The Sanhedrin existed at a time and in such a society when people were in attainment of the Creator. Therefore, trials and sentences were compensation for the fact that a person stumbled in relation to himself, and could have not stumbled.
The Sanhedrin’s decision was like a recommendation to a person about what to do to ascend spiritually. It was only about spiritual crimes. Therefore, if in the 70 years of the Sanhedrin’s existence (once in 70 years they were assessed as existing) at least one death sentence was passed, then this Sanhedrin was considered cruel, a fiend of hell.
Can you imagine? Once in 70 years! This is only in case when they came to the conclusion that nothing could be done with this person, it was impossible to somehow influence him. But in practice there were no such cases, there was always an opportunity to correct a person.
In those days, there was no death penalty, although the Torah mentions stoning, strangulation, beheading, and so on. All of this is purely theoretical. There was nothing really like that except correction in the right society.
A person should not be isolated from good society but placed there so that he has nowhere to escape. Then he will have no other choice but to pull himself up to the level of this society.
From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Outlaw” 12/19/10