The Reign of Christ. Book Two. Chapter Fifty Nine: The Thirteenth Law: the Custody of Accused Persons

This realm is guilty of a grave sin against God by its rather harsh and unjust imprisonment of accused persons. Men plainly innocent are sometimes cast into prison on slight suspicion and detained there for some months before their case is heard. Who would not acknowledge that this is unjust and cruel? For this is the decree of the divine law and the law of nature as given concerning prisoners by Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius: “Concerning those who are imprisoned, we order definitely either that a convicted person must undergo his penalty quickly or that a person who is to be set free is not to suffer from lengthy incarceration.” It is certainly unfair and cruel to cause the torment of an innocent man even for one hour. And what should judges deem more useful and necessary for them to do than to render judgment and justice and deliver the innocent from all wrong?

By Martin Bucer

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