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clerk; and the fact must be recorded in the official proceedings. A jury is composed of twelve jurors. If the case is apt to continue for a long time or involves questions that will prolong the hearing, the Court may order at the time of the empanelling of the jury that one or two additional jurors be selected who act as jurors in reserve; and in the event of a juror becoming ill or otherwise incapacitated he is immediately supplanted by the extra or reserve juryman who has participated in the proceedings and who is thus in every way qualified to act; and in this way mis-trials or the failure of justice never occurs by reason of the original jury being reduced. Extraordinary means are taken to secure a fair trial so far as the jury are concerned, and to allow absolute independence in the casting of their ballots; in fact, the moment the jury retire into their room their conduct, deliberation and balloting are surrounded by every precaution calculated to insure perfect freedom of action and independence on the part of the individual juryman. The jury votes by written ballots and by separate and consecutive balloting at first on the principal fact, and if there is reason to do so then on the aggravating circumstances, on legitimate excuse, on the question of discretion, and finally on the question of extenuating circumstances, which the foreman puts to the jury whenever the culpability of the accused has first been determined. To this end each juryman on being called by the foreman is handed an open ballot bearing the stamp of the Cour d’Assises and the words: “On my honour and my conscience my declaration is-" and the juryman himself fills in the blank space or he asks another juryman to do so for him, with the word “yes” or “no o on a table so arranged that no one else can see what is written on the ballot. Having filled in the ballot he folds it and hands it to the foreman who deposits it in an urn or box used expressly for this purpose. Immediately after each ballot the ballots are burnt in the presence of the jury. This system of successive balloting often throws a tremendous burden on a jury, and it is questionable whether under the circumstances an ordinary jury is sufficiently qualified either from experience or intelligence to properly pass upon the vast number of questions submitted to them. In a recent case—what the journals
called “les scandales de Nice ’’-where there was a general acquitment of all the accused, no less than 402 questions were submitted to the jury, All questions are determined by a ma. jority vote and the verdict must say so although the number of votes cast for or against the accused must not be revealed. Having decided on their verdict the jury enter the Court room and take their seats, whereupon the president asks them what is the result of their deliberation. The foreman, rising, and placing his hand on his heart, says: “On my honour and my conscience before God and men, the verdict of the jury is—.” The verdict is then signed by the foreman and handed to the president in the presence of the jury; and it is also signed by the president and clerk. If the Court is convinced that while observing the necessary legal formalities the jury have been mistaken on the merits, it can set aside the verdict and send the case to the following sessions. No one has the right to request that this be done, the Court having authority to act solely on its own initiative. Deportation is essentially a political punishment, or rather a punishment for a political offence, and consists either in what is known as deportation, which means transportation and being restrained for life within a fortified enclosure, or simple deportation—exile to some place prescribed by law beyond the Republic. In either case the condemned must remain where deported to but where otherwise he is practically free. Detention is also a punishment reserved especially for political offenders, and must be for not less than five or more than twenty years, the offender being confined in one of the fortresses within the Republic determined by Presidential deCI’ee. A curious survival of an ancient custom is still found in the Penal Code—strangely enough article 13—by which a parricide condemned to death is conducted to the place of execution in his shirt-sleeves, bare-footed, and with his head covered with a black veil. Thus attired, he is exposed to the public on the scaffold, while the sheriff reads, the sentence, and then immediately executed. Those condemned to penal servitude are sent to some penal settlements, such, for example, as Guyane or New Caledonia, the old offenders, and confirmed criminals being, as a rule, sent to the former. The prisoners are employed in the hardest labour, dragging at their feet an iron ball, or bound two-andtwo by a chain when the nature of the work permits it. No one 60 years of age can be sentenced to penal servitude, such sentence being replaced by imprisonment. Convicts condemned to penal servitude for less than eight years are bound after the expiration of their sentence to continue to reside in the colony for a period equal to that for which they are condemned, while those sentenced for more than eight years must pass the rest of their life there. After a convict has served his sentence he can, on the express authorization of the governor, temporarily leave the colony, but in no case is he allowed to return to France. The Court can absolve the accused if the fact of which he is declared to be guilty is not forbidden by a penal statute. As already noted, the jury may find the accused excusable, but a felony or misdemeanour is only excusable in a case where and under such circumstances as the law declares it to be so. Thus blows, wounds, and even murder are excusable if provoked by blows or serious violence; and this applies where they occur in the day-time in repelling an individual climbing over or breaking into enclosures, walls or entrances to an inhabited house or apartment or out-buildings. If these occur during the night-time they are regarded as necessarily caused in self-defence, and while text-writers have contended otherwise, the Cour de Cassation has adopted the theory that murder even when accompanied by premeditation can be excusable. It is difficult to agree with this reasoning, or find a sufficiently logical basis on which to place two such inconsistent principles. Parricide, however, is never excusable, and a murder by a husband of a wife or a wife of a husband is not excusable unless the life of the one who commits the murder is in peril at the moment when the crime is committed. This excellent provise can well be appreciated, and is based on sound reasoning, and why it should only apply in matrimonial murders and not to others it is indeed difficult to understand. In the case of matrimonial murders there is an express provision of law providing that where a husband murders his wife (mark well that it is not in favour of the wife) or her accomplice at the moment they are surprised in the act of adultery in the matrimonial domicile (not elsewhere) it is excusable. But the most wonderful of all these legal excuses is that which provides that the crime of castration, if immediately provoked by a violent outrage against decency, is to be considered as excusable murder or wounding.
But excusable murder and crime does not mean that the guilty person is discharged or undergoes no punishment. When the fact constituting a legal excuse has been proven, if it relates to a crime punishable by death or penal servitude for life or deportation, the penalty is reduced to imprisonment for from one to five years; if it relates to another felony it is reduced to imprisonment from six months to two years, and if it relates to misdemeanour the penalty is reduced to imprisonment for from six days to six months.
The penal law relating to adultery shews the prevailing disposition to favour the husband and restrain the wife; it is a remnant of the old theory of the wife's vassalage and absorption on marriage in the personality of her husband. A wife can only be charged with adultery on the complaint of her husband, and if convicted is liable to from three months to two years' imprisonment; but the husband retains the right to stop the execution of the sentence by taking back his wife. The accomplice is liable to the same term of imprisonment, and in addition to a fine of from 100 to 2,000 francs; but the offence is exceedingly difficult to prove against the accomplice as the law restricts the only proof to evidence that the parties were caught en flagrant délit or to such as results from letters or other writing written by the accomplice. What constitutes flagrant délit has been the subject of exhaustive discussion. It does not mean that the parties must necessarily be caught in the act of adultery, Flagrant délit is ordinarily supposed to mean taken or caught in the commission of a crime, but with regard to adultery this is not so. Flagrant délit can be presumed, as when a married woman and her accomplice remain together in a locked room for some time and refuse to open the door.
There is not one law and one graduated scale of punishment for perjury, but the crime is shaded into many nice distinctions, and false testimony in favour or against a criminal is in the eyes of the law an entirely different offence from perjury in a civil suit. It is not easy to comprehend why perjury should be treated more considerately in one case than in another, or why the punishment, once the crime has been committed and proven, should be graded so as to virtually distinguish between the various kinds and degrees of false swearing. Public policy requires one firm, strong, and unvarying rule in such cases. Perjury, wherever and whenever committed, without distinction as to the place or surrounding circumstances, should receive the same punishment. Criminal law, like the civil law, is getting to be too much of a metaphysical science, tending in its practical results to the evildoer’s escape from just and proper punishment. Under the French criminal system false swearing in a criminal trial, such as at the assizes either against or in favour of the accused, is punishable by reclusion, which means from five to ten years' imprisonment with hard labour, and where the accused is condemned to a more severe punishment the witness who has deposed falsely against him can be sentenced to the same punishment, while one guilty of giving false evidence in a civil case is punishable by imprisonment for from two to five years and a fine of from fifty to two thousand francs. Another thing requiring notice in connection with the offence of perjury is the ordinary Statute of Limitations. In France in commercial cases there is no absolute bar to a civil remedy simply by the lapse of time, but assuming the particular period of limitations has run and is pleaded, then in that case the adversary has the right to put the party setting up the statute on his oath, i.e., has the privilege of insisting that he swear the debt has been paid. Naturally, while a party may be only too ready to plead the Statute of Limitations, yet when it comes to making oath that the debt has been paid that is quite a different matter, and may well cause him to pause, especially when a false oath under such circumstances subjects the offender to imprisonment from at least one to five years; to a fine of from 100 to 3,000 francs, and in addition may deprive him of certain civic, civil, and family rights at least from ten to five years, during which period he may be placed under the surveillance of the police. Perjury under the French law is a progressive crime not depending for its punishment on the offence itself, but upon its attendant circumstances and surroundings. The law should, however, look at the act of a perjurer as inimicable to and destructive to the morality, order, and well being of society, and stamp the conduct of those who give false testimony with its condemnation, accepting no excuse and refusing all mitigating circumstances. Without truth the fabric of all civilized authority will tumble in ruins, and social order become riot. Truth is the foundation of all religion; it is the groundwork of our schools and the basis of our education; it is the moral fibre of every great people; it is the guiding star to all