by Phyllis Irene Radford
Policemen and courts are supposed to be above corruption. Aren’t they? We know that Hollywood takes liberties with police shows and depicts rogue cops faking evidence to bring low a criminal who didn’t commit that crime but did commit others which can’t be proven. Or how about the DA who has a grudge against his ex-wife’s new boyfriend and invents a case against him?
All fiction, of course. Isn’t it?
We can pretend this doesn’t happen and didn’t have a long standing precedent that King John and his barons tried to correct. Did they succeed?
38. No bailiff for the future shall, upon his own unsupported complaint, put any one to his “law,” without credible witnesses brought for this purpose.
You have to have evidence that a crime was committed and evidence or credible testimony that the accused committed the crime. That’s the way the system is supposed to work.
This is tied to the previous clause.
39. No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
A few weeks ago in episode #14 we discussed William de Briouze whose only crime seemed to be earning the king’s displeasure. He went into exile and lost everything. His wife and son disappeared, probably into an oubliette.
Imprisonment and forfeiture without formal charges and speedy trial are not supposed to happen today either. A lot of people are pretending that Guantanamo doesn’t exist. How many prisoners have been there 10 years or more without a trial?
40. To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.
Our constitution also grants the right to a speedy trial. Today, trial delays are often manufactured so that potential jurors can forget the media frenzy around the crime. It works both ways.
For the entire Magna Carta, you may go here: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/magnacarta.asp
For a more scholarly analysis of the Charter and its relevance to modern life: http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/magna-carta.htm
Phyllis Irene Radford is a founding member of the Book View Café. She first became interested in the Magna Carta while researching her master work series “Merlin’s Descendants.” Book View Café is proud to reissue these five volumes in a variety of DRM free e-book formats. You can read more about the author on her her bookshelf: http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/bvc-author/phyllis-irene-radford/
The first book in the series, “Guardian of the Balance” can be found here: http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/guardian-of-the-balance/ and the final volume “Guardian of the Freedom” is new to the bookstore http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/guardian-of-the-freedom/