murder (art. 233), assassination, parricide, poisoning, killing to commit a crime or escape from justice (arts. 302, 304). But juries freely exercise the power of acquitting in capital cases, or of defeating the capital sentence by finding extenuating circumstances in more than seven-eighths of the cases, which compels the court to reduce the punishment by one or more degrees, i.e. below the penalty of death. And in recent times the prerogative of mercy has been continually exercised by the president, even in gross cases where public opinion demanded the extreme penalty. The sentence is executed in public by the guillotine.

Germany.—In many of the states of Germany capital punishment had been abolished (Brunswick, Coburg, Nassau, Oldenburg in 1849; Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Weimar, 1862; Baden, 1863; Saxony, 1868). But it has been restored by the Imperial Criminal Code of 1872, in the case of attempts on the life of the emperor, or of the sovereign of any federal state in which the offender happens to be (s. 80), and for deliberate homicide (s. 211)—as opposed to intentional homicide without deliberation—and for certain treasonable acts committed when a state of siege has been proclaimed. The sentence is executed by beheading (s. 13).

Holland.—In Holland there have been no executions since 1860. Capital punishment (by hanging) was abolished in 1870, and was not reintroduced in the Penal Code of 1886.

Italy.—Capital punishment was abolished in Tuscany as far back as 1786, and from Italy has come the chief opposition to the death penalty, originated by Beccaria, and supported by many eminent jurists. Under the Penal Code of 1888 the death penalty was abrogated for all crimes, even for regicide. The cases of homicide in Italy are very numerous compared with those in England, amounting in 1905 to 105 per million as compared with 27 per million in the United Kingdom.

Japan.—The penalty of death is executed by hanging within a prison. It may be imposed for executing or contriving acts of violence against the mikado or certain of his family, and for seditious violence with the object of seizing the territory or subverting the government or laws of Japan, or conspiring with foreign powers to commence hostilities against Japan. It is inflicted for certain forms of homicide, substantially wilful murder in the first degree.

Norway.—Under Norwegian law, up to 1905, sentence of death might be passed for murder with premeditation, but the court might as an alternative decree penal servitude for life. Sentence of death had also to be passed in cases where a person under sentence of penal servitude for life committed murder or culpable homicide, or caused bodily injuries in circumstances warranting a sentence of penal servitude for life, or committed robbery or the graver forms of wilful fire-raising. The sentence was carried out by decapitation (see Beheading); but there had been no execution since 1876. The new Norwegian Code, which came into force on the 6th of January 1905, abolished capital punishment.

Portugal.—There has been considerable objection in Portugal to capital punishment, and it was abolished in 1867.

Rumania.—Capital punishment was abolished in 1864.

Russia.—In 1750, under the empress Elizabeth, capital punishment was abolished; but it was restored later and was freely inflicted, the sentence being executed by shooting, beheading or hanging. According to a Home Office Return in England in 1907 the death penalty is abolished, except in cases where the lives of the emperor, empress or heir to the throne are concerned.

Spain.—Under the Spanish Penal Code of 1870 the following crimes are capital:—inducing a foreign power to declare war against Spain, killing the sovereign, parricide and assassination. The method employed is execution in public by the garrote. But the death sentence is rarely imposed, the customary penalty for murder being penal servitude in chains for life, while a parricide is imprisoned in chains “in perpetuity until death.”

Sweden.—The severity of the law in Sweden was greatly mitigated so far back as 1777. Under the Penal Code of 1864 the penalty of death may be imposed for certain forms of treason, including attempts on the life of the sovereign or on the independence of Sweden, and for premeditated homicide (assassinat), and in certain cases for offences committed by persons under sentence of imprisonment for life. In 1901 a bill to abolish capital punishment was rejected by both houses of the Swedish parliament.

Switzerland.—Capital punishment was abolished in Switzerland in 1874 by Federal legislation; but in 1879, in consequence of a plebiscite, each canton was empowered to restore the death penalty for offences in its territory. The Federal government was unwilling to take this course, but was impelled to it by the fact that, between 1874 and 1879, cases of premeditated murder had considerably increased. Seven of the cantons out of twenty-two have exercised the power given to restore capital punishment. But there do not seem to have been any cases in which the death penalty has been inflicted; and on the assassination of the empress of Austria at Geneva in 1898 it was found that the laws of the canton did not permit the execution of the assassin. The canton of Zug imposes the lowest minimum penalty known, i.e. three years’ imprisonment for wilful homicide, the maximum being imprisonment for life.

United States of America.—Under the Federal laws sentence of death may be passed for treason against the United States and for piracy and for murder within the Federal jurisdiction. But for the most part the punishment of crime is regulated by the laws of the constituent states of the Union.

The death penalty was abolished in Michigan in 1846 except for treason, and wholly in Wisconsin in 1853. In Maine it was abolished in 1876, re-enacted in 1883, and again abolished in 1887. In Rhode Island it was abolished in 1852, but restored in 1882, only in case of murder committed by a person under sentence of imprisonment for life (Laws, 1896, c. 277, s. 2). In all the other states the death penalty may still be inflicted: in Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, and West Virginia, for treason, murder, arson and rape; in Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, New Jersey, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and South Dakota, for treason and murder; in Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming, for murder only; in Kentucky and Virginia, for treason, murder and rape; in Vermont, for treason, murder and arson; in Indiana, for treason, murder, and for arson if death result; in California, for treason, murder and train-wrecking; in North Carolina, for murder, rape, arson and burglary; in Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, for murder and rape; in Arkansas and Louisiana, for treason, murder, rape, and administering poison or use of dangerous weapons with intent to murder. Louisiana is cited by Girardin (le droit de punir) as a state in which the death penalty was abolished in 1830. Under the influence of the eminent jurist, E. Livingston, who framed the state codes, the legislature certainly passed a resolution against capital punishment. But since as early as 1846 it has been there lawful, subject to a power given to the jury, to bring in a verdict of guilty, “but no capital punishment,” which had the effect of imposing a sentence of hard labour for life. In certain states the jury has, under local legislation, the right to award the sentence. The constitutionality of such legislation has been doubted, but has been recognized by the courts of Illinois and Iowa. Sentence of death is executed by hanging, except in seven of the states, where it is carried out by “electrocution” (q.v.).

With the mitigation of the law as to punishment, agitation against the theory of capital punishment has lost much of its force. But many European and American writers, and some English writers and associations, advocate the The question of abolition.

total abolition of the death punishment. The ultimate argument of the opponents of capital punishment is that society has no right to take the life of any one of its members on