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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 3052 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #180 on: February 04, 2009, 01:20:54 pm »

were held in the morning, soon after the break of day, such was also the rule with the Secret Court.

When an affair was brought before a Fehm-court, the first point to be determined was whether it was a matter of Fehm-jurisdiction. Should such prove to be the case, the accused was summoned to appear and answer the charge before the Public Court. All sorts of persons, Jews and Heathens included, might be summoned before this court, at which the uninitiated schöppen also gave attendance, and which was as public as any court in Germany. If the accused did not appear, or appeared and could not clear himself, the affair was transferred to the Secret Court. Civil matters also, which on account of a denial of satisfaction were brought before the Fehm-court, were, in like manner, in cases of extreme contumacy, transferred thither.

The Fehm-tribunals had three different modes of procedure, namely, that in case of the criminal being taken in the fact, the inquisitorial, and the purely accusatorial.

Two things were requisite in the first case; the criminal must be taken in the fact, and there must be three schöppen, at least, present to punish him. With respect to the first particular, the legal language of Saxony gave great extent to the term taken in the fact. It applied not merely to him who was seized in the instant of his committing the crime, but to him who was caught as he was running away. In cases of murder, those who were found with weapons in their hands were considered as taken in the fact; as also, in case of theft, was a person who had the key of any place in which stolen articles were found, unless he could prove that they came there without his consent or knowledge. The Fehm-law enumerated three tokens or proofs of guilt in these cases; the Habende Hand (Having Hand), or having the proof

p. 356

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