The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
No Unanimous Death Sentence Permitted
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:
( Ms Suzy scans her notes for a few seconds, adjusts her papers into a neat stack and rises from her chair, walking over to the jury and begins to address them.)
The strangest and most unusual of all the pronouncements of the ancient Jewish laws was the requirement that, in death-penalty cases, the verdict of the Sanhedrin could NOT be unanimous!
Modern jurisprudence, extending back for a thousand years, has provided, in direct conflict with that odd Hebrew statute, that no man could be sentenced to die until there was first recorded a unanimous verdict.
If all did not agree thereon, then a mistrial would have to be entered, and the accused would be tried a second time, at some later date.
Here is quoted that rare, and now long forgotten, law on that subject:
"The unanimous verdict of guilt, in a capitol case, has the effect of acquittal."
It, therefore, follows, that, under the Jewish laws, regardless of how heinous or atrocious the offense might be, just so long as the sentence of death is sought, the accused went scot free unless at least the vote of condemnation was not unanimous.
And there was another provision, somewhat unusual.
A majority vote of at least two members was required before one could be convicted- and a majority vote of one for acquittal would result in his freedom!
This, however, applied only to the Great Sanhedrin- the court in which the Christ was "tried."
I want to remind you that, in the time of Christ, there was no such thing as a lawyer appearing before the court in defense of a person charged with a crime.
Lawyers, in that sense, and for that purpose, were unheard of, under the Hebrew system of jurisprudence.
The "lawyers" and scribes were men well versed in the Mosaic laws, and would interpret them for the officers of the courts- but that was the limit of their activities.
And it was mainly for that reason that the court officers usually performed the duties of modern-day lawyers, in the Jewish courts.
Since the accused had no one to defend him, such as an advocate before the bar, it became the sworn duty of the judges to see to it that the rights of the accused were fully protected; that he had a fair and impartial trial; that no advantage was taken of him by the court; that the verdict of guilt would be based on believable and competent testimony, beyond a reasonable doubt, and to a moral certainty.
So, then, the judges of the Sanhedrin were obliged to become the defenders of the prisoner!
( Ms Suzy composes herself before continuing.)
To do otherwise, they felt, would amount to mob violence.
And the membership of the Sanhedrin certainly did not want "mob violence" to take over and control the court!
That is, not until Jesus appeared before them!
In spite of the Hebrew laws, I quoted, we come to the question of the verdict of guilt by the Sanhedrin.
Were they unanimous in their decision against the Christ?
Here is exactly what was said and done by them, on that occasion of His trial:
Immediately after the high priest had rent his clothes saying "What need we any further witnesses?
Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?
And they ALL condemned Him to be guilty of death."
"ALL," we know, means "everyone" present.
That, then, was unquestionably a unanimous verdict of guilt- and the imposition of the penalty of death!
And, since it was unanimous, it was in violation of the Jewish law, and void!
How could one possibly defend those corrupt Sanhadrinists by trying to explain or to justify their unlawful acts?
That they well knew the laws of their own society must be admitted- that they deliberately and spitefully ignored those laws has been abundantly shown herein- and taken from the record of the inspired Word of God!
Immediately after Caiaphas heard the vote of his fellow judges, then, under the law of unanimity, he would have had to announce the complete acquittal of Jesus.
That is, if he had followed the law- which he has sworn to do- but, instead, with a glow of satisfaction and victory upon his sordid countenance, he accepted it as final and legal- and then made plans to take the bound Christ before the Roman Governor for his approval!
Is there little wonder, in view of what was transpiring, during those "trials," that they conspired to have the Jewish court meet under the cover of darkness, after the hour of midnight?
History tells us that most all acts of foul-play, including robbery, rape and murder, happen after God's glorious sun has gone to rest- and when darkness covers the land.
It was in the nighttime that Caiaphas and his puppets of the Sanhedrin committed this series of crimes:
They robbed Jesus of His legal rights; they raped the Jewish laws, and they murdered their innocent victim!
And, with it all, the great Compassionate Heart of the Son of God, in His dying moments on Calvary's hill, uttered a prayer that His murderers be forgiven- on the premise that they knew not what they were doing!
Only the forgiving Spirit of God's only begotten Son would have done that!