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convenient speed, to the port assigned, and embarking. For if, during this forty days privilege of sanctuary, or in his road to the sea-side, he was apprehended and arraigned in any court, for this felony, he might plead the privilege of sanctuary, and had a right to be remanded, if taken out against his will. But by this abjuration his blood was attainted, and he forfeited all his goods and chattels. The immunity of these privileged places was very much abridged by the statutes 27 Hen. VIII. c. 19. and 32 Hen. VIII. c. 12. And now, by the statute 21 Jac. I. c. 28. all privilege of sanctuary, and abjuration consequent thereupon, is utterly taken away and abolished.
Formerly also the benefit of clergy used to be pleaded before trial or conviction, and was called a declinatory plea; which was the name also given to that of sanctuary. But, as the prisoner upon a trial has a chance to be acquitted, and totally discharged; and, if convicted of a clergyable felony, is entitled equally to his clergy after as before conviction; this course is extremely disadvantageous: and therefore the benefit of clergy is now very rarely pleaded; but, if found requisite, is prayed by the convict before judgment is passed upon him.
I proceed, therefore, to the five species of pleas, beforementioned.
I, A plea to the jurisdiction, is where an indictment is taken before a court, that hath no cognizance of the of. fence; as if a man be indicted for a rape at the sheriff's tourn, or for treason at the quarter sessions: in these, or similar cases, he may ex to the jurisdiction of the court, without answering at all to the crime alleged.
II. A demurrer to the indictment. This is incident to criminal cases, as well as civil, when the fact as alleged is allowed to be true, but the prisoner joins issue upon some point of law in the indictment, by which he insists that the fact, as stated, is no felony, treason, or whatever the crime is alleged to be. Thus, for instance, if a man be indicted for feloniously stealing a greyhound; which is an animal in which no valuable property can be had, and
a Mirr. c. 1. § 13. 2 Hawk. P. C. 335.
2 Hawk. P.C. 52.
c 2 Hal. P. C. 236.
therefore it is not felony, but only a civil trespass, to steal it: in this case the party indicted may demur to the indictment; denying it to be felony, though he confesses the act of taking it. Some have held, that if, on demurrer, the point of law be adjudged against the prisoner, he shall have judgment and execution, as if convicted by verdict. But this is denied by others, who hold, that in such case he shall be directed and received to plead the general issue, not guilty, after a demurrer determined against him. Which appears the more reasonable, because it is clear, that if the prisoner freely discovers the fact in court, and refers it to the opinion of the court, whether it be felony or no; and upon the fact thus shewn it appears to be felony; the court will not record the confession, but admit him afterwards to plead not guilty. And this seems to be a case of the same nature, being for the most part a mistake in point of law, and in the conduct of his pleading; and, though a man by mispleading may in some cases lose his property, yet the law will not suffer him by such niceties to lose his life. However, upon this doubt, demurrers to indictments are seldom used : since the same advantages may be taken upon a plea of not guilty; or afterwards in arrest of judgment, when the verdict has established the fact.
III. A plea in abatement is principally for a misnosmer, a wrong name, or a false addition to the prisoner. As, if James Allen, gentleman, is indicted in the name of John Allen, esquire, he may plead that he has the name of James, and not of John; and that he is a gentleman, and not an esquire. And, if either fact is found by a jury, then the indictment shall be abated, as writs or declarations may be in civil actions; of which we spoke at large in the preceding volume. But, in the end, there is little advantage accruing to the prisoner by means of these dilatory pleas; because, if the exception be allowed, a new bill of indictment may be framed, according to what the prisoner in his plea avers to be his true name and addition. For it is a rule, upon all pleas in abatement, that he, who takes advantage of a flaw, must at the same time
e 2 Hal. P. C. 257.
8 2 Hal. P. C. 225.
shew how it may be amended. Let us therefore next consider a more substantial kind of plea, viz.
IV. Special pleas in bar; which go to the merits of the indictment, and give a reason why the prisoner ought not to answer it at all, nor put himself upon his trial for the crime alleged. These are of four kinds: a former acquit. tal, a former conviction, a former attainder, or a pardon. There are many other pleas, which may be pleaded in bar of an appeal ; but these are applicable to both appeals and indictments.
1. First, the plea of autrefoits acquit, or a former acquittal, is grounded on this universal maxim of the common law of England, that no man is to be brought into jeopardy of his life, more than once, for the same offence. And hence it is allowed as a consequence, that when a man is once fairly found not guilty upon any indictment, or other prosecution, before any court having competent jurisdiction of the offence, he may plead such acquittal in bar of any subsequent accusation for the same crime. Therefore an acquittal on an appeal is a good bar to an indictment on the same offence. And so also was an acquittal on an indictment a good bar to an appeal, by the common law:k and therefore, in favour of appeals, a general practice was introduced, not to try any person on an indictment of homicide, till after the year and day, within which appeals may be brought, were past; by which time it often happened that the witnesses died, or the whole was forgotten. To remedy which inconvenience, the statute 3 Hen. VII. c. 1. enacts, that indictments shall be proceeded on, immediately, at the king's suit, for the death of a man, without waiting for bringing an appeal : and the plea of autrefoits acquit on an indictment, shall be no bar to the prosecuting of any appeal.
2. Secondly, the plea of autrefoits convict, or a former conviction for the same identical crime, though no judge ment was ever given, or perhaps will be, being suspended by the benefit of clergy or other causes, is a good plea in bar to an indictment. And this depends upon the same principle as the former, that no man ought to be twice
h 2 Hawk. P. C. ch. 23. i 3 Mod. 194.
2 Hawk. P. C. 373.
brought in danger of his life for one and the same crime. Hereupon it has been held, that a conviction of manslaughter, on an appeal or an indictment, is a bar even in another appeal, and much more in an indictment, of murder; for the fact prosecuted is the same in both, though the offences differ in colouring and in degree. It is to be observed, that the pleas of autrefoits acquit and autrefoits convict, or a former acquittal, and former conviction, must be upon a prosecution for the same identical act and erime. But the case is otherwise, in
3. Thirdly, the plea of autrefoits attaint, or a former attainder; which is a good plea in bar, whether it be for the same or any other felony. For wherever a man is attainted of felony, by judgment of death either upon a verdict or confession, by outlawry, or heretofore by abjura. tion; and whether upon an appeal or an indictment; he may plead such attainder in bar to any subsequent indictment or appeal, for the same or for any other felony.m And this because, generally, such proceeding on a second prosecution cannot be to any purpose: for the prisoner is dead in law by the first attainder, his blood is already corrupted, and he hath forfeited all that he had: so that it is absurd and superfluous to endeavour to attaint him a second time. But to this general rule, however, as to all others, there are some exceptions; wherein, cessante rątione, cessat et ipsa lex. As, 1. Where the former attainder is reversed for error, for then it is the same as if it had never been. And the same reason holds, where the attainder is reversed by parliament, or the judgment vacated by the king's pardon, with regard to felovies committed afterwards. 2. Where the attainder was upon indictment, such attainder is no bar to an appeal: for the prior sentence is pardonable by the king; and if that might be pleaded in bar of the appeal, the king might in the end defeat the suit of the subject, by suffering the prior sentence to stop the prosecution of a second, and then, when the time of appealing is elapsed, granting the delinquent a pardon. 3. An attainder in felony is no bar to an indictment of treason : because not only the judgment and manner of death are different, but the forfeiture
1 2 Hawk. P. C. 377.
m Ibid. 375,
is more extensive, and the land goes to different persons. 4. Where a person attainted of one felony, is afterwards indicted as principal in another, to which there are also accessories, prosecuted at the same time; in this case it is held, that the plea of autrefoits attaint is no bar, but he shall be compelled to take his trial, for the sake of public justice; because the accessories to such second felony cannot be convicted till after the conviction of the principal." And from these instances we may collect that the plea of autrefoits attaint is never good, but when second trial would be quite superfluous.
4. Lastly, a pardon may be pleaded in bar; as at once destroying the end and purpose of the indictment, by remitting that punishment, which the prosecution is calcu, lated to inflict. There is one advantage that attends pleading a pardon in bar, or in arrest of judgment, before sentence is past; which gives it by much the preference to pleading it after sentence or attainder. This is, that by stopping the judgment it stops the attainder, and prevents the corruption of the blood : which, when once corrupted by attainder, cannot afterwards be restored, otherwise than by act of parliament. But as the title of pardons is applicable to other stages of prosecution; and they have their respective force and efficacy, as well after as before conviction, outlawry, or attainder: I shall therefore reserve the more minute consideration of them, till I have gone through every other title except only that of execution.
Before I conclude this head of special pleas in bar, it will be necessary once more to observe; that though in civil actions, when a man has his election what plea in bar to make, he is concluded by that plea, and cannot resort to another if that be determined against him; (as if, on action of debt, the defendant pleads a general release, and no such release can be proved, he cannot afterwards plead the general issue, nil debet, as he might at first : for he has made his election what plea to abide by, and it was his own folly to choose a rotten defence;) though, I say, this strictness is observed in civil actions, quia interest reipublicæ ut sit finis litium: yet in criminal prosecutions in favorem vitæ, as well upon appeal as indietinent, when a prisoner's plea in bar is found against him upon issue tried
Staund. P. C. 107.