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Cesare Bonesana-Beccaria, Marquis of Gualdrasco and Villareggio (15 March 1738 – 28 November 1794) was an Italian criminologist, jurist, philosopher, and politician.
On Crimes and Punishments (1764)
- No man can be judged a criminal until he be found guilty; nor can society take from him the public protection, until it have been proved that he has violated the conditions on which it was granted. What right, then, but that of power, can authorise the punishment of a citizen, so long as there remains any doubt of his guilt? The dilemma is frequent. Either he is guilty, or not guilty. If guilty, he should only suffer the punishment ordained by the laws, and torture becomes useless, as his confession is unnecessary. If he be not guilty, you torture the innocent; for, in the eye of the law, every man is innocent, whose crime has not been proved.
- [On the death penalty] Seems so absurd to me that the laws, that are the expression of the public will, that hate and punish the murder, make one themselves, and, to dissuade citizens from the murder, order a public murder. (Chapter XXVIII)