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How does beis din ever put anyone to death over a Shabbat violation, what is stopping the defendant from simply saying “it was a melacha she’aino trizcha legufo” or “it was a Davar sheino miskaven” and therefore he should be patur?

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    What’s stopping anyone from saying in general “I didn’t realize it’s forbidden?” Death penalty is only meted out in a specific scenario: where witnesses warn him properly, and the perpetrator says “I know and I am doing this specifically because it’s forbidden” and proceeds to do the act, all within a span of about five seconds. – DonielF Jun 26 '20 at 14:25
  • The Yam Shel Shlomo Bava Kamma 8:23 says that someone who punches another on Shabbos doesn't get the death penalty unless he tells the witnesses that he's doing it weaken the guy, or to extract blood to feed his dog. Otherwise, it's a melacha sheaino tzricha legufah, and he's exempt. – robev Jun 26 '20 at 15:05
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Rambam Hilchot Sanhedrin 12:2 rules that a death penalty is only ever imposed (in any case) if the defendant was warned immediately prior to committing the act, and verbalized that he is going to do so regardless, and that he understands that as a consequence he is going to be killed.

As such, neither of the claims you suggest in the question would be likely to be effective.

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  • See my comment above – robev Jun 26 '20 at 15:05

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