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"Death sentence" and "death penalty" were common names for the capital punishment of execution — the state-sanctioned death of an individual for crimes of an especially grave nature, such as murder or treason. Sometimes, especially in Earth's past, or in places without clear governmental structures, it could be carried out against people for less profound crimes, or even for no substantive reason at all.
On Earth, it was a divisive issue. Some people, such as the Briton Professor Kettering, believed that the death penalty was a backwards conception of justice. (TV: The Mind of Evil) To the contrary, many Americans in Jacksonville, Kentucky on "Miracle Day" fully believed that the rapist and murderer Oswald Danes should not have been paroled after his death by lethal injection failed. (TV: The New World)
Indeed, there was a general divide between the British and American viewpoints on the issue. The death penalty was abolished in the United Kingdom at least by the late 20th century, whereas it was still an acceptable punishment in at least the state of Kentucky as late as the year 2011. (TV: The Mind of Evil, TV: The New World)
The death penalty was finally all but abolished by the humans at the very least by the 5th millennium, because of the belief that even the worst of criminals might change their way of thinking. (AUDIO: Davros)
In the 15th century, Ian Chesterton was framed for attacking the Aztec High Priest of Knowledge Autloc while finding a way back to the TARDIS. He escaped his imprisonment before he could be executed. (TV: "The Day of Darkness")
In the 16th century, the nine-day queen, Lady Jane Grey was quietly executed by the new queen, Mary I at the Tower of London, following months of Jane being locked up. (TV: Lost in Time, PROSE: The Nine-Day Queen) Later, following a performance of William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Won in the Globe Theatre, Mary's sister, Elizabeth I. called for the Tenth Doctor's head, but the Doctor escaped in his TARDIS. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)
Following this, Guy Fawkes and his anti-parliament group were executed after they were caught trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament. (PROSE: The Plotters) After the Roundheads emerged victorious from the English Civil War, they beheaded King Charles I. (PROSE: The Roundheads)
In the year 4000, Mavic Chen and Karlton were sentenced to execution for high treason when a message by Marc Cory revealed they had been conspiring with the Daleks against Earth, although Chen was already dead before this was discovered. (PROSE: The Mutation of Time)
It was applied at least until the presidency previous to the Fourth Doctor's one (TV: The Deadly Assassin) but, by the time of Borusa's presidency, capital punishment was said to had long been abolished. (TV: Arc of Infinity)
The death penalty on Gallifrey was sometimes effected through a "Warrant of Termination". One was served on the Fifth Doctor. In that instance, however, he wasn't threatened with death (through molecular dispersal) because of any actual wrongdoing, but because he had become controlled by a malevolent entity that posed a grave risk to the entire universe. (TV: Arc of Infinity)
There existed a far worse death penalty for Gallifreyans, and sometimes offworlders, which was the Oubliette of Eternity where you were not only killed but your whole life was removed from the Web of Time, and, unknown to the Time Lords, became Neverpeople. This was the preferred method of sentencing death by the Celestial Intervention Agency. (AUDIO: Neverland)
Eldrad was sentenced to death for his destruction of the spatial barriers which exposed Kastria to solar winds. He was consigned to an obliteration module which was detonated prematurely, an nineteen spans, not twenty-five, due to fears that the winds would sever control over the craft. As a result, parts of Eldrad survived and were scattered across space. (TV: The Hand of Fear, AUDIO: Eldrad Must Die!)
Death penalty was used by the Raxacoricofallapatorians. The Slitheen family, for instance, were tried and sentenced to death in absentia. The Ninth Doctor, who had captured Blon Fel-Fotch in Cardiff and wanted to extradite her back to Raxacoricofallapatorius, was faced with the moral dilemma of whether he could become, in effect, her executioner. (TV: Boom Town) Later, in 2009, members of the Slitheen-Blathereen family apprehended two other Slitheen, teleporting them on board their ship to send to Raxacoricofallapatorius for execution. Other members of the Slitheen were said to have been "brought to justice". (TV: The Gift)
The Judoon H2O scooped Royal Hope Hospital off of the Earth and onto the Moon to execute Florence Finnegan, who had murdered the Child Princess of Padrivole Regency 9. While searching for Florence, they quickly tried a human for assaulting them, executing him on the spot. (TV: Smith and Jones)
As part of an agreement, the Master was sent to Skaro by the Time Lords and subsequently tried and executed by the Daleks, though he survived in the body of a Deathworm. (TV: Doctor Who, PROSE: The Eight Doctors) Similarly, the being known as the Wire evaded its physical execution by transferring its consciousness into electrical energy. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern) In certain cultures, such as the Daleks, leaders would punish the failure of their subordinates with execution. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan, Planet of the Daleks, COMIC: The Threat from Beneath, The Dalek Revenge, PROSE: Prisoner of the Daleks) however Daleks executed their leaders for failure. On orbit of Ecros, two Daleks killed the Dalek Commander for failure and a Dalek drone killed a Dalek Strategist for failing to ensure the safety on Weston's base. (COMIC: The Dalek Revenge, The Only Good Dalek)
Jack Harkness was once sentenced to death, but after consuming some hypervodkas as a last request, ended up in bed with both his executioners instead of being executed. He later compared his ship containing a German bomb about to explode with no chance of escape to this sentence. (TV: The Doctor Dances)
On board Skybase One, before Professor Jaeger interrupted him, the Marshal of Solos sentenced Stubbs and Cotton (for treason), Ky (for conspiracy, sabotage and terrorism) and Jo Grant (for unspecified crimes), to death by firing squad. (TV: The Mutants)
Red Rocket Rising had no death penalty. After seeing what he thought was Asha Gryvern walk free after her escort vehicle crashed, Lowell told the Eighth Doctor, "If only we had the death penalty." (AUDIO: Blood of the Daleks)