proces świętokradców z 1775 roku; Postępowanie w sprawach kryminalnych
"Z Dziejów Prawa" (T. 1 (2008), s. 35-66)
The Polish towns located on the Magdeburg law till the end of the 18th century used a separate
law, i.e. the German law. The main source of this law constituted the Middle Age notes: Zwierciadło
saskie (Sachsenspiegel) and Weichbild magdeburski. In the modern times, however, it was
shaped mainly through practice. The practice, though, is not well-examined. Little is known especially
about the actions leading to the establishment of the suspects and their captivation taken
beyond the court.
The process covering a big number of the accused, mainly Jews, who were charged with taking
part in church robberies, gaining, storing and buying the stolen objects was held in Kraków
in 1775. On the basis of a detailed analysis of the course of the trial, one can state that it combined
complaint-contradiction and inquisition elements, whereas the latter dominated. The trial proceeding
was formalized to a small extent. New suspects were still being added, others were being
convicted or set free. The trial giving new circumstantial evidence before the court, was systematically
completed with the actions by the law enforcement bodies. Resulting in arresting the suspects,
searching the places, saving the object proofs. In so doing, various organs cooperated with
one another — not only the authorities of different towns, but also the village dominial authorities.
A big efficiency of these organs should be emphasized, especially when there was no legal regulation
constituting the principles of such a cooperation.
It is unknown, however, what the scale of court cooperation and other organs in capturing the
criminal offences was. Our remarks were made on the basis of a single example, and their verification
needs further examination.