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writ of certiorari, and tried either at bar, or at nisi prius, by a jury of the county out of which the indictment is brought (9). The judges of this court are the supreme coroners of the kingdom. And the court itself is the principal court of criminal jurisdiction (though the two former are of greater dignity) known to the laws of England. For which reason, by the coming of the court of King's Bench into any county, (as it was removed to Oxford on account of the sickness in 1665,) all former commissions of oyer and terminer, and general gaol delivery, are at once absorbed and determined ipso facto : in the same manner as by the old Gothic and Saxon *constitutions, "jure vetusto obtinuit, quievisse omnia inferiora judicia, dicente jus rege (~) (10) (11).”
(5) Stiernhook, 1. 1, c. 2.
(9) Informations filed in the court of King's Bench, and indictments removed there by certiorari, if not tried at the bar of the court, which rarely happens, are tried at the assizes by writ of nisi prius On which occasions the judges of assize had, till very lately, no power to pass sentence upon the parties convicted before them, that power being confined to the court when sitting in banc at Westminster, before whom the parties so convicted were obliged to appear, upon no. tice, to receive judgment, often at very great inconvenience and expense. To remedy this evil, it was enacted by statutc 1 W. IV. c. 70, $ 9, that upon all trials for felonies or misdemeanors upon any record of the court of King's Bench, judgment may be pronounced during the assizes or sittings, as well upon the persons who shall have suffered judg. ment by default or confession upon the same record, as upon those who shall be tried and convicted, whether such persons shall be present in court or not, excepting when such prosecution shall be by information filed by leave of the court of King's Bench, or information filed by the attorney-general, wherein be shall pray that the judgment may be postponed ; and the judgment pronounced shall be endorsed upon the record of nisi prius, and aft:rwards en.
tered upon the record in court, and shall be of the same force and effect as a judgment of the court, unless the court shall, within six days after the commencement of the ensuing term, grant a rule to shew cause why a new trial should not be had or the judgment amended. And the judge before whom the trial was had, may either issue an immediate warrant for committing the defendant in execution, or respite the execution of the judgment, upon such terms as he shall think fit, until the sixth day of the ensuing term; and if imprisonment shall be part of the sentence, may order the same to commence on the day the party shall be taken to prison.
(10) By ancient custom, all inferior jurisdictions ceased, when the king was sitting in judgment.
(11) The court of King's Bench has no authority or jurisdiction to interfere in the regulation and management of the gaols of the kingdom. Where a person guilty of a misdemeanor, and confined in a county gaol under sentence of that court, prayed to be allowed the same indulgences as prisoncrs confined for felony, the court refused to make any order upon the gaoler for that purpose ; Rex v. Carlile, 1 D. & R. 535. The court of K. B. cannot grant D D
into which all Into this court of King's Bench hath reverted all that was that was good of the star-cham- good and salutary of the jurisdiction of the court of star ber jurisdiction has been re. chamber, camera stellata (a): which was a court of very anmoved.
(a) This is said (Lamb. Arch. 154,) under three keys in certain places ; one, to have been so called, either from the and the most considerable, of which Saxon word stoepan to steer or go was in the king's exchequer at Westvern; or from its punishing the crimen minster; and no start was allowed to. stellionatus, or cozenage; or because be valid, unless it were found in some the room wherein it-sate, the old coun. of the said repositories. (Memorand. eil-chamber of the palace of West. in Seacc. P. 6 Edw. I. prefixed minster, (Lamb. 148,) which is now to Maynard's Year-book of Edw. II. converted into the lottery-office, and fol. 8. Madox. Hist. Exch. c. vii.' $ 4, forms the eastern side of New Palace 4, 5, 6.) The room at the exchequer, Yard, was full of windows; or (to where the chests containing these starrs which sir Edward Coke, 4 Inst. 66, were kept, was probably called the accedes) because haply the roof thereof starr-chamber ; and, when the Jews was at the first garnished with gilded were expelled the kingdom, was applied stars. As all these are merely conjec- to the use of the king's council, sitting tures (for no stars are now in the roof, in their judicial capacity. To confirm nor any are said to have remained there this, the first time the star-chamber is so late as the reign of queen Elizabeth,) mentioned in any record, it is said to it may be allowable to propose another have been situated near the receipt of conjectural etymology, as plausible the exchequer at Westminster : (the perhaps as any of them. It is well king's council, his chancellor, treasurer, known that, before the banishment of justices, and other sages, were assemthe Jews under Edward I. their con- bled en la chaumbre des esteilles pres la tracts and obligations were denominated resceipt al Westminster. Claus. 41, in our ancient records starra or starrs, Edw. III. m. 13.) For, in process of from a corruption of the Hebrew word, time, when the meaning of the Jewish shetar, a covenant, (Tovey's Angl. ju- starrs was forgotten, the word stardaic. 32. Selden. tit. of Hon. ii. 34. chamber was naturally rendered in law Uxor. Ebraic. i. 14.) These stars, by French, la chaumbre des esteilles, and in an ordinance of Richard the first, pre- law Latin, camera stellata ; which conserved by Hovedon, were commanded tinued to be the style in Latin till the to be enrolled and deposited in chests dissolution of that court (12).
a mandamus to the justices of sessions,
court of K. B., unless there is a special Act of parliament for the purpose of giving them jurisdiction; Rex v. Munton, 1 Esp. 62. The court of K. B. will not mitigate a fine imposed by an inferior court, the record whereof is removed there by certiorari; Rer v. Loreden, 8 T. R. 615. The court of K. B. has no jurisdiction to review the judge ment of a court of quarter sessions, unless there be a case sent up for their consideration; Rer v. Carnarvon Justices, 4 B. & A. 86. Where there is any evidence tending to prove an offence over which a magistrate has a summary
cient original (6), but new modelled by -statutes 3 Hen. VII. c: 1, and 21 Hen. VIII. c. 20, consisting of divers lords spiritual and temporal, being privy counsellors, together with
(6) Lamb. Arch. 156.
jurisdiction by conviction, the court of delivery ; Rer v. Garside, 4 Nev. & K. B. cannot judge of the degree of it, Man. 33. or control the determination of the ma- The attorney general, upon motion, gistrate upon that evidence ; Rer v. is entitled, as of course, to a habeas Davis, 6 T: 177 If justices acquit corpus and certiorari to bring up a pria defendant ist whom an informa- soner and the record of his conviction tion is laid before them for a pen- in a case of felony; Id. Ibid. alty, the court of K. B. cannot re In a case of a conviction for murder verse the judgment; Rex v. Reason, in which the prisoners were brought up 6 T. R. 375. But that court has a by habeas corpus, and the record by general jurisdiction over all acts con-. certiorari, the court gave the prisoners trary to good morals and public de three days' time to examine the record, cency; Jones v. Handall, Lofft, 383; and instruct counsel to shew cause why which cannot be ousted but by express execution should not be awarded against words or necessary implication ; Cates them; Id. Ibid. v. Knight, 3 T. R. 442. If an indict See further as to the jurisdiction of ment for felony has been removed into this court, with reference to the writ of the court of K. B. from an inferior certiorari, post, 320. court, in order to issue process of out (12) In one of the statutes of the lawry upon it, and the party accused university of Cambridge, the antiquity come in, the court will send the record of which is not known, the word star. back; Rer v. Perry, 5 T. R. 478. rum is twice used for a schedule or Where a prisoner was convicted of per- inventory. The statute is intitled, De jury in an inferior jurisdiction, and sen computatione procuratorum, and it di. tence of transportation was entered on rects that in fine computi fiat starrum the record informally, the court of K. B. per modum dividenda, in quo ponentur on error brought, commanded the court omnia remanentia in communi cistá tam below to pronounce the proper judg pignora quam pecunia, ac etium urrerament; Rex v. Kenworthy, 3 D. & R. gia et debita, ita quod omnibus constare 173; 1 B. & C. 711.
poterit evidenter, in quo statu tunc uniThe court of King's Bench has au versitas fuerit quoad bona, &c.* Stat. thority to order the sheriff of any county, Acad. Cant. p. 32. Such inventories or the marshal of the court, to carry would be made at the king's exchequer, into execution a sentence of death, pro. and the room where they were deponounced by a judge under a commission sited would probably be called the starof oyer and terminer and general gaol chamber.-Ch.
* Concerning the accounts of the well securities as money, and also all proctors :-at the end of the ac. arrears and debts, so that it may be counts there shall be made an inven- made evident to all persons in what tory in the manner of a dividend, in state the university is with respect to which shall be comprised all things property, &c. remaining in the common chesty, as
two judges of the courts of common law, without the intervention of any jury. Their jurisdiction extended legally over
riots, perjury, misbehaviour of sheriffs, and other notorious [*267] *misdemesnors, contrary to the laws of the land. Yet this
was afterwards, as lord Clarendon informs us (c), stretched “to the asserting of all proclamations, and orders of state : to the vindicating of illegal commissions, and grants of monopolies ; holding for honourable that which pleased, and for just that which profited, and becoming both a court of law to determine civil rights, and a court of revenue to enrich the treasury: the council-table by proclamations enjoining to the people that which was not enjoined by the laws, and prohibiting that which was not prohibited; and the star chamber, which consisted of the same persons in different rooms, censuring the breach and disobedience to those proclamations by very great fines, imprisonments, and corporal severities: so that any disrespect to any acts of state, or to the persons of statesmen, was in no time more penal, and the foundations of right never more in danger to be destroyed.” For which reason it was finally abolished by statute 16 Car. I. c. 10, to
the general joy of the whole nation (d). 1. The court of 4. The court of Chivalry (e), of which we also formerly thority of which spoke (f ), as a military court, or court of honour, when held
before the earl marshal only, is also a criminal court, when held before the lord high constable of England jointly with the earl marshal. And then it has jurisdiction over pleas of life and member, arising in matters of arms and deeds of war,
(c) Hist, of Reb. book 1 and 3. the other for the first three years of
(d) The just odium into which this king Charles : and there is in the tribunal had fallen before its dissolu- British Museum (Harl. MS$. vol. I. tion, has been the occasion that few No. 1226) a very full, methodical, and memorials have reached us of its na. accurate account, of the constitution ture, jurisdiction, and practice; except and course of this court, compiled by such as, on account of their enormous William Hudson, of Gray's Inn, an oppression, are recorded in the histories eminent practitioner therein (13); and of the times. There are, however, to a short account of the same, with be met with, some reports of its pro- copies of all its process, may also be ceedings in Dyer, Croke, Coke, and found in 18 Rym. Foed. 192, &c. other reporters of that age, and some (e) 4 Inst. 123; 2 Hawk. P. C. 9. in manuscript; of which the author () See vol. III. page 68. has two; one from 40 Eliz. to 13 Jac. I.
chuvalcy, the all
has fallen into total disus.
(13) Hudson's Treatise of the Court of Star-Chamber is now published at
the beginning of the 2d vol, of Collectanea Juridica.--CH.
over all ot'ences
as well out of the realm as within it. But the criminal, as *well as civil part of its authority, is fallen into entire disuse: r*.2687 there having been no permanent high constable of England, but only pro hâc vice at coronations and the like, since the attainder and execution of Stafford duke of Buckingham in the thirteenth year of Henry VIII. ;' the authority and charge, both in war and peace, being deemed too ample for a subject : so ample, that when the chief Justice Fineus was asked by king Henry the eighth, how far they extended, he declined answering: and said, the decision of that question belonged to the law of arms, and not to the law of England (9).
5. The high court of Admiralty (h), held before the lord 6. The court of high admiral of England, or his deputy, styled the judge of ing jurisdiction admiralty, is not only a court of civil, but also of criminal ju- committed at risdiction. This court hath cognizance of all crimes and offences committed either upon the sea, or on the coasts, out of the body or extent of any English county ; and by statute 15 Ric. II. c. 3, of death and mayhem happening in great ships being and hovering in the main stream of great rivers, below the bridges of the same rivers, which are then a sort of ports or havens (14); such as are the ports of London and Gloucester, though they lie at a great distance from the sea. But, as this court proceeded without jury, in a method much conformed to the civil law, the exercise of a criminal jurisdiction there was contrary to the genius of the law of England; inasmuch as a man might be there deprived of his life by the opinion of a single judge, without the judgment of his peers. And besides, as innocent persons might thus fall a sacrifice to the caprice of a single man, so very gross offenders might, and did frequently, escape punishment: for the rule of the civil law is, how reasonably I shall not at present inquire,
(14) The jurisdiction given to the court of Admiralty by the 15 R. II. c. 3, in cases of mayhem, &c., is only concurrent with that of the common law courts, 1 Hale, P. C. 16; and, it seems clear, that the court has no jurisdiction in rivers, or arms, or creeks of the sca, within the bodies of coun.
ties, though within the ebb and flow of the tide, except in the cases of homicide and mayhem mentioned in this statute. “ Within the body of a county" has been construed to mean, when one, with the naked eye, can see from one side of a river, &c. to the other.