Of Evidence and the Proofs of a Crime, and of the Form of Judgment.


  The following general theorem is of great use determining the certainty of a fact. When the proofs of a crime are dependent on each other, that is, when the evidence of each witness, taken separately, proves nothing, or when all the proofs are dependent upon one, the number of proofs neither increase nor diminish the probability of the fact; foe the force of the whole is no greater than the force of that on which they depend, and if this fails, they all fall to the ground. When the proofs are independent on each other, the probability of the fact increases in proportion to the number of proofs; for the falsehood of the one does not diminish the veracity of another.

  It may seem extraordinary that I speak of probability with regard to crimes, which to deserve a punishment, must be certain. But this paradox will vanish when it is considered, that, strictly speaking, moral certainty is only probability, but which is called a certainty, because every man in his senses assents to it from an habit produced by the necessity of acting, and which is anterior to all speculation. That certainty which is necessary to decide that the accused is guilty is the very same which determines every man in the most important transactions of his life.

  The proofs of a crime may be divided into two classes, perfect and imperfect. I call those perfect which exclude the possibility of innocence; imperfect, those which do not exclude this possibility. Of the first, one only is sufficient for condemnation; of the second, as many are required as form a perfect proof; that is to say, that though each of these, separately taken, does not exclude the possibility of innocence, it is nevertheless excluded by their union. It should be also observed, that the imperfect proofs, of which the accused, if innocent, might clear himself, and does not become perfect.

  But it is much easier to feel this moral certainty of proofs than to define it exactly. For this reason, I think it an excellent law which establishes assistants to the principal judge, and those chosen by lot; for that ignorance which judges by its feelings is less subject to error than the knowledge or the laws which judges by opinion. Where the laws are clear and precise, the office of the judge is merely to ascertain the fact. If, in examining the proofs of a crime, acuteness and dexterity be required, if clearness and precision be necessary in summoning up the result, to judge of the result itself nothing is wanting but plain and ordinary good sense, a less fallacious guide than the knowledge, of a judge, accustomed to find guilty, and to reduce all things to an artificial system borrowed from his studies. Happy the nation where the knowledge of the law is not a science!

  It is an admirable law which ordains that every man shall be tried by his peers; for, when life, liberty and fortune, are in question, the sentiments which a difference of rank and fortune inspires should be silent; that superiority with which the fortunate look upon the unfortunate, and that envy with which the inferior regard their superiors, should have no influence. But when the crime is an offence against a fellow-subject, one half of the judges should be peers to the accused, and the other peers to the person offended: so that all private interest, which, in spite of ourselves, modifies the appearance of objects, even in the eyes of the most equitable, is counteracted, and nothing remains to turn aside the direction of truth and the laws. It is also just that the accused should have the liberty of excluding a certain number of his judges; where this liberty is, enjoyed for a long time, without any instance to the contrary, the criminal seems to condemn himself.

  All trials should be public, that opinion, which is the best, or perhaps the only cement of society, may curb the authority of the powerful, and the passions of the judge, and that the people may say, "We are protected by the laws; we are not slaves"; a sentiment which inspires courage, and which is the best tribute to a sovereign who knows his real interest. I shall not enter into particulars. There may be some persons who expect that I should say all that can be said upon this subject; to such what I have already written must be unintelligible.

上一篇:Of the Credibility of Witnesses.

下一篇:Of secret Accusations.



第二十章 工资的国民差异 - 来自《资本论(第一卷)》

在第十五章,我们考察了可以引起劳动力价值的绝对量或相 对量(即同剩余价值相比较的量)发生变化的种种组合的情况,而 另一方面,劳动力价格借以实现的生活资料量,又可以发生与这一 价格的变动无关(64)或不同的运动。我们已经说过,只要把劳动 力的价值或价格换成外在的工资形式,那里的一切规律就会转化 为工资运动的规律。在这一运动中表现为各种变动着的组合的情 况,对于不同的国家说来,会表现为国民工资的同时存在的差异。 因此,在比较国民工资时,必须考虑到决定劳动力的价值量的变化 的一切因素:自然的和历史地发展起来的首要的生活必……去看看 

2-05 你比你想象的要大得多 - 来自《与神对话》


第9篇 学校的问题在哪里? - 来自《弗里德曼文萃》

教育一直是美国梦想的一个重要组成部分。在清教徒的新英格兰,学校很快建立了起来。起初作为教会的附庸,而后为世俗的官方所接管。伊利运河通航之后,农民们离开了新英格兰的山区,来到富饶的中西部平原。他们在所到之处,建立起一所所学校。不仅建立了中、小学,还建立了大学和神学院。许多在十九世纪后半叶从大西洋彼岸来的移民,都渴望接受教育。大多数人在他们定居的主要都市和大城市内,都不轻易放过任何受教育的机会。   最初的学校是私立的,上学全凭自愿。渐渐地,政府开始发挥较大的作用。先是在财政上给予资助,继而是建立和管……去看看 

第11章 莱布尼兹 - 来自《西方哲学史(卷三)》

莱布尼兹(Leibniz,1646—1716)是一个千古绝伦的大智者,但是按他这个人来讲却不值得敬佩。的确,在一名未来的雇员的推荐书里大家希望提到的优良品质,他样样具备:   他勤勉,俭朴,有节制,在财务上诚实。但是他完全欠缺在斯宾诺莎身上表现得很显著的那些崇高的哲学品德。他的最精湛的思想并不是会给他博来声望的一种思想,那么他就把这类思想的记载束置高阁不发表。他所发表的都是蓄意要讨王公后妃们嘉赏的东西。结果,便有了两个可以认为代表莱布尼兹的哲学体系:他公开宣扬的一个体系讲乐观、守正统、玄虚离奇而又浅薄;另一个体系是相当……去看看 

前言 - 来自《法律的运作行为》