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INDICTMENT (from Anglo-Fr. enditernen...

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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 485 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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INDICTMENT (from Anglo-Fr. enditernent, enditer, to charge; Lat. in, against, dictare, declare), in English law, a formal accusation in writing laid before a grand jury and by them presented on oath to a court of competent jurisdiction. The accusation is drawn up in the form of a " bill " of indictment, prepared by the officer of the court or the legal adviser of the prosecution, en-grossed on parchment, and sent before the grand jury. The grand jury hear in private the witnesses in support of the accusation (whose names are endorsed on the back of the bill), and, if satisfied that a prima facie case has been made out, find the bill to be a true bill and return it to the court as such. If otherwise, the jury ignore the bill and return to the court that they find " no true bill." Indictments differ from presentments, which are made by the grand jury on their own motion and their own knowledge; and from informations, which are instituted on the suggestion of a public officer without the intervention of a grand jury. An indictment lies for " all treasons and felonies, for misprision of treasons and felonies and for all misdemeanours of a public nature at common law." And if a statute prohibit a matter of public grievance or command a matter of public convenience all acts or omissions in disobedience to the command or prohibition of the statute are treated as misdemeanours at common law, and unless the statute otherwise provides are punishable on indictment. In other words, the ordinary common law remedy in respect of criminal offences is by indictment of the accused and trial before a petty jury; and except in the case of informations for misdemeanour and summary proceedings substance or solution is acid, alkaline or neutral, the character idion in any solution may be determined by several independent being revealed in a definite colour change. Here we shall only deal with indicators in this last restricted sense. They were first systematically employed in analytical chemistry by Robert Boyle, who used the aqueous extracts of the coloured principles present in red-cabbage, violets and cornflowers. The indicator most in use to-day is litmus (q.v.), whose solution is turned red by an acid, and blue by an alkali. Several synthetic indicators are employed in acidimetry and alkalimetry. The choice is not altogether arbitrary, for experiments have shown that some are more suitable for acidimetry, while others are only applicable in alkalimetry; moreover, the strength of the acids and bases employed may exert a considerable influence on the behaviour of the indicator. The following are well-known synthetic indicators: hacmoid, obtained from resorcin and sodium nitrite, resembles litmus. Phenolphthalein, obtained by condensing phenol with phthalic anhydride, is colourless both in acid and in neutral solution, but intensely red in the presence of alkali; the colour change is very sharp with strong bases, but tardy with weak ones, and consequently its use should be restricted to acidimetry when a strong base can be chosen, or to alkalimetry when a strong base is present. a-Naphtholphthalein has also been used (Bioclrenm. Zcit., 1910, p. 381). Methyl orange, which is the sodium salt of the acid helianthin, obtained by diazotizing sulphanilic acid and coupling with dimethylaniline, is yellow in neutral and alkaline solutions, but red in acid; the change is only sharp with strong acids. Para-nitrophenol, obtained in the direct nitration of phenol, yields a colourless solution in the presence of acids, and an intense yellow with alkalis. Of more recent introduction are: alizarin red, I.W.S. (alizarin monosulphonic acid), claimed by G. E. Knowles (Abst. J.C.S., 1907, ii. 389) to be better than methyl orange in alkalimetry; 3-amino-2-methylquinolinc, used by O. Stark (ibid. 1907, i. 974) in ammonia estimations; para-nitrobenzeneazo-a-naphthol, shown by J. T. Hewitt (Analyst, 1908, 33, p. 85) to change from purple to yellow when alkalis are titrated with weak acids; para-dimethylaminoazobenzene-ortho-carboxylic acid, proposed by E. Rupp and R. Loose (Ber., Igo8, 41, p. 3905) as very serviceable in the estimation of weak bases, such as the alkaloids or centinormal ammonia; the " resorubin " of M. Barberio (Gazzetta, 1907, ii. 577), obtained by acting with nitrous acid on resorcin, which forms a violet, blue or yellow coloration according as the solution is neutral, alkaline or acid. Mention may be made of E. Linder's (J. Soc. Client. Ind., Igo8, 27, p. 485) suggestion to employ metanil yellow, obtained by coupling diazotized meta-aminobenzenesulphonic acid with diphenylamme for distinguishing mineral from organic acids, a violet coloration being produced in the presence of the former. Theory of Indicators.—The ionic theory. of solutions permitted the formulation of a logical conception of the action of indicators by W. Ostwald which for many years held its ground practically unchallenged; and even now the arguments originally advanced hold good, except for certain qualifications rendered necessary by more recent research. In the language of the ionic theory, an acid solution is one containing free hydrions, and an alkaline solution is one containing free hydroxidions. A neutral solution contains hydrions and hydroxidions in equal concentration; this is a consequence of the tact that pure water itself undergoes a certain dissociation, and several different methods show that in the purest water obtainable the concentration of the free hydrions and hydroxidions is 10 ' at 24°. Moreover, the law of mass-action (see CHEMICAL Amos) demands that the product of the concentrations of the hydrions and hydroxidions in any solution is constant at a given temperature, and we see from the above values that this constant is to-14. It follows, therefore, that the acidity or alkalinity of any solution can be expressed both in terms of hydrion or hydroxidion concentration. Many researches have been directed to classify acid and alkaline solutions according to the concentration of the hydrion. Conductivity determinations show that the maximum concentration of hydrion occurs in 3.8 - N nitric acid, where it has a value of about 2-N, and the minimum occurs in 6.7- N potassium hydroxide, where its value is 5 X io-16, that of the hydroxidion being about ;-N. These figures apply to a temperature of 24°. Bearing in mind the concentration of the ions in a neutral solution, it is seen that a scheme of seven grades of " neutrality," differing by successive powers of ten, may be formulated. The concentration of hydrion and hydrox- by a court of record for " contempt of court " it is the only remedy, except where a statute creates another remedy, e.g. by trial before a court of summary jurisdiction. The form of an indictment is still in the main regulated by the old common law rules of pleading, which as to civil pleadings were often amended during the 19th century, and finally abolished under the Judicature Acts. An indictment may consist of one or more counts charging different offences. Each count consists of three parts: (I) the commencement, (2) the statement, (3) the conclusion. The formal commencement runs thus: " Surrey to wit." The first count begins " The jurors for our Lord the King (i.e. the grand jurors) upon their oath present that, &c."; and the subsequent counts begin, the " jurors aforesaid on their oath aforesaid do further present." The first words, which are placed in the margin of the document, are the " venue," i.e. the county or district over which extends the jurisdiction of the court before which the indictment is found. Subject to certain statutory exceptions it is necessary to prove that the acts or omissions alleged to constitute the offence occurred within that area. The conclusion consists of the words following: " against the form of the statute (or statutes) in that case made and provided, and against the peace of our Lord the King, his crown and dignity." Where the offence is statutory the whole phrase is used; where it is at common law only the second part is used. A formal conclusion is not now essential to the validity of the indictment, but from inveterate habit is in continued use. The statement sets forth the circumstances alleged to constitute the offence, i.e. the accusation made. There are still in force a number of rules as to the proper elements in the statement; but in substance it is only necessary to set forth the facts alleged against the accused with accuracy and sufficient precision as to the time and place and circumstances of the alleged offence, and to indicate whether felony or misdemeanour are charged, and so to frame the statement as to indicate a definite offence for which a lawful sentence may be imposed. The following example illustrates the form of the statement: " That A. B. on the first day of June in the year of our Lord 1906 one oak tree of the value of five pounds the property of C. D. then rowing in a certain park of the said C. D. situate in the parish of E. in the county of F. feloniously did steal take and carry away contrary to the statute, &c." Only one offence should be stated in one count; and separate and distinct felonies should not be charged in the same indictment. If they are, the court makes the prosecution choose one upon which to proceed. This rule is altered by statute in certain cases: e.g. by allowing a limited number of separate thefts, or receivings of stolen property to be included in the same indictment. Misdemeanours and felonies may not be included in the same indictment because of the difference of procedure on the trial; but any number of misdemeanours may be included in different counts of the same indictment, subject to the right of the court to order separate trials or to quash the indictment if it is rendered vexatious by the agglomeration of charges. There is no general limitation of the time within which indictments may lawfully be preferred; but various limitations have been fixed by statute for certain offences, e.g. in the case of certain forms of treason, of riot, of night poaching and of corrupt and illegal practices at elections. In this respect English law differs from European law, in which limitations of time for prosecution are the rule and not the exception. Until the mitigation of the draconic severity of the English law in the early part of the 19th century, little or no power existed of amending defective statements or indictments, and the courts in favorem vitae insisted strictly on accurate pleading and on proof of the offences exactly as charged. Since 1827 numerous enactments have been passed for getting rid of these technicalities, which led to undeserved acquittals, and since 185I the courts have had power to disregard technical objections to the form of indictment and to amend in matters not essential in case of variance between the indictment and the evidence. These changes apply to ordinary offences; but for the most part do not touch charges of treason, as to which the old lawin the main still applies. At the present time the looseness of pleading in criminal cases is carried almost too far; for while there is no danger in such looseness when times are quiet and when law is administered by the judges of the High Court in England, yet when crimes of a certain character are committed in times of great political excitement and the law is administered by an inferior judiciary, there may be some danger of injustice if the strictness of pleading and procedure is too much relaxed. In the Criminal Code drafted by Sir James Fitz James Stephen and revised by a judicial commission (Lord Blackburn and Lords Justices Lush and Barry), it was proposed to substitute for the old form of indictment a statement of the particulars of the offence with a reference to the section of the code defining the offence. The law of Ireland as to indictments is in substance the same as that of England; but is to a certain extent expressed in different statutes. In Scotland the terms indictment or criminal letters are used to express the acte d' accusation. But except in the case of high treason there is no grand jury, and the indictment is filed like an English criminal information by the lord advocate or one of his deputies: and it is only by order of the court of justiciary that a prosecution can be instituted without the general or particular assent of the lord advocate. By the Criminal Procedure Scotland Act 1887 the form of Scots indictments is much simplified. They are drawn in the second and not in the third person. In those of the British colonies in which by settlement or statute the English criminal law runs, the form of indictment is substantially the same, and is found by a grand jury as in England. But in certain colonies, e.g. the Australian states, an indictment by a public officer without the intervention of a grand jury has been adopted. In India and British Asiatic possessions the procedure is regulated by the Indian Procedure Code or its adaptations. In South Africa indictments are framed under Roman Dutch law as modified by local legislation. In the United States prosecution or indictment by a grand jury is the rule: the form of indictment is the same, substituting the state or commonwealth of the United States for references to the king, and the conclusions " against the form of the statute " and " against the peace " are still in use. (W. F. C.) " INDIES, LAWS OF THE," in the colonial history of Spain, a general term designative either (I) of certain codifications of legislation for the colonies listed below, and especially the compilation of 168o; or (2) of the whole body of colonial law, of which those compilations were but a selection, and which was made up of a multitude of royal cedulas, orders, letters, ordinances, provisions, instructions, autos, dispatches, pragmatics and laws—all emanating from the crown (or crown and cortes) and all of equal force—that were passed through various departments of government to various officers and branches of the colonial administration, or between the different departments of government in Spain. The transfer of Spanish law to Ultramar began with the first days of the Conquest; and especially the civil law was translated with comparatively slight alteration. Many things, however, peculiar to colonial conditions—the special relations of the crown and the papacy in America, the repartimientos and encomiendas (" divisions of lands " and " commendations," a system of patronage, or modified slavery) of the Indians, the development of African slavery, questions of natural and international law, the spread of discovery and establishment of new settlements and administrative areas, the sales and grants of public lands, the working of the mines—necessitated the organization of a great mass of special law, made up of a body of general doctrine and a vast quantity of administrative applications, la materia de Indiasto which references are already found in the time of Ferdinand. The general doctrine was applicable everywhere in Ultramar, and the difficult and inconstant communication between the provinces, and other considerations, early counselled some work of codification. The first efforts to this end were begun in Mexico in 1525; a volume was published in 1563, and other inadequate compilations in 1596 and 1628, and finally the great RecopilaciOn de Leyes de los Reinos de las Indias of s680. This code has enjoyed great fame, and in some ways even extravagant praise. The greatest praise that has been given it is that its dominant spirit through and through is not the mercantile aim but the political aim—the principle of civilization; and this praise it deserves. It had various defects, however, of an administrative nature; and as time passed its basic doctrines—especially its minute administrative strangulation of colonial political life, and its monopolistic economic principles—became fatally opposed to conditions and tendencies in the colonies. Two centuries in formation, the code of 168o—continually altered by supplementary interpretation and application—was only one century in effect; for in the seventeen-sixties Charles III. began, in a series of liberal decrees, to break down the monopolistic principles of colonial commerce. This change came too late to save the mainland colonies in America, but its remarkable effects were quickly seen in the aggrandizement of Cuba. It is in the history of this colony (as also in Porto Rico and the ,Philippines) that one must follow the later history of the Laws of the Indies (see CUBA). Of the Recopilacion of 168o, five editions were issued by the government, the last in 1841 (Madrid, 4 vols.); and there are later, private editions approved by the government. See also J. M. Zomora y Coronado, Biblioteca de legislation Ultramarina (Madrid, 184:}-1849, 6 vols., with appendices often bound as vol. 7) ; J. Rodriguez San Pedro, Legislation Ultramarina concordada, covering 1837-1868 (12 vols., Madrid, 1865-1868, vols. 10-12 being a supplement) ; the Boletin oficial del Ministerio de Uliramar, covering 1869-1879; and M. Fernandez Martin, Compilation legislativa del gobaerno y administration civil de Uliramar (Madrid, 1886-1894) ; the gap of 1879-1886 can be filled for Cuba by the series of Reales Ordenes... publicadas en la Gaceta de la Habana (annual, Havana, 1857-1898, covering 1854-1898).
End of Article: INDICTMENT (from Anglo-Fr. enditernent, enditer, to charge; Lat. in, against, dictare, declare)
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