JUSTICE. The constant and perpetual disposition to render every man
his due. Just. Inst. B. 1, tit. 1. Toullier defines it to be the conformity of
our actions and our will to the law. Dr. Civ. Fr. tit. prel. n. 5. In the most
extensive sense of the word, it differs little from virtue, for it includes
within itself the whole circle of virtues. Yet the common distinction between
them is that that which considered positively and in itself, is called virtue,
when considered relatively and with respect to others, has the name of justice.
But justice being in itself a part of virtue, is confined to things simply good
or evil, and consists in a man's taking such a proportion of them as he
2. Justice is either distributive or commutative. Distributive justice is
that virtue whose object is to distribute rewards and punishments to each one
according to his merits, observing a just proportion by comparing one person or
fact with another, so that neither equal persons have unequal things, nor
unequal persons things equal. Tr. of Eq. 3, and Toullier's learned note, Dr.
Civ. Fr. tit. prel. n. 7, note.
3. Commutative justice is that virtue whose object it is to render to every
one what belongs to him, as nearly as may be, or that which governs contracts.
To render commutative justice, the judge must make an equality between the
parties, that no one may be a gainer by another's loss. Tr. Eq. 3.
4. Toullier exposes the want of utility and exactness in this division of
distributive and commutative justice, adopted in the compendium or abridgments
of the ancient doctors, and prefers the division of internal and external
justice; the first being a conformity of our will, and the latter a conformity
of our actions to the law: their union making perfect justice. Exterior justice
is the object of jurisprudence; interior justice is the object of morality. Dr.
Civ. Fr. tit. prel. n. 6 et 7.
5. According to the Frederician code, part 1, book 1, tit. 2, s. 27, justice
consists simply in letting every one enjoy the rights which he has acquired in
virtue of the laws. And as this definition includes all the other rules of
right, there is properly but one single general rule of right, namely, Give
every one his own. See, generally, Puffend. Law of Nature and Nations, B. 1, c.
7, s. 89; Elementorum Jurisprudentiae Universalis, lib. 1, definito, 17, 3, 1;
Gro. lib. 2, c. 11, s. 3; Ld. Bac. Read. Stat. Uses, 306; Treatise of Equity, B.
1, c. 1, s. 1.
JUSTICES. Judges. Officers appointed by a competent authority to
administer justice. They are so called, because, in ancient times the Latin word
for judge was justicia. This term is in common parlance used to designate
justices of the peace.
JUSTICES IN EYRE. They were certain judges established if not first
appointed, A. D. 1176, 22 Hen. II. England was divided into certain circuits,
and three justices in eyre, or justices itinerant, as they were sometimes
called, were appointed to each district, and made the circuit of the kingdom
once in seven years for the purpose of trying causes. They were afterwards
directed by Magna Charta, c. 12, to be sent into every county once a year. The
itinerant justices were sometimes mere justices of assize or dower, or of
general gaol delivery, and the like. 3 Bl. Com. 58-9; Crabb's Eng. Law, 103-4.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE. Public officers invested with judicial powers
for the purpose of preventing breaches of the peace, and bringing to punishment
those who have violated the law.
2. These officers, under the Constitution of the United States and some of
the states, are appointed by the executive in others, they are elected by the
people, and commissioned by the executive. In some states they hold their office
during good behaviour, in others for a limited period.
3. At common law, justices of the peace have a double power in relation to
the arrest of wrong doers; when a felony or breach of the peace has been
committed in their presence, they may personally arrest the offender, or command
others to do so; and in order to prevent the riotous consequences of a
tumultuous assembly, they may command others to arrest affrayers, when the
affray has been committed in their presence. If a magistrate be not present when
a crime is committed, before he can take a step to arrest the offender, an oath
or affirmation must be made by some person cognizant of the fact that the
offence has been committed, and that the person charged is the offender, or
there is probable cause to believe that he has committed the offence.
4. The Constitution of the United States directs, that "no warrants shall
issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation." Amendm. IV.
After his arrest, the person charged is brought before the justice of the peace,
and after bearing he is discharged, held to bail to answer to the complaint, or,
for want of bail, committed to prison.
5. In some, perhaps all the United States, justices of the peace have
jurisdiction in civil cases, given to them by local regulations. In
Pennsylvania, their jurisdiction in cases of contracts, express or implied,
extends to one hundred dollars. Vide, generally, Burn's Justice; Graydon's
Justice Baches Manual of a Justice of the Peace Com. Dig. h. t.; 15 Vin. Ab. 3;
Bac. Ab. h. t.; 2 Sell. Pr. 70; 2 Phil. Ev. 239; Chit. Pr. h. t.; Amer. Dig. h.
JUSTICIAR, or JUSTICIER. A judge, or justice the same as
JUSTICIARII ITINERANTES, Eng. law. They were formerly justices, who
were so called because they went from county to county to administer justice.
They were usually called justices in eyre, (q. v.) to distinguish them from
justices residing at Westminster, who were called justicii residentes. Co. Litt.
293. Vide Itinerant.
JUSTICIARII RESIDENTES, Eng. law. They were justices or judges, who
usually resided in Westminster; they were so called to distinguish them from
justices in eyre. Co. Litt. 293. Vide Justiciarii Itinerantes.
JUSTICIARY, officer. Another name for a judge. In Latin, he was called
justiciciarius, and in French, justicier. Not used. Bac. Ab. Courts and their
JUSTICIES, Eng. law. The name of a writ which acquires its name from
the mandatory words which it contains, "that you do A B justice."
2. The county court has jurisdiction in cases where damages are claimed, only
to a certain amount; but sometimes suits are brought there, when greater damages
are claimed. In such cases, an original writ, by this name, issues out of
chancery, in order to give the court jurisdiction. See 1 Saund. 74, n. 1.
JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE. That which is committed with the intention to
kill, or to do a grievous bodily injury, under circumstances which the law holds
sufficient to exculpate the person who commits it.
2. It is justifiable, 1. When a judge or other magistrate acts in obedience
to the law. 2. When a ministerial officer acts in obedience to a lawful warrant,
issued by a competent tribunal. 3. When a subaltern officer, or soldier, kills
in obedience to the lawful commands of his superior. 4. When the party kills in
3. - §1. A judge who, in pursuance of his duty, pronounces sentence of death,
is not guilty of homicide; for it is evident, that as the law prescribes the
punishment of death for certain offences, it must protect those who are
entrusted with its execution. A judge, therefore, who pronounces sentence of
death, in a legal manner, on a legal indictment, legally brought before him, for
a capital offence committed within his jurisdiction, after a lawful trial and
conviction, of the defendant, is guilty of no offence.
4. - 2. Magistrates, or other officers entrusted with the preservation of the
public peace, are justified in committing homicide, or giving orders which lead
to it, if the excesses of a riotous assembly cannot be otherwise be
5 - §2. An officer entrusted with a legal warrant, criminal or civil, and
lawffully commanded by a competent tribunal to execute it, will be justified in
committing homicide, if, in the course of advancing to discharge his duty, he be
brought into such perils that, without doing so, he cannot either save his life,
or discharge the duty which he is commanded by the warrant to perform. And when
the warrant commands him to put a criminal to death, he is justified in obeying
6. - §3. A soldier on duty is justified in committing homicide, in obedience
to the command of his officer, unless the command was something plainly
7. - §4. A private individual will, in many cases, be justified in committing
homicide, while acting in self-defence. See Self-defence. Vide, generally, 1
East, P. C. 219; Hawk. B. 1, c. 28, s. 1, n. 22; Allis. Prin. 126-139; 1 Russ.
on Cr. 538; Bac. Ab. Murder, &c., E; 2 Wash. C. C. 515; 4 Mass. 891; 1
Hawkes, 210; 1 Coxes R. 424; 5 Yerg. 459; 9 C. & P. 22; S. C. 38 Eng. C. L.
JUSTIFICATION. The act by which a party accused shows and maintains a
good and legal reason in court, why he did the thing he is called upon to
2. The subject will be considered by examining, 1. What acts are justifiable.
2. The manner of making the justification. 3. Its effects.
3. - §1. The acts to be justified are those committed with a warrant, and
those committed without a warrant. 1. It is a general rule, that a warrant or
execution, issued by a court haviug jurisdiction, whether the same be right or
wrong, justifies the officer to whom it is directed and who is by law required
to execute it, and is a complete justification to the officer for obeying its
command. But when the warrant is not merely voidable, but is absolutely void,
as, for want of jurisdiction in the court which issued it, or by reason of the
privilege of the defendant, as in the case of the arrest of an ambassador, who
cannot waive his privilege and immunities by submitting to be arrested on such
warrant, the officer is no longer justified. 1 Baldw. 240; see 4 Mass. 232; 13
Mass. 286, 334; 14 Mass. 210. 2. A person may justify many acts, while acting
without any authority from a court or magistrate. He may justifiably, even, take
the life of an aggressor, while acting in the defence of himself, his wife,
children, and servant, or for the protection of his house, when attacked with a
felonious intent, or even for the protection of his personal property. See
Self-defence. A man may justify what would, otherwise, have been a trespass, an
entry on the land of another for various purposes; as, for example, to demand a
debt due to him by the owner of the land to remove chattels which belong to him,
but this entry must be peaceable; to exercise an incorporeal right; ask for
lodging's at an inn. See 15 East, 615, note e; 2 Lill. Ab. 134; 15 Vin. Ab. 31;
Ham. N. P. 48 to 66; Dane's Ab. Index, h. t.; Entry. It is an ancient principle
of the common law, that a trespass may be justified in many cases. Thus: a man
may enter on the land of another, to kill a fox or otter, which are beasts
against the common profit. 11 H. VIII. 10. So, a house may be pulled down if the
adjoining one be on fire, to prevent a greater destruction. 13 H. VIII. 16, b.
Tua res agitur paries cum proximus ardet. So, the suburbs of a city may be
demolished in time of war, for the good of the commonwealth. 8 Ed. IV. 35, b.
So, a man may enter on his neighbor to make a bulwark in defence of the realm.
21 H. VIII. b. So, a house may be broken to arrest a felon. 13 Ed. IV. 9, a;
Dodd. Eng. Lawy. 219, 220. In a civil action, a man may justify a libel, or
slanderous words, by proving their truth, or because the defendant had a right,
upon the particular occasion, either to write and publish the writing, or to
utter the words; as, when slanderous words are found in a report of a committee
of congress, or in an indictment, or words of a slanderous nature are uttered in
the course of debate in the legislature by a member, or at the bar, by counsel,
when properly instructed by his client on the subject. See Debate; Slander; Com.
Dig. Pleader, 2 L 3 to 2 L 7.
4.- §2. In general, justification must be specially pleaded, and it cannot be
given in evidence under the plea of the general issue.
5. - §3. When the plea of justification is supported by the evidence, it is a
complete bar to the action. Vide Excuse.
JUSTIFICATORS. A kind of compurgators, or those who, by oath,
justified the innocence or oaths of others, as in the case of wagers of law.
JUSTIFYING BAIL, practice. The production of bail in court, who there
justify themselves Against the exception of the plaintiff.