XXIX.15 That it is sometimes good for a law to correct itself

The law of the Twelve Tables allo­wed killing the night thief as well as the day thief who, being pur­sued, tried to defend him­self1 ; but it expec­ted the man who killed the thief to cry out and call the citi­zens2 ; and that is some­thing which laws that allow peo­ple to exact their own jus­tice should always require. It is the cry of inno­cence which at the moment of action calls for wit­nes­ses, calls for jud­ges. The peo­ple must become aware of the act, and become aware of it at the moment it was taken, at a time where eve­ry­thing speaks : the demea­nor, the face, the pas­sions, the silence, and where every word condemns or jus­ti­fies. A law that can become so contrary to the secu­rity and free­dom of the citi­zens should be car­ried out in the pre­sence of the citi­zens.

See law IV following ad Legem Aquilia.

Ibid. See decree of Tassillon, appended to the law of the Bavarians, De popularibus legem art. 4.