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Aztec Criminal Law

Jose Garcia Jr.

Gaspar Vargas
Allan Tlatoa
What is Aztec Criminal Law?

• Aztec society believed in obedience,

honesty, politeness, respect,
moderation, modesty and energy

• Anything against this was considered

a crime

• Crime could be found either at home

or out in society


Prison Systems
• Cuauhcalli (a "death row")

• The Teilpiloyan (a debtors’ prison)

• The Petlacalli (a prison for individuals who were found guilty of minor
 Conditions in the petlacalli were so harsh that many prisoners died while in custody
• Three different courts • Emperor could take any decision
 1st-crimes committed by  held trials ever 12 days
ordinary people  selected the superior judge who
 2nd-judges in superior court elected the other judges
that were in charge of dealing  judge position lasted for life
with appeals and judgments of
warriors and nobles
 3rd-supreme court with judges
able to deal with special cases
and concerning the empire
 Final decision in the Supreme
Court by Chief Justice
Minor Crimes & Punishments
• Public intoxication.

• Punishment: 1st Offense: Shaved Head, House Destroyed,

• 2nd Offense: Death

• (Excluding the Elders)

• Minor Theft

• Put into Slavery til debt was paid.

Punishments by Death
• Adultery - Stoned to Death

• Major Theft -Death by Strangulation

• Homicide- was punishable by death regardless of

the circumstances unless the family of the dead
forgave them, therefore the murderer became a
permanent slave of the victim's family.

• Rape

• Selling Stolen Property - Death by strangulation

• Witchcraft

• Treason - execution by being dragged through the

streets until he died
Punishing the Young
• Children under the age of 10 would usually be forgiven for oversleeping, mumbling, and dressing

• At age 9 children would be pierced by spines

• Taken to court by the parents for serious crimes

 Beatings
 Disinheritance
 Death

• Age 12 children would be punish in different ways

 lying naked and bound
 held directly over smoking chillies

• Children of nobility sentenced to death

 Disrespectful
 Cowardly
 Wasteful