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they, when they refer to them, are intended to include females as well as males, unless there is some expression to the contrary:
ART. 4.- Whenever this code forbids or directs by using the general terms-any one; one ; any person; whoever, or the relative pronoun-he; referring to any such general term, the same prohibition or direction (if the contrary be not expressed) is extended to more persons than one, doing or omitting the same act; and in like manner, when the plural-persons, or the relative—they, is used in any mandatory or prohibitory disposition of the law; the direction or prohibition applies to any one person, doing or omitting the same act.
ART. 5. Whenever any thing is directed or forbidden with respect to one object or thing, the same direction or prohibition extends to more than one of the same objects or things, and a direction or prohibition as to more objects than one, includes the same prohibition as to a single one of the same objects.
ART. 6. All words printed in the body of this work, in small capitals, are defined and explained in the first book, and when thus printed, are used in no other sense than that given to them by such definition or explanation.
ART. 7. Every word or phrase employed in this work, other than those so printed, is to be taken and construed in the sense in which it is commonly used, by men who understand the language.
ART. 8. It is not intended that each article should contain in itself a complete expression of legislative will, on the subject of which it treats,
- independant of the other articles of the same section ; the whole are to be considered together ; to avoid repetition, a provision in one article, sometimes relates to something expressed in another; an example of which is found in the article iminediately preceding this, where the words “SO -printed,” relate to printing in “small capitals," provided for in the section preceding it.
No act of legislation can be, or ought to be, immutable. Changes are required by the alteration of circumstances; amendments, by the imperfection of all human institutions; but laws ought never 10 · be changed without great deliberation; and a due consideration as well of the reasons on which they were founded, as of the circumstances under which they were enacted. It is therefore proper, in the formation of new laws, to state clearly the motives for making them, and the principles by which the framers were governed in their enactment. Without a knowledge of these, future legislatures cannot perform the task of amendment, and there can be neither consistency in legislation, nor uniformity in the interpretation of laws.
For these reasons the general assembly of the
state of Louisiana declare, that their objects in esta. blishing the following code, are
To remove doubts relative to the authority of any parts of the penal law of the different nations by which this state, before its independence, was governed.
To embody into one law and to arrange into system, such of the various prohibitions enacted by different statutes as are proper to be retained in the penal code.
To include in the class of offences, acts injurious to the state and its inhabitants, which are not now forbidden by law.
To abrogate the reference (which now exists) to a foreign law for the definition of offences, and the mode of prosecuting them.
To organize a connected system for the prevention as well as for the prosecution and punishment of offences.
To collect into one code, and to express in plain language, all the rules which it.
be necessary to establish, for the protection of person, property, condition, reputation, and government ; the penalties and punishments attached to a breach of those rules ; the legal means of preventing offences, and the forms of prosecuting them when committed ; the rules of evidence, by which the truth of accusations are to be tested, and the duties of executive and judicial officers, jurors and individuals, in preventing, prosecuting, and punishing offences : to the end, that no one need be ignorant of any branch of
criminal jurisprudence, which it concerns all to know.
And to change the present penal laws, in all those points in which they contravene the following principles; which the general assembly consider as fundamental truths, and which they have made the basis of their legislation on this subject; to wit :
Vengeance is unknown to the law. The only object of punishment is to prevent the commission of offences: it should be calculated to operate,
First, on the delinquent, so as by seclusion to deprive him of the present means, and by habits of industry and temperance, of any future desire, to repeat the offence.
Secondly, on the rest of the community, so as to deter them by the example, from a like contravention of the laws. No punishments greater than are necessary to effect these ends, ought to be inflicted.
No acts or omissions should be declared to be offences, but such as are injurious to the state, to societies permitted by the laws, or to individuals.
But penal laws should not be multiplied without evident necessity; therefore acts, though injurious to individuals or societies, should not be made liable to public prosecution, where they may be sufficiently repressed by private suit.
From the imperfection of all human institutions, and the inevitable errors of those who manage them, it sometimes happens, that the innocent are condemned to suffer the punishment due to the guilty. Punishments should therefore be of such a nature,
that they may be remitted (and as far as possible, compensated) in cases where the injustice of the sentence becomes apparent.
Where guilt is ascertained the punishment should be speedily inflicted.
Penal laws should be written in plain language, clearly and unequivocally expressed, that they may neither be misunderstood nor perverted ; they should be so concise, as to be remembered with ease; and all technical phrases or words they contain, should be clearly defined. They should be promulgated in such a manner as to force a knowledge of their provisions upon the people; to this end, they should not only be published, but taught in the schools; and publicly read on stated occasions.
The law should never command more than it can enforce. Therefore, whenever, from public opinion, or any other cause, a penal law cannot be carried into execution, it should be repealed.
The accused, in all cases, should be entitled to a public trial, conducted by known rules, before impartial judges, and an unbiassed jury; to a copy of the act of accusation against him, to the delay necessary to prepare for his trial;
for his trial ; to process to enforce the attendance of his own witnesses ; and to an opportunity of seeing, hearing, and examining those who are produced against him ; to the assistance of counsel for his defence ; to free communication with such counsel, if in confinement, and to be bailed in all cases, except those particularly specified by law. No presumption of guilt, however violent, can justify the infliction of any punishment before