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17.

Was it not lately the case that some most illustrious citizens would not endure the idea of a judge selected by the prosecutor, (when, out of a hundred and twenty-five judges, the chief men of the equestrian order, the defendant rejected seventy-five, and retained fifty,) and preferred throwing the whole business into confusion, to obeying that law and complying with those terms? And shall we put up with judges chosen not out of the select body of judges, but out of the whole people, and not proposed to us with a power of striking off the obnoxious ones, but appointed by the prosecutor in such a way that we have no power to object to a single one?

[42] I am not now complaining of the injustice of the law, but I am showing that your conduct is at variance with the spirit of the law; and I not only should not complain of the severity of that proceeding, if you had acted as the senate intended and as the people decreed, and had proposed to him as judges his own tribe, and those which he had paid attentions to; but, if you had given him those men as judges who ought also to have served as witnesses, I should think him acquitted at once. And even now my opinion is not very different. For when you proposed these tribes, you showed plainly that you preferred having judges who were unknown rather than such as were known; you evaded the intention of the law; you discarded every principle of justice; you preferred enveloping the case in obscurity to throwing light upon it. “The Voltinian tribe was corrupted by him.” “He had bought the Terentian tribe.” [43] What could he say then before men of the Voltinian tribe, or before his own tribesmen, if they were his judges? Yes, what rather could you say yourself? What judge of all the number could you find who might be a silent witness of those matters, or which of them could you summon as such? In truth, if the defendant himself were to propose the tribes which were to furnish his judges, Plancius perhaps would have proposed the Voltinian tribe on account of his neighbourhood to and connection with it; but most unquestionably he would have proposed his own. And if he had had to propose the president of the court whom would he have been more likely to propose than this very Caius Alfius, who is the president to whom he ought to be thoroughly well-known, his own neighbour, a man of his own tribe, a most respectable and upright man? Whose impartiality and desire for the safety of Cnaeus Plancius which, without the least suspicion of being influenced by any covetous motives he makes no concealment of, declares plainly enough that my client had no reason to avoid having men of his own tribe for judges, when you see that a man of his own tribe for president was a most desirable thing for him.


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