The court- ordered imposition of a sentence of execution as punishment for a crime. See also punishment (capital punishment).
(law) A punishment in which the person who committed the offence is put to death by the state.
The president had made up his mind that the sentence must be carried out; the congress by a great majority were resolved not to permit the death penalty to be inflicted.
The death penalty was freely awarded for theft and other crimes regarded as coming under that head; for theft involving entrance of palace or temple treasury, for illegal purchase from minor or slave, for selling stolen goods or receiving the same, for common theft in the open (in default of multiple restoration) or receiving the same, for false claim to goods, for kidnapping, for assisting or harbouring fugitive slaves, for detaining or appropriating same, for brigandage, for fraudulent sale of drink, for disorderly conduct of tavern, for delegation of personal service, for misappropriating the levy, for oppression of feudal holders, for causing death of a householder by bad building.
This death penalty was also fixed for such conduct as placed another in danger of death.
He favoured the death penalty for spies, but after the war advocated amnesty for political prisoners.
For the second offence the penalty was to be twenty years' imprisonment (August I, 1793), for which the death penalty was ultimately substituted (May 10, 1794).