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. 4 Blackstone, Commentaries
“But an open verdict may be either general, guilty, or not guilty; or special, setting
forth all the circumstances of the case, and praying the judgment of the court, whether,
for instance, on the facts stated, it be murder, manslaughter, or no crime at all.
That is where they doubt the matter of law, and therefore chuse to leave it to the determination of the court; though they have an unquestionable
right of determining upon all the circumstances, and finding a general verdict, if
they think proper so to hazard a breach of their oaths. . . . Yet in many instances,
where contrary to evidence the jury have found the prisoner guilty, their verdict
hath been mercifully set aside, and a new trial granted by the court of king's bench.
. . . But there hath yet been no instance of granting a new trial, where the prisoner
was acquitted upon the first.”
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.