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The Latin term for disobedience to the commands of a magistrate or judge, especially absence from a trial without sufficient excuse. If the accuser were absent, he was considered as dropping his charge (see TERGIVERSATIO), which he was not allowed to renew. The absence of the accused was taken as an admission of guilt. In a civil trial the consequence was immediate condemnation; and the like was the case in criminal trials if the accused failed to appear at the appointed time, or on the last day of the trial. If the accused saw that his condemnation was certain, it was quite common for him to retire and in capital cases to go into voluntary exile; a proceeding which in no way influenced the further course of the proceedings.
Type: Standard
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