Jurisprudence Governing the Use of Torture

Prospero Farinacci
Giuseppe Cesari detto il Cavalier d'Arpino (1568-1640) Rome, Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo


1. Evidence must be legitimate, probable, grave, and sufficient --- the judge must be almost certain of guilt

2. Even with his "absolute power," prince may not mandate torture without sufficient proofs --- if  judges obey princely orders to torture without sufficient proofs they will be brought to trial for their crime

3. If a judge threatens a defendant with torture --- that is torture

4.  Before ordering someone to be tortured a judge must set a term for  defendants to make their defense and provide them with the accusations and evidence against them

5. When the proofs are sufficient a defendant should be convicted and not tortured

6. Many persons are exempted from torture: nobles, pregnant women, minors.  The prince may grant permission to order the torture of a noble person