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without leave from the king; he by this means saved his life, if he [333] observed the conditions of the oath, by going with a cross in his hand, and with all 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 (a). 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 (c). 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 (2).

I proceed, therefore, to the five species of pleas before mentioned.

I. A plea to the jurisdiction, is where an indictment is taken before a court that hath no cognizance of the offence; 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 except to the jurisdiction of the court, without answering at all to the crime alleged (d) (3).

II. A demurrer to the indictment. This is incident to criminal [334] cases, as well as civil, when the fact 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 were indicted for feloniously stealing a greyhound; which is an animal in which no valuable property can be had, and 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 (e), 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 (ƒ), 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 (4). Which appears the more reasonable, because it is clear, that if the prisoner freely discovers the

(a) Mirr. c. 1. 13. 2 Hawk. P. C. 335. (b) 2 Hawk, P. C. 52.

(c) 2 Hal. P. C. 236.

(2) Benefit of clergy is abolished in all cases of felony by 7 and 8 Geo. IV. c. 28. 6.

(3) An affidavit of the truth of the plea must be made.

In some cases the defendant may take advantage of the want of jurisdiction, under the plea of not guilty; as where a statute directs the offence shall be tried only within a certain boundary, or by certain magistrates 1 East,

(d) Ibid. 256.

(e) 2 Hal. P. C. 257.

(f) 2 Hawk. P. C. 334.

352; or where the objection proves, that no court in England can try the indictment, 6 East, 583; and an objection to the jurisdiction, apparent on the face of the proceedings, may be taken advantage of on demurrer. 1 T. R. 316.

(4) This rule holds good in indictments for felonies, but not for misdemeanors. 8 East, 112.

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 (g). 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 (5) is principally for a misnomer, a wrong name, or false addition to the prisoner. As, if James Allen, gentleman, is indicted by 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 indict- [335] ment shall be abated, as writs or declarations may be in civil actions; of which we spoke at large in the preceding book (h) (6). 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 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 acquittal, a former conviction, a former attainder, or a pardon. There are many other pleas, which may be pleaded in bar of an appeal (i); but these are applicable to both appeals and indictments.

1. First, the plea of autrefoits acquit (7), 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 (j), he may plead such acquittal in bar of any subsequent accusation for the same crime (8).

(g) 2 Hal. P. C. 225.

(h) See Book III. page 302.

(i) 2 Hawk. P. C. ch. 23.
(j) 3 Mod. 194.


(5) An affidavit of the truth of the plea must 3 B. and C. 502. And if it is irregularly pleadbe filed, 4 & 5 Ann. c. 16. s. 11.

See also 2 R. S. 731, § 71. (6) These defects are cured in England by 7 Geo. IV. c. 64, ◊ 19; and in New-York, by 2 R. S. 728, 52.

(7) As to this plea in general, see 1 Chit. C. L. 2 ed. 452 to 461. 2 Hale, 240 to 250. Hawk. b. 2. c. 35. Com. Dig. Indictment, L. Burn J. Indictment, XI. 4 to 45. and see the notes on the precedents of that plea, in 4 Chit. Cr. L. 2 ed.

(8) But such a plea must be strictly regular both in form and substance; for, in cases of misdemeanor, if it is held bad on demurrer, final judgment may be entered up against the defendant. Rex v. Taylor, 5 D. and R. 422;

ed, and the acquittal which it sets forth appears to have been obtained by collusion, the court will strike the plea off the file. Rex v. Taylor, 5 D. and R. 521; 3 B. and C. 612. A plea of autrefois acquit cannot be pleaded unless the facts charged in the second indictment, would, if true, have sustained the first. Rex v. Vandercomb, 2 East, P. C. 519. If, in a plea of autrefoits acquit, the prisoner were to insist on two distinct records of acquittal, his plea would be bad for duplicity. But semble, that if he insisted upon the wrong, the court would, in a capital case, take care that he did not suffer by it. Rex v. Sheen, 2 C. and P. 635. And if the prisoner could have been legally convicted on the first indictment

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fore an acquittal on an appeal is 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 [*336] 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 that 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 (9), or a former conviction for the same identical crime, though no judgment 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 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 crime. 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 abjuration; 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 ratione, cessat et ipsa ler. As, [*337] 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 felonies 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

(k) 2 Hawk. P. C. 373.
(1) 2 Hawk. P. C. 377.

upon any evidence that might have been adduced, his acquittal on that indictment may be successfully pleaded to a second indiotment; and it is immaterial whether the proper evidence was adduced at the trial of the first indictment or not. Id. ibid. A prisoner indicted for felony may plead not guilty after his special

(m) Ibid. 375.

plea of autrefois acquit has been found against him. Rex v. Welch, Car. Cr. L. 56.

(9) As to this plea in general, see I Chit. C. L. 462, 3. 2 Hale, 251 to 255. Hawk. b. 2. c. 36. s. 10 to 17. Burn J. Indictment, XI.

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 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 accessaries, 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 accessaries to such second felony cannot be convicted till after the conviction of the principal (n). And from these instances we may collect that a plea of autrefoits attaint is never good, but when a second trial would be quite superfluous (o) (10).

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 calculated 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 prosecu tion; and they have their respective force and efficacy, as well after as before conviction, outlawry, or attainder; I shall there- [*338] fore reserve the more minute considerations 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 vitae, as well upon appeal as indictment, when a prisoner's plea in bar is found against him upon issue tried by a jury, or adjudged against him in point of law by the court; still he shall not be concluded or convicted thereon, but shall have judgment of respondeat ouster, and may plead over to the felony the general issue, not guilty (p). For the law allows many pleas, by which a prisoner may escape death; but only one plea, in consequence whereof it can be inflicted; viz. on the general issue, after an impartial examination and decision of the fact, by the unanimous verdict of a jury (11). It remains therefore that I consider, V. The general issue, or plea of not guilty (q), upon which plea alone

(n) Poph. 107.

(0) Staund. P. C. 107.

(10) By the 7 and 8 G. IV. c. 28, s. 4, it is enacted that no plea setting forth any attainder, shall be pleaded in bar of any indictment, unless the attainder be for the same offence as that charged in the indictment: by which enactinent the plea of autrefois attaint seems to be at an end.

In New-York there is no attainder.

(p) 2 Hal. P. C. 239.
(q) See Appendix, ◊ 1,

(11) But this is confined to cases of felony; a defendant having pleaded in bar in all cases of misdemeanor, is precluded from the benefit of the plea of not guilty, if the plea of bar should be found insufficient, 8 East, 107. 1 M. & S. 184. 3 B. & C. 502. 2 B. & C. 512, unless on demurrer. Term. P. C. 189. 6 East, 583. 602. See ante, 335, note 8.

the prisoner can receive his final judgment of death. In case of an indictment of felony or treason, there can be no special justification put in by way of plea. As, on an indictment for murder, a man cannot plead that it was in his own defence against a robber on the highway, or a burglar; but he must plead the general issue, not guilty, and give this special matter in evidence. For (besides that these pleas do in effect amount to the general

issue; since, if true, the prisoner is most clearly not guilty) as the [*339] facts in treason are laid to be done proditorie et contra ligeantiae suae debitum, and, in felony, that the killing was done felonice; these charges, of a traitorous or felonious intent, are the points and very gist of the indictment, and must be answered directly, by the general negative, not guilty; and the jury upon the evidence will take notice of any defensive matter, and give there verdict accordingly, as effectually as if it were, or could be, specially pleaded. So that this is, upon all accounts, the most advantageous plea for the prisoner (r) (12).

When the prisoner hath thus pleaded not guilty, non culpabilis, or nient culpable; which was formerly used to be abbreviated upon the minutes, thus, "non (or nient) cul.," the clerk of the assise, or clerk of the arraigns, on behalf of the crown, replies, that the prisoner is guilty, and that he is ready to prove him so. This is done by two monosyllables in the same spirit of abbreviation, " cul. prit." which signifies first that the prisoner is guilty (cul. culpable, or culpabilis), and then that the king is ready to prove him so; prit praesto sum, or paratus verificare. This is therefore a replication on behalf of the king viva voce at the bar; which was formerly the course in all pleadings, as well in civil as in criminal causes. And that was done in the concisest manner: for when the pleader intended to demur, he expressed his demurrer in a single word, "judgment;" signifying that he demanded judgment, whether the writ, declaration, plea, &c. either in form or matter, were sufficiently good in law and if he meant to rest on the truth of the facts pleaded, he expressed that also in a single syllable, "prît;" signifying that he was ready to prove his assertions: as may be observed from the year-books and other ancient repositories of law (s). By this replication the king and the prisoner are therefore at issue; for we may remember, in our strictures upon pleadings, in the preceding book (t). it was observed, that when the parties come to a fact, which is affirmed on one side and denied on the other, then they are said to be at issue [*340] in point of fact: which is evidently the case here, in the plea of non cul. by the prisoner; and the replication of cul. by the clerk. And we may also remember, that the usual conclusion of all affirmative pleadings, as this of cul. or guilty is, was by an averment in these words, "and this he is ready to verify; et hoc paratus est verificare;" which same thing is here expressed by the single word "prît."

How our courts came to express a matter of this importance in so odd

(r) 2 Hal. P. C. 258.

(s) North's Life of Lord Guildford, 98.

(12) In cases of indictments or informations for misdemeanors, the above rule, as to plead ing the general issue, does not apply with the same degree of strictness; for there are some cases where a special plea is not only allow able, but even requisite. Thus, if the defendant fall within any exception or proviso, which is not contained in the purview of the statute creating the offence, he may, by plead

(t) See Book III. page 312

ing, shew that he is entitled to the benefit of that exception, or proviso; and there are many pleas of this description in the ancient entries. 2 Leach, 606. But the principal, and indeed almost the only cases, in which special pleas to the merits are necessary, are in the case of indictments for neglecting to repair highways and bridges. As to these, see in general, 1 Chit. C. L. 473 to 477.

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