Peine forte et dure legal definition of Peine forte et dure
Peine forte et dure
Also found in: Encyclopedia
PEINE FORTE ET DURE, Eng. law A punishment formerly inflicted in England, on
a person who, being arraigned of felony, refused to plead and put himself on
his trial, and stubbornly stood mute. He was to be laid down and as much
weight was to be put upon him as he could bear, and more, until he died.
This barbarous punishment has been abolished. Vide Mute.
References in classic literature
The proceedings seemed to have come to a definite end so far as he was concerned; for one had only to look at that granite face to realize that no peine forte et dure
would ever force him to plead against his will.
In those days, such an act spawned a judgement called "peine forte et dure
" or "dreaded press".
Clitherow, the wife of a butcher from York's Shambles, was put to death by the state by the especially horrible method of peine forte et dure
. In other words, she was crushed to death.