APPEALS IN THE POLISH WITCH-TRIALS IN THE 17TH AND 18TH CENTURIES
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Appeals in the Polish witch trials in the 17th and 18th centuries were most probably seldom lodged, and the available records allow us merely to point at their possible variants. The verdicts of higher courts, however, demonstrate that the Crown justice system tended to lower sentences and nullify torture warrants. The highest courts of appeal for witch trials in towns were the Court courts (especially Chancellor's court) and Crown Tribunal that reconsidered the witchcraft cases transferred directly from the courts of first instance. However, it was also possible to appeal to a provincial court. There were no general rules as to the appeal procedure in the country, which consequently was applied according to local custom as well as guidelines contained in the local 'wilkierz' defining court jurisdiction and competence. The noble courts of first instance in the Polish territory did not prosecute witchcraft offences. The cases related to witchcraft and actually tried in these courts were in practice classified as: breach of civil peace, encroachment upon patrimonial jurisdiction, home intrusion, or damage to property (Polish written law did not know of witchcraft offences). Any resulting appeals - as in the case of the town courts - went to the Court courts.
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