This is from another thread: The death sentence was given under Jewish law for certain things, like murder, witchcraft/sorcery, and adultery. The law came from God. So my answer to who determines the justification is: God. Most people quote "thou shlat not kill" and think that there is never an instance where killing someone else is justified. This is not the case. As far as Jesus being a liberal... well, spillmind, the ball is in your court on that one.