peine forte et dure

peine forte et dure
(French; "strong and hard punishment")

Formerly in English law, punishment inflicted on those accused of a felony who refused to enter a plea.

By a statute of 1275, the peine was usually to imprison and starve the prisoner until he submitted; in 1406 pressing by heavy weights was added to this. In one of the few instances of its use in the American colonies, during the Salem witch trials, 80-year-old Giles Corey, who had decided not to stand trial rather than forfeit his family's goods, was pressed to death by interrogators. The practice was abolished in 1772.

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▪ English law
French“strong and hard punishment”

      in English law, punishment that was inflicted upon those who were accused of a felony (felony and misdemeanour) and stood silent, refusing to plead either guilty or not guilty, or upon those who challenged more than 20 prospective jurors. For example, English law permitted defendants the right to challenge jurors who might be prejudiced, but the courts did not want to give defendants the right to abuse this rule by allowing them to hand-pick friendly juries. By the Statute of Westminster (Westminster, Statutes of) in 1275 (Westminster, Statutes of), the peine usually consisted of imprisonment and starvation until submission, but pressing to death by heavy weights was added in 1406. Because an individual who submitted a plea and was convicted forfeited his goods to the crown, some individuals chose to stand mute under the threat of peine forte et dure to ensure that their goods and estates would be inherited by their families. In treason cases peine forte et dure was inapplicable, because standing mute in such cases meant a plea of guilty.

      One of the few instances of the use of peine forte et dure in the American colonies took place during the Salem witch trials of 1692. One of the accused, 80-year-old Giles Corey, decided not to stand trial rather than forfeit his family's goods. He was ordered to undergo peine forte et dure and was pressed to death by interrogators using stone weights. Cases such as these later helped to prompt the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

      England abolished the peine forte et dure in 1772, when “standing mute” was made equivalent to conviction. By an act of 1827 a plea of “not guilty” was to be entered against any prisoner refusing to plead, a rule that was adopted in many legal systems.

John Philip Jenkins

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • peine forte et dure — /pen for tā dürˈ/ (French; historical) noun Literally, strong and severe punishment, a kind of judicial torture involving pressing with weights * * * peine forte et dure «pehn FR tay dooR», French. 1. very severe and harsh punishment. 2. a former …   Useful english dictionary

  • Peine forte et dure — Жиль Кори под камнями во время суда над «салемскими ведьмами». 1692 год «Peine forte et dure» (фр. сильное и продолжительное мучение)  в англо саксонской системе права вид …   Википедия

  • Peine forte et dure — La peine forte et dure (locution employée en français) était une peine du droit anglais, instaurée en 1406, consistant en l écrasement sous des poids. Elle sanctionnait ceux qui, mis en accusation, refusaient tout à la fois de plaider coupable et …   Wikipédia en Français

  • peine forte et dure — (francés: pena dura y severa). En el antiguo derecho inglés, pena impuesta a los inculpados de un delito grave que se negaban a defenderse en el juicio. De acuerdo con una ley de 1275, la peine consistía en encarcelarlos y privarlos de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • peine forte et dure — foreign term Etymology: French strong and hard punishment ; torture …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • peine forte et dure — /peyn fort ey dyur/ L. Fr. In old English law, a special form of punishment for those who, being arraigned for felony, obstinately stood mute, that is, refused to plead or to put themselves upon trial. It is described as a combination of solitary …   Black's law dictionary

  • peine forte et dure — A cruel and relentless punishment,–the torturing punishment which was anciently inflicted on a defendant accused of felony who refused to plead, as a penalty for his obstinacy. State v Woodward, 68 W Va. 66, 69 SE 385; 4 Bl Comm 325 …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • paine forte et dure — Same as peine forte et dure …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • paine forte et dure — /peyn fort ey dyur/ See peine fort et dure …   Black's law dictionary

  • Peine — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour les articles homophones, voir Peyne, Paine et Payne. Une peine est la sanction contre un comportement incriminé voir également : Peine… …   Wikipédia en Français

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