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Letter: Trump wants to disregard key tenets of Constitution

Trump wants to disregard key tenets of Constitution

Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president of the United States, is advocating torture. “Torture anyone who we suspect is aiding the enemy; we would get some useful information from them.”

I don’t know how many News readers are familiar with the works of Cesare Beccaria (1738-94). If not, I recommend that they read his book, “On Crimes and Punishments.” Beccaria argued against torture to extract information stating that, “the guilty man finds himself in a favorable situation; that is, if, as a consequence of having firmly resisted the torture, he is absolved as innocent, he will have escaped a greater punishment by enduring a lesser one.” Of innocent men who are tortured, he noted that they may confess to a crime they did not commit and “thus be forced to endure an undeserved sentence.”

Those who follow Trump in his thinking should also think about the Constitution. (They are always bringing it up, regarding the Second Amendment and freedom to own guns.) They should note that the Constitution and Bill of Rights do bear the strong imprint of Beccaria’s works in their emphasis on due process of law and the prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Thirty years after the publication of Beccaria’s works, most of Europe’s legal system adopted the banning of torture. One such document was the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” in France. Do we disregard this section of our Constitution if Trump is elected? Think about it.

Michael Giallombardo

Buffalo