1. The punishment of persons suspected of crime without due process of law.
2. After William Lynch (died 1820)
源自威廉 林奇 （卒于1820年）
3. “Whereas, many of the inhabitants of Pittsylvania . . . have sustained great and intolerable losses by a set of lawless men . . . that . . . have hitherto escaped the civil power with impunity . . . we, the subscribers, being determined to put a stop to the iniquitous practices of those unlawful and abandoned wretches, do enter into the following association . . . upon hearing or having sufficient reason to believe that any . . . species of villany [has] been committed within our neighborhood, we will forthwith . . . repair immediately to the person or persons suspected . . . and if they will not desist from their evil practices, we will inflict such corporeal punishment on him or them, as to us shall seem adequate to the crime committed or the damage sustained . . . In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands, this 22nd day of September 1780.” These are the words of a compact drawn up by Captain William Lynch and a group of his neighbors. At the time, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, was troubled by its “set of lawless men.” The courts were too distant to deal with them, so it was agreed to punish criminals without due process of law. Both the practice and the punishment came to be called lynch law after Captain Lynch. Although lynch law and lynching are mainly associated with hanging, other, less severe punishments were used. William Lynch died in 1820, and the inscription on his grave notes that “he followed virtue as his truest guide.” But the good captain, who certainly hadn't invented vigilante justice, yet had tried to justify it, was sentenced to the disgrace of having given his name to the terrible practice of lynching.
“由于许多皮采法尼亚的居民…因一群无法无天的人承受了巨大的难以忍受的损失…而这些人至今仍逍遥法外…，因此我们这些签约人决心制止这些违法暴徒的罪恶行径，制定以下协议…凡听说或有充足证据证明有人在我们附近犯了任何恶行，我们将立即对怀疑人进行处理…如果他们不停止其罪恶行径，我们将对其进行人身惩罚，这种惩罚将与其所犯罪行和造成的损害相当…黄天在上，举手为誓，1780年9月22日。”这些话是从威廉·林奇上尉和他的一群邻居签定的协议上节录的。当时，弗吉尼亚州的皮采法尼亚县为“一群无法无法天的人”所困扰。法院对他们鞭长莫及，所以人们约定不经过正当法律程序就来惩罚罪犯。这种作法和惩罚被称为林奇法 ，以林奇上尉的名字命名。 林奇法和其它私刑主要是绞刑，但也有较轻的处罚。威廉·林奇死于1820年，他的墓志铭上写道“他把美德作为最真诚的向导 。”但是这个好心肠的上尉虽不是私刑法的发明者，却试图使之合法化，结果使他的名字与这种可怕的私刑联系起来