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The term used by the Romans for the person accused, especially in a criminal trial. In such a case custom required the accused to appear in public in the garb of mourning, with beard and hair in an unkempt condition, in neglected attire, and stripped of every sign of rank. The mere accusation involved some suspension of legal rights, preventing the reus from standing for any office and from exercising the functions of a judge. The higher officials were exempt from criminal accusation while in office and when engaged in the discharge of public business. Lastly, lawsuits between two persons connected by ties of family or office, such as parents and children, patrons and clients, were regarded as inadmissible.

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