Benefit of clergy sentence example
These claimed benefit of clergy and were branded in the hand and released.
At common law benefit of clergy was denied to robbers of churches.
This canon was adopted and explained by an English statute of 1276; and bigamy, therefore, became a usual counterplea to the claim of benefit of clergy.
However, by an act of 1547 every person entitled to the benefit of clergy is to be allowed the same, "although he hath been divers times married to any single woman or single women, or to any widow or widows, or to two wives or more."
In time, " benefit of clergy " became entirely diverted from its original objects.Advertisement
This diversity of jurisdiction, and subjection of the clergy only to the sentences of judges bribed by their esprit de corps to judge leniently, led to the adoption of a scale of punishments for the offences of clerks avowedly much lighter than that which was inflicted for the same crimes on laymen; and this in turn led to the survival in England, long after the Reformation, of the curious legal fiction of benefit of clergy (see below), used to mitigate the extreme harshness of the criminal law.