By John K. Brackett

This booklet makes use of as an index of princely strength a radical exam of the key parts of the Florentine procedure of felony justice--court of the Otto Di Guardia e Balia (Eight on Public Safety), police, prisons, family members with lesser courts within the dominion--which unearths the level in their effectiveness within the capital urban and the topic territory. The author's research finds the determinative position performed via the economic limits put on the approach. those limits are extra vital to realizing the nature of the procedure than is any ideology of repression or absolutism. actually, the procedure of legal justice was once considered one of negotiation, during which numerous avid gamers, all with a few energy, deployed options that helped them to achieve their pursuits. therefore, the method used to be versatile and comparatively average. via this index, the phrases "absolutist" and "absolutism" aren't precious in figuring out the kind of strength exercised through the Medici Grand Dukes.

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Additional info for Criminal Justice and Crime in Late Renaissance Florence, 1537-1609

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A crucial point was reached in June 1558, when all eight citizen-judges were removed by the auditore fiscale, Alfonso Quistelli, at the behest of Cosimo I. These judges were the scapegoats for colleagues who had recently held office and whose alleged incompetence and independence had angered the grand duke. 61 This "massacre" was the culmination of years of efforts by Cosimo to restrict the independence of the magistrates. In 1543 he had created the office of the auditorefiscale,with authority to review all decisions made by the Eight and all other magistracies with a criminal competence.

The independence of these officials, in changing penalties and absolving suspects, derived not only from their statutory prerogatives, but also from their high social status. The secretaries, who did depend on state salaries for their livelihood (but, as was pointed out in Chapter 1, some also held multiple positions from which they collected sizable percentages of the salaries that went with those offices even after leasing the exercise of these positions to authorized substitutes), received 100 scudi, and 6 lire annually, to which was added a manda (tip) of 30 scudi and after 1538 an additional manda estraordinaria of 45 scudi.

A rough equivalency was established: The rate of pay of the two cancellieri was based on that of the secretary; that of the coadiutore was linked to the salary of the better paid cancellieri; the two comandatori were paid at a rate equal to three-fourths the stipend of the captain. 2 Salaries were paid regularly, with the exception of the period 1548-1562, when they were suspended either in total or in part. Heavy demands on the granducal fisc imposed these limits on expenditures for criminal justice.

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