Antonella Bettoni

Voci malevole. Fama, notizia del crimine e azione del giudice nel processo criminale (secc. XVI e XVII)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


It is my intention to investigate what kind of information of a crime could set the inquisitorial criminal trial in motion in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries, and more precisely what form should this information assume in order to be considered credible and reliable enough to justify the beginning of the inquiry by the judge. "Ius commune" jurists declared the necessity of a preceding "fama" in order to initiate an inquisitorial criminal trial. In judicial practice judges gave credit to pieces of information that could not be defined as "fama". Starting from the a recent theory in juridical historiography, according to which "fama" constituted the trigger of the inquisitorial trial, I intend to reconstruct: the notion of "fama" (which must be intended here as a public voice which had specific characteristics of reliability and attributed a criminal event to somebody) as it was elaborated by "ius commune" jurists; the correctives singled out by jurists in order to legitimise trials that were initiated on the basis of not-completely-formed "fama"; the different positions assumed by "ius commune" jurists on the matter; and finally the warnings that jurists addressed to judges who initiated criminal prosecution departing from what was established by the "ordo iuris". A deeper investigation of these themes will necessarily lead to a reconstruction of the criminal policies behind the juridical choices and to a description of the relations between public power and private people. The fruitful meeting between principles followed by the praxis and principles that belonged to the "ius commune" system - as far as the initiation of criminal prosecution was concerned - will be outlined taking as our starting point a case in which the lawyer treated the question of the "fama" according to "ius commune" rules while the judge followed the rules of judicial praxis.

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