"Judges, in criminal cases, have no right to interpret the penal laws, because they are not legislators. . . . In every criminal cause the judge should reason syllogistically. The major should be the general law; the minor, the conformity of the action, or its opposition to the laws; the conclusion, liberty, or punishment. If the judge be obliged by the imperfection of the laws, or choose, to make any other, or more syllogisms than this, it will be an introduction to uncertainty. There is nothing more dangerous than the common axiom: the spirit of the laws is to be considered. . . . The spirit of the laws will then be the result of the good, or bad logic of the judge; and this will depend on his good or bad digestion; on the violence of his passions; on the rank, and condition of the accused, or on his connections with the judge; and on all those little circumstances, which change the appearance of objects in the fluctuating mind of man."
beccaria - determinate sentencing