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The Trial of Christ, by David K. Breed, [1948], at

p. 38



"Reversible Error" is defined in modern law as "such an error as warrants the appellate court in reversing the judgment and remanding the cause." 7 For generations an error has been held not reversible unless, at the time it was made, the party against whom it was made, through his attorney, made specific objection to the action of the trial court and saved a specific "exception" to the ruling; but in 1943 Missouri abolished exceptions and provided in its new Code for Civil Procedure that "it is sufficient that a party, at the time the ruling of the Court is made or sought, makes known to the court the action which he desires the court to take or his objection to the action of the court and his grounds therefor; and if a party has no opportunity to object to a ruling or order at the time it is made, the absence of an objection does not thereafter prejudice him." 8

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[paragraph continues] The said Code, Section 140, goes on to say that "No Appellate court shall reverse any judgment, unless it believes that error was committed by the trial court against appellant, 9 and materially affecting the merits of the action." 10 Exceptions still have to be saved in criminal causes in Missouri, and from a purely technical standpoint there may have been no reversible error in the Trial of Christ, merely because Jesus saved no exceptions, made no objection,—"opened not his mouth." 11 The only statements Jesus did make were in the nature of admissions of His power. 12

IF, however, errors had been pointed out to the trial courts—Annas, Caiaphas, The Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod—then IF an appeal had been had, Jesus would have been able to assign seventeen errors in the trials. 13

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[paragraph continues] We shall note these errors here and annotate them in the footnotes, before passing on to discuss the trials in detail.

These errors are:

1. No process could take place on the Jewish Sabbath or on feast days14

2. No process could be started at night or even afternoon for a trial before a regular Sanhedrin court15

3. It was error for Caiaphas, acting as Judge, to have sought words from the mouth of Christ upon which to convict Him, without first making a prima-facie case with other witnesses16

4. Caiaphas’ Palace was not the meeting place of the Sanhedrin: it was error to hold a trial there17

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5. It was error for Caiaphas to have acted as Judge after having publicly declared that Christ deserved death18

6. It was error to have left Him unguarded, to the unrestrained license of the mob in the gallery of Caiaphas’ palace or court for an hour or more19

7. The Sanhedrin had no jurisdiction in Capital Cases, having been divested of that jurisdiction by the Romans forty years before20

8. The Sanhedrin, if existent, had no power except at a regular meeting21

9. It was error not to appoint someone to defend Him—Jesus had no counsel22

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10. It was error not to have "warned" the witnesses in this capital case, in a Sanhedrin court23

11. The courts erred by not taking into consideration the guilt or innocence of Jesus24

12. It was error to take Christ, as prisoner, before Annas25

13. In modern times it would have been error to require Christ to testify y as a witness against Himself26 but in those days in a trial for Blasphemy there seems to have been authority in favor of requiring what we know as "self incrimination" 27this will be discussed in detail in a later chapter.

14. Roman Law required trials to be public, and the private trial of Christ before Annas and Caiaphas was error28

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15. It was error to convict a man on the testimony of false witnesses; 29under modern law the Jury determines the credibility of the Witnesses30

16. Pilate having announced Jesus not guilty, erred in permitting the verdict of the "mob" to stand. 31 The record shows Christ, after Pilate found "no harm" in Him32 was sent to Herod, then back to Pilate, then turned over to be crucified.

17. It was unlawful and therefore error for the Sanhedrin to convict on the same day as the trial; they could acquit the same day but had to hold a verdict of "guilty" under advisement at least two days33


38:7 54 Corpus Juris, p. 745.

38:8 Mo, Code Civil Procedure, Sec. 122; Laws of Mo., 1943, p. 389.

39:9 Christ would have been the Appellant!

39:10 Ibid, Section 140, p. 395.

39:11 Isaiah 53:7.

39:12 Matt. 26:63, 64; Mk. 14:62; Luke 22:67 thru 70; John 18:20, 23, 34, 36 and 37 and 19:11.

39:13 We are indebted for this list to loan by Myrt A. Rollins, Jr., Esq., of material and permission to quote from (privately published) The Arrest, Trial and Conviction of Jesus Christ From a Lawyer's Standpoint, written by his grandfather, the late James M. Rollins, Esq., of St. Louis, about 1900; p. 21 ff.

40:14 Edersheim, op. cit., II, p. 557; Rabbi A. P. Drucker, The Trial of Jesus from Jewish Sources, pp. 8 and 10; Chandler, The Trial of Jesus from a Lawyer's Standpoint, 2 vols., 1908, I pp. 219 & 263.

40:15 Edersheim, op. cit. II, p. 557; Drucker, op. cit., p. 8; Chandler op. cit., I, 238 and 260.

40:16 Some authorities dispute this assertion in Blasphemy cases where the witness would become guilty upon testifying; see discussion infra, next chapter.

40:17 Edersheim, op. cit., II, p. 556; Drucker, op. cit., p. 8.

41:18 This point is also in dispute, as we discuss in next chapter, because a desire for Jesus death may not be an opinion that He was guilty of Blasphemy; see, John 11:50; Drucker, op. cit., p. 7; Chandler, op. cit., I, 238; Chandler says there ought to have been several judges; MISHNA Pirke Aboth, IV, 8.

41:19 Edersheim, II, 563.

41:20 Edersheim, II, 567; see Strachan, The Fourth Gospel, p. 312 et seq., contra; The Sanhedrin had power over capital offenses at various times but scholars differ on this point; cf., Drucker, op. cit., p. 5; Chandler, op. cit., I, 176 ff., points out that although Herod had put 45 members of the Sanhedrin to death about 30 A.D., the Sanhedrin did exist and had power; see also, Josephus, Ant., xiv, 9, 4; Matthew 16:21; 20:18; Emanuel Deutsch, The Talmud, p. 32.

41:21 Edersheim, II, 556; Drucker, p. 10; inferentially in Chandler, op. cit., I, 265.

41:22 Implied by Edersheim, II, 555.

42:23 Edersheim, II, 557.

42:24 Ibid.

42:25 Edersheim, II, 547, 548.

42:26 Numbers 35:30; U. S. Const. Amendment V (Due Process); Edersheim, II, 557, 558.

42:27 Drucker, op. cit., 7; Seminary lectures of Prof. John Wick Bowman, Ph. D., D. D., quoted in correspondence by Rev. M. Edwards Breed, (Presbyterian), Chillicothe, Mo.; MISHNA, San., 6:2.

42:28 Edersheim, II, 568; public trial today, U. S. Const., Amend. VI.

43:29 Edersheim, II, 558; Chandler, I, 127 ff (Chap. IX); Deut. 17:6; Num. 35:30.

43:30 Jacobs vs. Danciger, 328 Mo. 458, 41 S. W. 2d, 389, 77 A. L. R. 1237; see also, 15 Corpus Juris, 1346.

43:31 Roman Law, XII Tab. IX, 6, "The decrees of the Twelve Tables forbid any uncondemned man whomever be put to death"; in modern law, "Double Jeopardy" is forbidden; U. S. Const. Amend. V; Mo. Const. 1875 Art. II, Sec 23; Mo. Const. 1945 Art. I, Sec. 19 prohibits both "Double Jeopardy" and "Self Incrimination"; although right against self-incrimination is waivable.

43:32 John 18:38; John 19:4; etc. There is some question as to whether Pilate's language was broad enough to be a technical acquittal.

43:33 Edersheim, II, 555; Chandler, I, 279; Mendelsohn, Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews, p. 141.

Next: Chapter V. Five Courts and Six Trials