Better a thousand criminals go free

isadore

Well-known member
Original quote from Blackstone
It is better ten guilty persons escape punishment than one innocent suffer.
Is it number of guilty unlimited.
10
100
1000
infinite
?
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
Always wondered about that axiom. Never knew the original quote referred to only ten, though. I would think it becomes less valid the higher you go, and infinitely invalid for an infinite number. Let's go big and say we're talking about murderers, with execution as the "suffering". You execute the one innocent along with the ten guilty. If the ten would have been set free instead, and each killed afterward, you save ten lives while allowing the innocent one to die. Good trade? Does that mean Blackstone was wrong? Or do you give greater weight to the potential good to society the innocent person would provide if he and the guilty ones stay free - does that save more lives than the ten others who will be killed by the unpunished guilty ones?
 

isadore

Well-known member
Always wondered about that axiom. Never knew the original quote referred to only ten, though. I would think it becomes less valid the higher you go, and infinitely invalid for an infinite number. Let's go big and say we're talking about murderers, with execution as the "suffering". You execute the one innocent along with the ten guilty. If the ten would have been set free instead, and each killed afterward, you save ten lives while allowing the innocent one to die. Good trade? Does that mean Blackstone was wrong? Or do you give greater weight to the potential good to society the innocent person would provide if he and the guilty ones stay free - does that save more lives than the ten others who will be killed by the unpunished guilty ones?
you have interesting way to think of it.
I wondered at what point a society would reject a judicial system that let 10 or 100 or 1000 murderers go to prevent one innocent from suffering criminal punishment.
 
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