In this way the Roman criminal
procedure was completely void of principle, and was degraded into
the sport and instrument of political parties; which can the less be
excused, seeing that this procedure, while especially applied to
political crimes proper, was applicable also to others, such as murder
The evil was aggravated by the clumsiness of that
procedure, which, in concert with the haughty republican contempt for
non-burgesses, gave rise to a growing custom of tolerating, side by
side with the more formal process, a summary criminal, or rather
police, procedure against slaves and common people.
Here too the
passionate strife regarding political processes overstepped natural
limits, and introduced institutions which materially contributed to
estrange the Romans step by step from the idea of a fixed moral order
in the administration of justice.