There can be such a magis­trate only under des­po­tic govern­ment. We see in Roman his­tory to what extent a sin­gle judge can abuse his power. How could Appius in his tri­bu­nal not have scof­fed at the laws, since he vio­la­ted even the one he had made ?1 Livy tells us of the unjust dis­tinc­tion of the decem­vir : he had subor­ned a man who clai­med Virginia as his slave before him ; Virginia’s family peti­tio­ned him by vir­tue of his law to return her to them pen­ding the defi­ni­tive judg­ment. He decla­red that his law had been made only for the father’s bene­fit, and that in the absence of Virginius it could not apply.2

See Law 2, §24 ss., De origine juris.

Quod pater puellæ abesset locum injuriæ esse ratus [‘Because the girl’s father was absent, he thought it an opportune moment to commit an injustice’] (Livy, Decade I, book III).