Quotations about   trial

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Always Sir Arthur lost so much blood that it was a marvel he stood on his feet, but he was so full of knighthood that knightly he endured the pain.

Thomas Malory (c. 1415-1471) English writer
Le Morte d’Arthur, Book 4, ch. 9 (1485)
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Added on 22-Sep-20 | Last updated 22-Sep-20
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There is no accepted test of civilization. It is not wealth, or the degree of comfort, or the average duration of life, or the increase of knowledge. All such tests would be disputed. In default of any other measure, may it not be suggested that as good a measure as any is the degree to which justice is carried out, the degree to which men are sensitive as to wrong-doing and desirous to right it? If that be the test, a trial such as that of Servetus is a trial of the people among whom it takes place, and his condemnation is theirs also.

John Macdonell (1846-1921) British jurist
Historical Trials, ch. 7 (1927)
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John Calvin ordered Michael Servetus be imprisoned for heresy in Geneva; he was tried, then burned at the stake in 1553.
Added on 15-Jun-20 | Last updated 15-Jun-20
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You have to believe, by god, that he will be no better in the future after getting this judgment from you and will never stop taking bribes against you if you acquit him.

[οὐ γὰρ δὴ μὰ τὸν Ἡρακλέα βελτίω γενήσεσθαι αὐτὸν προσδοκᾶτε συγγνώμης νυνὶ τυγχάνοντα παρ᾿ ὑμῶν, οὐδὲ τὸ λοιπὸν ἀφέξεσθαι τοῦ λαμβάνειν χρήματα καθ᾿ ὑμῶν, ἐὰν νῦν ἀφῆτε αὐτόν.]

Dinarchus (c. 361-291 BC) Greek orator and speech writer [Dinarch, Deinarchus, Δείναρχος]
“Against Aristogiton”
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Alt. trans.:
  • "Hope not to reform him; for if you pardon him now what assurance have you that he will not against betray your interests in the future?" [tr. Garland (1902)]
  • "For you must assume, by Heracles, that there will be no improvement in him if he is pardoned by you now, and that in future he will not abstain from taking bribes against you if you now acquit him." [tr. Burtt (1962)]
Added on 14-Feb-20 | Last updated 14-Feb-20
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For your reputation, for your religion, for your safety, for every advantage you have, do not acquit this man — no, exact vengeance upon him to make him an example to everyone, to our citizens and to the rest of the world.

[οὔτε γὰρ πρὸς δόξαν οὔτε πρὸς εὐσέβειαν οὔτε πρὸς ἀσφάλειαν οὔτε πρὸς ἄλλ᾿ οὐδὲν ὑμῖν συμφέρει τοῦτον ἀφεῖναι, ἀλλὰ τιμωρησαμένους παράδειγμα ποιῆσαι πᾶσι, καὶ τοῖς πολίταις καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις Ἕλλησιν.]

Demosthenes (384-322 BC) Greek orator and statesman
Oration 19, “On the False Embassy,” sec. 343 (Conclusion)
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Also known as "On the False Legation". Alt. trans.: "For the sake of your honor, of your religion, of your security, of everything you value, you must not acquit this man. Visit him with exemplary punishment, and let his fate be a warning not to our own citizens alone but to every man who lives in the Hellenic world." [tr. Vince, Vince (1926)]
Added on 7-Feb-20 | Last updated 7-Feb-20
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Will you really acquit this damned man who never did you anything good from his first public act but instead has done every evil he could?

[τὸν δὲ κατάρατον τοῦτον, ὃς ἀγαθὸν μὲν ὑμᾶς οὐδεπώποτε πεποίηκεν ἐξ οὗ πρὸς τὴν πόλιν προσελήλυθε, κακὸν δ᾿ ὅ τι δυνατός ἐστιν, ἀφήσετε]

Dinarchus (c. 361-291 BC) Greek orator and speech writer [Dinarch, Deinarchus, Δείναρχος]
“Against Aristogiton”
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Alt. trans.: "But this accursed wretch has never done you any good since he began his public career, but all the harm he could. Will you then pardon him?" [tr. Garland (1902)]

Alt. trans: "Will you acquit this accursed man who has not done you a service ever since he has been in politics but has been the greatest possible menace?" [tr. Burtt (1962)]
Added on 6-Feb-20 | Last updated 6-Feb-20
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Acquitting the guilty convicts the judge.

[Iudex damnatur cum nocens absolvitur.]

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sentences [Sententiae], #296
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Motto of the Edinburgh Review. Alt. trans.:
  • "When the guilty man is let off, the judge stands condemned."
  • "The judge is condemned when the criminal is acquitted." [tr. Lyman (1856), #868]
There were multiple collections made of Publilius Syrus' Sententiae in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. This appears in all of them, but often with different line/sentence numbers, incl. #256 and #257.
Added on 5-Feb-20 | Last updated 5-Feb-20
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It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies that the native metal of a man is tested.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Abraham Lincoln,” The North American Review (Jan 1864)
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Added on 13-Jun-17 | Last updated 13-Jun-17
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No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or dispossessed, or outlawed or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him, no will we send against him except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.

Other Authors and Sources
Magna Carta, Clause 39 (1215)
Added on 21-Apr-17 | Last updated 21-Apr-17
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The fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has surmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptations, can at best be considered but as gold not yet brought to the test, of which therefore the true value cannot be assigned.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler #150 (24 Aug 1751)
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Added on 11-Apr-17 | Last updated 11-Apr-17
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Every defendant is entitled to a trial in which his interests are vigorously and conscientiously advocated by an able lawyer. A proceeding in which the defendant does not receive meaningful assistance in meeting the forces of the state does not, in my opinion, constitute due process.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) American lawyer, US Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991)
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) [Dissenting]
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Added on 22-Oct-15 | Last updated 22-Oct-15
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The high sentiments always win in the end, the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears, and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“The Art of Donald McGill” (Sep 1941)
Added on 16-Oct-15 | Last updated 16-Oct-15
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If the government can round up someone and never be required to explain why, then it’s no longer the United States of America as you and I always understood it. Our enemies have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They have made us become like them.

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
“Congress’s Shameful Retreat From American Values,” Chicago Tribune (4 Oct 2006)
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Added on 8-Jan-15 | Last updated 8-Jan-15
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If Afflictions refine some, they consume others.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #2666 (1732)
Added on 18-Nov-14 | Last updated 18-Nov-14
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These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
“The American Crisis” (23 Dec 1776)

Written after Washington retreated from New Jersey.
Added on 12-Feb-08 | Last updated 14-Jan-20
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A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.

Mildred W. Struven American Christian Scientist, housewife
(Attributed)

Quoted by her daughter Jean Harris, Stranger in Two Worlds (1986)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-May-14
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The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

Other Authors and Sources
Chinese proverb

Quoted in W. C. Wilson, ed., The Teacher's Visitor (1846).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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