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Benefit Of Clergy

English Law: Benefit of Clergy in the Past

An exemption of the punishment of death which the laws impose on the commission of certain crimes, on the culprit demanding it. By modern statute’s, benefit of clergy was rather a substitution of a more mild punishment for the punishment of death.


It was lately granted, not only to the clergy, as was formerly the case, but to all people. The benefit of clergy seems never to have been extended to the crime of high treason, nor to have embraced misdemeanors inferior to felony. Vide 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 667 to 668 4 Bl. Com. ch. 28. But this privilege improperly given to the clergy, because they had more learning than others) is now abolished by stat. 7 Geo. IV. c. 28, s. 6.


By the Act of Congress of April 30, 1790, it is given, 30, that the benefit of clergy must not be used or allowed, upon conviction of any crime, for which, by any statute of the United States of America, the punishment is or must be declared to be, death. [1]


Notes and References

  1. Partialy, this information about benefit of clergy is based on the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, 1848 edition. There is a list of terms of the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, including benefit of clergy.

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Benefit Of Clergy
  • Author: Sonny Morales
  • Description: English Law: Benefit of Clergy in the Past An exemption of the punishment of death which the laws impose on the commission [...]

This entry was last updated: August 24, 2020



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