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1 Hawk. c. 1.
Jdeots and Lunatics. "HE" guilt of offending against any law whatsoever,
necessarily supposing a wilful disobedience, can never be justly imputed to those who are either incapable of undertanding it, or of conforming themselves to it.
Hence ideots and lunatics, who are under a natural difability of distinguishing between good and evil, are not punishable by any criminal prosecution whatsoever. I Hawk.
An ideot is a fool or madman from his nativity, and Ideocy. one who never has any lucid intervals. Co. Lit. 247. a.
Therefore a person that is born deaf and dumb is in presumption of law an ideot, and the rather because he hath no possibility to understand what is forbidden
by law or under what penalties'. Hale's Hift. 34.
i Hale's Hifl. 29.
to be done,
. But if it can appear, that he hath the use of understanding, which many. of that condition discover (hereon lee vol. ii. p. 33.)
by figns to a very great tnicafurė, then he may be tried, and feffer judgment and execution, though preat caution is to be wled therein. i Hale's Hift. 34• B