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"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Lev. 19:18) applies even to criminals, so that the suffering accompanying execution must be relieved in every possible way.  The time between sentencing and execution must be minimized, and mutilation of the body must be minimized as much as possible.
- Wilhelm Bacher and Lewis N. Dembitz, Capital Punishment,  Jewish Encyclopedia (1901), at http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=128&letter=C.