New York Lawyer WS
New York Layer, law dictionary, legal dictionary, dictionary online, word search, lawyer search, law and order, attorney, law school    

PUNISHMENT, crim. law. Some pain or penalty warranted by law, inflicted on a person, for the commission of a crime or misdemeanor, or for the omission of the performance of an act required by law, by the judgment and command of some lawful court.

2. The right of society to punish, is derived by Becoaria, Mably, and some others, from a supposed agreement which the persons who composes the primitive societies entered into, in order to keep order and, indeed, the very existence of the state. According to others, it is the interest and duty of man to live in society; to defend this right, society may exert this principle in order to support itself, and this it may do, whenever the acts punishable would en-danger the safety of the whole. And Bentham is of opinion that the foundation of this right is laid in public utility or necessity. Delinquents are public enemies, and they must be disarmed and prevented from doing evil, or society must be destroyed. But, if the social compact has ever existed, says Livingston, its end must have been the preservation of the natural rights of the members and, therefore the effects of this fiction are the same with those of the theory which takes abstract justice as the foundation of the right to punish; for, this justice, if well considered, is that which assures to each member of the state, the free exercise of his rights. And if it should be found that utility, the last source from which the right to punish is derived, is so intimately united to justice that it is inseparable from it in the practice of law, it will follow that every system founded on one of these principles must be supported by the others.

3. To attain their social end, punishments should be exemplary, or capable of intimidating those who might be tempted to imitate the guilty; reformatory, or such as should improve the condition of the convicts; personal, or such as are at least calculated to wound the feelings or affect the rights of the relations of the guilty divisible, or capable of being graduated and proportioned to the offence, and the circumstances of each case; reparable, on account of the fallibility of human justice.

4. Punishments are either corporal or not corporal. The former are, death, which is usually denominated capital punishment; imprisonment, which is either with or without labor; vide Penitentiary; whipping, in some states, though to the honor of several of them, it is not tolerated in them; banishment and death.

5. The punishments which are not corporal, are fines; forfeitures; suspension or deprivation of some political or civil right deprivation of office, and being rendered incapable to hold office; compulsion to remove nuisances.

6. The object of punishment is to reform the offender; to deter him and others from committing like offences; and to protect society. Vide 4 Bl. Com. 7 Rutherf. Inst. B. 1, ch. 18.

7. Punishment to be just ought to be graduated to the enormity of the offence. It should never exceed what is requisite to reform the criminal and to protect society; for whatever goes beyond this, is cruelty and revenge, the relic of a barbarous age. All the circumstances under which the offender acted should be considered. Vide Moral Insanity.

8. The constitution of the United States, amendments, art. 8, forbids the infliction of "cruel and unusual punishments."

9. It has been well observed by the author of Principles of Penal Law, that "when the rights of human nature are not respected, those of the citizen are gradually disregarded. Those eras are in history found fatal to liberty, in which cruel punishments predominate. Lenity should be the guardian of moderate governments; severe penalties, the instruments of despotism, may give a sudden check to temporary evils, but they have a tendency to extend themselves to every class of crimes, and their frequency hardens the sentiments of the people. Une loi rigoureuse produit des crimes. The excess of the penalty flatters the imagination with the hope of impunity, and thus becomes an advocate with the offender for the perpetrating of the offence." Vide Theorie des Lois Criminelles, ch. 2; Bac. on Crimes and Punishments; Merl. Rep. mot Peine; Dalloz, Dict. mot Peine and Capital crimes.

10. Punishments are infamous or not infamous. The former continue through life, unless the offender has been pardoned, and are not dependant on the length of time for which the party has been sentenced to suffer imprisonment; a person convicted of a felony, perjury, and other infamous crimes cannot, therefore, be a witness nor hold any office, although the period for which he may have been sentenced to imprisonment, may have expired by lapse of time. As to the effect of a pardon, vide Pardon.

11. Those punishments which are not infamous, are such as are inflicted on persons for misdemeanors, such as assaults and batteries, libels, and the like. Vide Crimes; Infamy; Penitentiary.

PUNISHMENT OF DEATH. The deliberate killing, according to the forms of law,, of a person who has been lawfully convicted of certain crimes. See Capital crimes.

PUPIL, civil law. One who is in his or her minority. Vide. Dig. 1, 7; Id. 26, 7, 1, 2; Code, 6, 30, 18; Dig. 50, 16, 239. One who is in ward or guardianship.

PUPILLARITY, civil law. That age of a person's life which included infancy and puerility. (q. v.)

PUR. A corruption of the French word par, by or for. It is frequently used in old French law phrases; as, pur autre vie. It is also used in the composition of words, as purparty, purlieu, purview.

PUR AUTRE VIE, tenures. These old French words signify, for another's life. An estate is said to be pur autre vie, when a lease is made of lands or tenements to a man, to hold for the life of another person. 2 Bl. Com. 259; 10 Vin. Ab. 296; 2 Supp. to Ves. Jr. 41.

PURCHASE. In its most enlarged and technical sense, purchase signifies the lawful acquisition of real estate by any means whatever, except descent. It is thus defined by Littleton, section 12. "Purchase is called the possession of lands or tenements that a man hath by his own deed or agreement, unto which possession he cometh, not by title of descent from any of his ancestors or cousins, but by his own deed."

2. It follows, therefore, that not only when a man acquires an estate by buying it for a good or valuable consideration, but also when it is given or devised to him be acquires it by purchase. 2 Bl. Com. 241.

3. There are six ways of acquiring a title by purchase, namely, 1. By, deed. 2. By devise. 3. By execution. 4. By prescription. 5. By possession, or occupancy. 6. By escheat. In its more limited sense, purchase is applied only to such acquisitions of lands as are obtained by way of bargain and sale for money, or some other valuable consideration. Id. Cruise, Dig. tit. 30, s. 1, to 4; 1 Dall. R. 20. In common parlance, purchase signifies the buying of real estate and of goods and chattels.

PURCHASER, contracts. A buyer, a vendee.

2. It is a general rule that all persons, capable of entering into contracts, may become purchasers both of real and personal property.

3. But to this rule there are several exceptions. 1. There is a class of persons who are incapable of purchasing except sub modo; and, 2. Another class, who, in consequence of their peculiar relation with regard to the owners of the thing sold, are totally incapable of becoming purchasers, while that relation exists.

4. - 1. To the first class belong, 1st. Infants under the age of twenty-one years, who may purchase, and at their full age bind themselves by agreeing to the bargain, or waive the purchase without alleging any cause for so doing. If they do not agree to the purchase after their full age, their heirs may waive it in the same manner as they themselves could have done. Cro. Jac. 320; Rolle's Ab. 731 K; Co. Litt. 2 b; 6 Mass. R. 80; 6 John. R. 257.

5. - 2d. Femes covert, who are capable of purchasing but their hushands may disagree to the contract, and divest the whole estate; the hushand may further recover back the purchase-money. 1 Ld. Raym. 224; 1 Madd. Ch. R. 258; 6 Binn. R. 429. When the hushand neither, agrees nor disagrees, the purchase will be valid. After the hushand's death, the wife may waive the purchase without assigning any cause for it, although the hushand may have agreed to it; and if, after her hushand's death, she do not agree to it, her heirs may waive it. Co. Lift. 3 a; Dougl. R. 452.

6. - 3d. Lunatics, or idiots, who are capable of purchasing. It seems that although they recover their senses, they cannot of themselves waive the purchase; yet if, after recovering their senses, they agree to it, their heirs cannot set it aside. 2 Bl. Com. 291; and see 3 Day's R. 101. Their heirs may avoid the purchase when they die during their lunacy or idiocy. Co. Litt. 2 b.

7. - 2. It is a general rule that trustees 2 Bro. C. C. 400; 3 Bro. C. C. 483; 1 John. Ch. R. 36; 3 Desaus. Ch. R. 26; 3 Binn. Y. 59; unless they are nominally so, to preserve contingent remainders; 11 Ves, Jr. 226; agents; 8 Bro. P. C; 42; 13 Ves. Jr. 95; Story, Ag. 9; commissioners of bankrupts; assignees of bankrupts; solicitors to the commission; 6 Ves. Jr. 630, n. b.; auctioneers and creditors who have been consulted as to the mode of sale; 6 Ves. Jr. 617; 2 Johns. Ch. R. 257; or any other persons who, by their connexion with the owner, or by being employed concerning his affairs, have acquired a knowledge of his property, are generally incapable of purchasing such property themselves. And so stern is the rule, that when a person cannot purchase the estate himself, he cannot buy it, as agent for another; 9 Ves. Jr. 248; nor perhaps employ a third person to bid for it on behalf of a stranger; 10 Ves. Jr. 381 for no court is equal to the examination and ascertanment of the truth in a majority of such cases. 8 Ves. Jr. 345.

8. The obligations of the purchaser resulting from the contract of sale, are, 1. To pay the price agreed upon in the contract. 2. To take away the thing purchased, unless otherwise agreed upon; and, 3. To indemnify the seller for any expenses he may have incurred to preserve it for him. Vide Sugd. on Vend. Index, h. t.; Ross on Vend. Index, h. t.; Long on Sales, Index, h. t.; 2 Supp. to Ves. Jr. 449, 267, 478; Yelv. 45; 2 Ves. Jr. 100; 8 Coin. Dig. 349; 3 Com. Dig. 108.

PURCHASE-MONEY. The consideration which is agreed to be paid by the purchaser of a thing in money. It is the duty of the purchaser to pay the purchase-money as agreed upon in making the contract, and, in case of conveyance of an estate before it is paid, the vendor is entitled according to the laws of, England, which have been adopted in several of the states, to a lien on the estate sold for the purchase-money so remaining unpaid. This is called an equitable lien. This doctrine is derived from the civil law. Dig. 18, 1, 19. The case of Chapman v. Tauner, 1 Vera. 267, decided in 1684, is the first where this doctrine was adopted. 7 S. & R. 73. It was strongly opposed, but is now firmly established in England, and in the United States. 6 Yerg. R. 50; 4 Bibb, R. 239 1 John. Ch. R. 308; 7 Wheat. R. 46, 50 5 Monr. R. 287; 1 liar. & John. 106; 4 Har. & John. 522; 1 Call. R. 414; 1 Dana, R. 576; 5 Munf. R. 342; Dev. Eq. R. 163 4 Hawks, R. 256; 5 Conn. 468; 2 J. J. Marsh, 330; 1 Bibb. R. 590.

2. But the lien of the seller exists only between the parties and those having notice that the purchase-money has nut been paid. 3 J. J. Marsh. 557; 3 Gill & John. 425 6 Monr. R. 198.

PURE DEBT. In Scotland, this name is given to a debt actually due, in contradistinction to one which is to become due at a future day certain, which is called a future debt: and one due provisionally, in a certain event, which is called a contingent debt. 1 Bell's Com. 315, 5th ed.

PURE OR SIMPLE OBLIGATION. One which is not suspended by any condition, whether it has been contracted without any condition, or when thus contracted, the condition has been performed. Poth. Obl. n. 176.

PURE PLEA, equity pleading. One which relies wholly on some matter dehors the bill as for example, a plea of a release or a settled account.

2. Pleas not pure, are so called in contradistinction to pure pleas; they are sometimes also denominated negative pleas. 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 4275.

PURGATION. The clearing one's self of an offence charged, by denying the guilt on oath or affirmation.

2. There were two sorts of purgation, the vulgar, and the canonical.

3. Vulgar purgation consisted in superstitious trials by hot and cold water, by fire, by hot irons, by batell, by corsned, &c., which modes of trial were adopted in times of ignorance and barbarity, and were impiously called judgments of God.

4. Canonical purgation was the act of justifying one's self, when accused of some offence in the presence of a number of persons, worthy of credit, gen-erally twelve, who would swear they believed the accused. See Compurgator; Wager of Law.

5. In modern times, a man may purge himself of an offence, in some cases where the facts are within his own knowledge; for example, when a man is charged with a contempt of court, he may purge himself of such contempt, by swearing that in doing the act charged, he did not intend to commit a contempt.

PURLIEU, Eng. law. A space of land near a forest, known by certain boundaries, which was formerly part of a forest, but which has been separated from it.

2. The history of purlieus is this. Henry III., on taking possession of the throne, manifested so great a taste for forests that he enlarged the old ones wherever he could, and by this means enclosed many estates, which had no outlet to the public roads, and things increased in this way until the reign of King John, when the public reclamations were so great that much of this land was disforested; that is, no longer had the privileges of the forests, and the land thus separated bore the name of purlieu.

PURPARTY. That part of an estate, which having been held in common by parceners, is by partition allotted to any of them. To make purparty is to divide and sever the lands which fall to parceners. Old Nat. Br. 11.

PURPORT, pleading. This word means the substance of a writing, as it appears on the face of it, to the eye that reads it; it differs from tenor. (q. v.), 2 Russ. on Cr. 365; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 235; 1 East, R. 179, and the cases in the notes.

PURPRESTURE. According to Lord Coke, purpresture, is a close or enclosure, that is, when one encroaches or makes several to himself that which ought to be in common to many; as if an individual were to build between high and low water-mark on the side of a public river. In England this is a nuisance; and in cases of this kind an injunction will be granted, on ex parte affidavits, to restrain such a purpresture and nuisance. 2 Bouv. Inst. n, 2382; 4 Id. n. 3798; 2 Inst. 28; and see Skene, verbo Pourpr esture; Glanville, lib. 9, ch. 11, p. 239, note Spelm. Gloss. Purpresture Hale, de Port. Mar.; Harg. Law Tracts, 84; 2 Anstr. 606; Cal. on Sew. 174 Redes. Tr. 117.

PURSE. In Turkey the sum of five hundred dollars is called a purse. Merch. Dict. h. t.

PURSER. The person appointed by the master of a ship or vessel, whose duty it is to take care of the ship's books, in which everything on board is inserted, as well the names of mariners as the articles of merchandise shipped. Rocc. Ins. note.

2. The act of congress concerning the naval establishment, passed March 30, 1812, provides, 6, That the pursers in the Navy of the United States shall be appointed by the president of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the senate; and that, from and after the first day of May next, no person shall act in the character of purser, who shall not have been thus first nominated and appointed, excepting pursers on distant service, who shall not remain in service after the first day of July next, unless nominated and appointed as aforesaid. And every purser, before entering upon the duties of his office, shall give bond, with two or more sufficient sureties, in the penalty of ten thousand dollars, conditioned faithfully to perform all the duties of purser in the United States.

3. And by the supplementary act to this act concerning the naval establishment, passed March 1, 1817, it is enacted, 1, That every purser now in service, or who may hereafter be appointed, shall, instead of the bond required by the act to which this is a supplement, enter into bond, with two or more sufficient sureties, in the penalty of twenty-five thousand dollars, conditioned for the faithful discharge of all his duties as purser in the navy of the United States, which said sureties shall be approved by the judge or attorney of the United States for the district in which such purser shall reside.

PURSUER, canon law. The name by which the complainant or plaintiff is known in the ecclesiastical courts. 3 Eng. Eccl. R. 350.

PURVEYOR. One employed in procuring provisions. Vide Code, 1, 34.

PURVIEW. That part of an act of the legislature which begins with the words "Be it enacted," &c., aud ends before the repealing clause. Cooke's R. 330 3 Bibb, 181. According to Cowell, this word also signifies a conditional gift or grant. It is said to be derived from the French pourvu, provided. It always implies a condition. Interpreter, h. t.

TO PUT, pleading. To select, to demand; as, the said C D puts himself upon the country; that is, he selects the trial by jury, as the mode of settling the matter in dispute, and does not rely upon an issue in law. Gould, Pl. c. 6. part 1, 19.

PUTATIVE. Reputed to be that which is not. The word is frequently used, as putative father, (q. v.) putative marriage, putative wife, and the like. And Toullier, tome 7, n. 29, uses the words putative owner, proprietare putatif. Lord Kames uses the same expression. Princ. of Eq. 391.

PUTATIVE FATHER. The reputed father.

2. This term is most usually applied to the father of a bastard child.

3. The putative father is bound to support his children, and is entitled to the guardianship and care of them in preference to all persons but the mother. 1 Ashm. It. 55; and vide 7 East, 11; 5 Esp. R. 131; 1 B. & A. 491; Bott, P. L. 499; 1 C. & P. 268; 1 B. & B. 1; 3 Moore, R. 211; Harr. Dig. Bastards, VlI.; 3 C. & P. 36.

PUTATIVE MARRIAGE. This marriage is described by jurists as "matrimonium putativum, id est, quod bona fide et solemnitur saltem, opinions conjugis unius justa contractum inter personas vetitas jungi." Hertius, h. t. It is a marrriage contracted in good faith, and in ignorance of the existence of those facts which constituted a legal impediment to the intermarriage.

2. Three circumstances must concur to constitute this species of marriage. 1st. There must be a bona fides. One of the parties, at least, must have been ignorant of the impediment, not only at the time of the marriage, but must also have continued ignorant of it during his or her life, because, if he became aware of it, he was bound to separate himself from his wife. 2d. The marriage must be duly solemnized. 3d. The marriage must have been considered lawful in the estimation of the parties, or of that party who alleges the bona fides.

3. A marriage in which these three circumstances concur, although null and void, will have the effect of entitling the wife, if she be in good faith, to enforce the rights of property, which would have been competent to her if the marriage had been valid, and of rendering the children of such marriage legitimate.

4. This species of marriage was not recognized by the civil law; it was introduced by the canon law. It is unknown to the law of the United States, and in England and Ireland. In France it has been adopted by the Code Civil, art. 201, 202. In Scotland, the question has not been settled. Burge on the Confl. of Laws, 151, 2.

PUTTING IN FEAR. These words are used in the definition of a robbery from the person; the offence must have been committed by putting in fear the person robbed. 3 Inst. 68; 4 Bl. Com. 243.

2. This is the circumstance which distinguishes robbery from all other larcenies. But what force must be used, or what kind of fears excited, are questions very proper for discussion. The goods must be taken against the will (q. v.) of the possessor. For. 123.

3. There must either be a putting in fear or actual violence, though both need not be positively shown; for the former will be inferred from the latter, and the latter is sufficiently implied in the former. For example, when a man is suddenly knocked down and robbed while he is senseless, there is no fear,, yet in consequence of the violence, it is presumed. 2 East, P. C. 711; 4 Binn. Rep. 379; 3 Wash. C. C. Rep. 209; 2 Chit. Cr. Law, 803.

Copyright © 2004 New-York-Lawyer .WS