The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

If God Knows All, He Must Know Even Criminal Procedure …

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

It is said that Lord Chief Justice Holt, who served as the English Chief Justice from 1689 to 1710, was once approached at home by an associate of a criminal defendant whom Holt had committed for trial; both the associate and the defendant were members of a group of religious zealots. The associate told the Chief Justice, "I come to you a prophet from the Lord God, who has sent me to thee, and would have thee grant a nolle prosequi for Mr. Atkins, His servant, whom thou hast cast into prison."

Holt responded: "Thou art a false prophet, and a lying knave. If the Lord God had sent thee, it would have been to the Attorney General, for He knows that it belongeth not to the Chief Justice to grant a nolle prosequi: but as Chief Justice, I can grant a warrant to commit thee to bear him company."