Last week, I had the dubious honor of serving as a panel member on a Military Court-Martial. The trial lasted 4 days and we were sequestered (hence the lack of posts last week). Upon conclusion of closing remarks we were dismissed to the deliberation room to reach a verdict. Our verdict was to consider each individual charge and each separate specification (count) of each charge separately, with a guilty or not guilty determination being made in respect to each. In this way the Plaintiff could be acquitted of some charges, or counts of a charge yet be found guilty of others (not an “all or nothing” proposition). The verdict, once reached and delivered to the court, then determined the sentencing guidelines and deliberation began anew as to what punitive measures would be taken (if at all).
Leaving aside the particulars of the actual case, the plaintiff was found guilty on 5 counts each of 2 separate charges (acquitted on 1 count each of the same charges). The evidence was conclusive, guilt was apparent, all that remained was to determine the fate such a finding warranted. With all the charges piled up against them, one would expect a military panel to hang ‘em out to dry. Rather the opposite occurred; with the guilty verdict delivered, we (the panel) felt the message had been conveyed and so adjudicated the punitive measures rather leniently (at least in terms of maximum allowable sentencing). While there was still a reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and allowances for a specified time, and a term of confinement (measured in days not years- to give you an idea), there was nothing career ending or permanently detrimental to the Soldier: a speed bump on the road of life, not a brick wall.
I think the death penalty in WoW should and does function much the same way. The fact that you are a ghost with a bright white screen is the guilty verdict, message conveyed. The time spent on corpse runs (confinement), gold spent on repairs (forfeiture of pay and allowances), and reset of a mob’s health (reduction in rank, relative to the progress you made before you died) is the sentence; punishment enough.