thumbnail of To every man his due; The right to notice
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Reader as though the faults here in da spy I pray thee to correct them with a pen. The author is close prisoner knows not why and shall have liberty but knows not when but if he falls as he hath lived he dies all faithful martyr for our liberties. John little burn freedom fighter with a flare and leather lungs three hundred years ago outraged about the state of his government raged about the way others were treated outraged about the way he was treated. Resentful loved put upon disturbed wounded beaten furious. A turbulent spirit if there ever was one. Just listen to him. Yet considering how vehemently at present my life is sought after and that those who so earnestly desire my blood have by their politic agents field almost every man's mouth with clamors against me saying that I have ever been and continue a man of a turbulent spirit always opposing
and flying in the faces of all authorities never satisfied who ever is uppermost and that therefore it is very requisite to be taken off and that otherwise England must never look to rest long in peace. Yea so turbulent that if there were no Naaman the world but John little burn rather than want one to strive with all joy. I would certainly quarrel with little rare and priceless man John Lilburne and no bag of wind he. This is the close to a long track called Legal fundamental liberties written while a prisoner in the Tower of London. An honest and true bred free Englishman that never in his life feared a tyrant nor loved an oppressor from my close unjust and causeless captivity in the Tower of London this eighth of June 16 49 the first year of England's declared freedom by the lying and false pretended conservators thereof
that never intended it. John livered. Who are the lying and false pretended conservators. His captors of course the very people who had him in their power John Lilburne was no card. Once after having been marched from his home by several hundred soldiers to appear before the most powerful consul in England. After carefully considering the matter of his hat the wearing of hats in the presence of the high and mighty was a matter of importance to little burn. He took his hat off in this case because they were members of parliament present. After having wagged his sharp tongue across the council delivered the following defiant statement. But now sir with your favor one word more to mind you again of what I said before in reference to my military imprisonment. And Truly sir I must tell you circumstantial my liberty at this time I shall not much dispute. But for essentials of them I shall die. I am now in the soldier's custody. We are to continue in silence and
patience is absolutely to betray my liberty for they have no thing to do with me nor the meanest free man of England in this case. And besides they have no rules to walk by but their wills and their swords which are dangerous thinks it may be I may be hasty and choleric temperate. And not able nor willing to bear affront and they may be as willing to put them upon me as I am unwilling to bear them. And for you in this case to put five intended together to burn up one another will not be much commendable. Not tend much to the accomplishment of your rant. And these are brave words from one unarmed man surrounded by several hundred soldiers but he is not finished. But if for all of these you shall send me back to the military sword again either to Whitehall or any other like Garrison place in England. I do
solemnly protest before the eternal God of heaven and earth. I will fire it burn it down to the ground if possibly I can all for I be burnt to ashes with the flames there are. Burned had been in and out of prison a good many times had been flogged once to the tune of 500 lashes. And he said he had seen his blood spilled in punishment three other times as well. He knew what he was facing but he was a man of principle. He said so to in signing another tract signed John Milburn that never yet changed his principles from better to worse nor could never be frightened out of them nor quoted from them written from the Tower of London. Free born John they called him you might today be called a character. We are controversial a trouble maker a do gooder kind of egghead. But the hard boiled kind he was in fact a man whose principles were more than
words. He staked his family his possessions and his body for them not with a weary shattered mind of a fighting soldier. He was sharply conscious of distant implications of nuances. Without him and others like him who fought for principle in the past and fight for it today none of us would be born free. And one thing more about free born John. It could have been squashed like a cracker on the floor had it not been for the fact that he had support at his treason trial he said. I call upon you the jury to know your Consider your duty oath to God to me to your own selves. And to your country. The verdict not guilty was. Such.
To every man his a series of radio programs about the principles of justice. To every man his due is produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasts. Known as the right to motives. Lieutenant Colonel John Byrne for a board job. Poor upstart John that troublemaker John Welbourn rode out his days in an England which beheaded a king and board a military dictator and then another king his England was torn by faction dispute. Civil war. There were the Royalists the seekers the Catholics the Presbyterians the fifth monarchists the Ranters the levelers the Quakers the Baptists the Anabaptists
to name a few. Principle opposed principle and the raw force had its day. Little Burns principles and those of his followers the levelers were the principles that underlie our own form of government and he practiced his principles demanded his rights in times of dictatorship. Select any principle from the Constitution and the odds are strong that Lilburne acted it out in the face of a dictator select any right from the Bill of Rights. Little burn very probably demanded it and lived it out at his own cost consider the rights and principles that stand between free men and prison or execution on Wednesday the twenty eighth of March sixteen forty nine about four or five o'clock in the morning. My lodging at Winchester House was be set. Well why do you knock at my door at this hour of the night. I have columns. What would you have your own sir. I have come to take your present. Oh truly you
and all these soldiers with you. Truly I will see your warrant for my arrest you're all well. Come with me and also I will see your warrant before I come with you. You will see my warrant after you will come with me. If you walk by the rules of justice you will have brought your warrant with you and you will have shown it to me and you will have given me time to copy it out that I may defend myself. You have not been to hell. OK but you know that well. Would you frightening my wife and children. I will go with you. You have force enough here to capture a small city and I. Was joined by two other prisoners and the three were marched off under a guard of almost 200 infantry and kept away through the streets. The victors carried us like good slaves making us to home. By the way that saw them in my draw up in good order
to encounter with an army of butter. They were carried before the Council of State the most powerful body in England were little burn protested. I do hear before you all protest your power and jurisdiction over me in the case in controversy. And you also protest your warrant issued out to apprehend me and against all your military and hostile acts committed against me as illegal unjust tyrannical and in no way in law to be justified after legal combat with the council of state prisoners were marched off to the tar. Now it's true that along the way to the hearing little bird managed to talk the soldiers into releasing two of the prisoners. Others had been added and that along the way to the tower after the hearing he managed to talk his captors into letting him return home for a few hours. These were acts of kindness and common sense. But the point is
that the prisoners ended up locked in the Tower of London after having tried a very short path. Indeed the Council of states that spider in its web its arms were a military force at the center of the web prison and the executioners block the passage from home to prison was swift and sure one sweeping motion by one organism. By contrast a prisoner in our system of justice arrives at pretrial confinement by bucket brigade passed from hand to hand with pauses along the way for examination of the legal contents of the bucket. In all federal cases after arrest perhaps on a warrant signed by a second party the prisoner is carried to a third party. A federal commissioner or magistrate who examines the evidence and informs
the prisoner of his rights if the charge against him is serious. The prisoner's case may then be brought before a grand jury of 12 to 23 persons who will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant bringing him to trial. If the grand jury thinks that the evidence available to the prosecution if true would support a conviction it files charges which are known as an indictment. Or if the offense is less serious his case will be examined by a federal prosecutor who may draw up formal charges in a document known as a bill of information. Each motion along the bucket brigade is a step away from the emotion that attended the original arrest and a step toward reason and no single organism controls the prisoner. In most western states and arrested person is given a preliminary hearing
after the preliminary hearing and information is filed by the prosecutor. Most other states still use the grand jury for most offenses. The remaining states fall somewhere in between. No railroad runs from arrest to trial. It's a bucket brigade. John Lilburne at another time another case another point of human rights called before the House of Lords my lords. I will not submit to any judgment of this house against me in a criminal cause. But would I rather undergo all dance and miseries which the weight of man can devise for his. Oh all right. Yes thank. You. The matter of proper jurisdiction was of great importance to a man dedicated to laws that came from the people and not from the Lords of all creation.
Free born John protested the jurisdiction of the House of Lords on June 11th. Sixteen forty six and was led off to prison for his pains. He was returned to the House of Lords as a delinquent on June 23rd. At the bar. I will not. You must know the link what must meet you at the bar. I will not meet you. You will kneel I tell you so you know at this time and for this reason because. Charges were drawn against little burn charges of high crimes and misdemeanors. He was returned to the House of Lords on July 10th to hear the charges read against him. And on that day free born John pointed up the significance of proper notice by one of the most extraordinary procedures yet met within the law.
Read the challenge. Read the charge that he may hear it and make his death and I will not hear it my lord but you will hear it. If we cannot make you me you cannot make yourself death that you do not hear the shot. Read the. Good Lord. Slowly to the astonishment of all the free born John raised his hands from his sides and with great deliberation thrust a finger into each year. Free born John was removed again returned the order to keep his fingers out of his ears and listened as the charge against him. He stuck his fingers in his ears nonetheless and was removed again. Made a problem proper notice is so important to the processes of justice that no court
wishing to maintain even a semblance of justice can afford to ignore it. And the House of Lords wish to maintain a semblance of justice. It made a problem. The Lords pondered and reached a solution. For one thing little Byrne had shown high contempt for the honor and dignity of the house. No one could argue with that. Then too it was decided that one thing or in each year constituted an admission of the offense charged little burning went off to that familiar place. The tower with a seven year term. In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district where in the crime shall have been committed which district shall have been previously ascertained by law and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation to be confronted with the witnesses against him.
To have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense. The sixth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The phrase. And to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation is an indispensable requirement it such a requirement because our system of justice is based on a search for facts for the truth of the case. Long experience with the foibles of mankind has shown that the defense will do a better job of bringing in defensive truths in presenting a defensive case than will the prosecution. The defense can't search out the truth if it does not have the specific charge in hand long before going to court. If a man is charged with having committed a particular murder on the night of July 22nd and if he knows the charge ahead of time he may prove that he was a thousand miles away from the scene of the crime at the time of the
crime. The same charge brought with surprise into a trial might leave no time to prove anything. Proper notice includes adequate time for preparation. It is obviously essential to justice and there is another element included in the requirement of proper notice. Take John little burn in his home away from home. The Tower of London. The author is close prisoner knows not why. From my close unjust and causeless captivity this was not the case of the House of Lords. It was the case of little burn and the arrest by soldiers. He was he claimed suffering from Constance captivity. He knew not why this was the order that sent him to the tower. These are the will and require you to receive here with him to your custody. The person of Lieutenant Colonel John Willoughby. And him safely to keep
in your prison of the Tower of London until you receive father order. He being committed to you upon suspicion of high treason. Now how can a man defend himself against that. I arrest you no. An officer might say I arrest you on suspicion of murder. I am the preliminary magistrate who presides at hearings preliminary. I'm listening speak your evidence your honor I suspect this man of murder has there been a murder lately. Live your honor. That's good solid evidence. Facts are facts and must be considered when were they committed this year story and in this city Kohala murder will out you know and why this meant noice knives in his kitchen poisoned in his garage. A gun in his closet and water enough in his bath to drown anyone. Further he was in a city at the time all year. Well here he had a rope in the trunk of his car and a jack handle and enough glass in his windows which you have grown would ruin our
regiment. Besides look say that the way wrings its hands that crafty smile the look of his eyes. So I spare a shadow dog suspicion but what of motive. He's been heard to say and I quote I cannot stand people who talk to my suspicion of suspicion. They were all capable of talking those poor victims. Lock him up. But your on assignments take him to the prosecutor. I am the prosecutor. You understand I understand. I am going to prosecute you on suspicion of murder. I shall draw up the information with skill and daring with accuracy and precision exactly. And I want you to understand exactly that. If you had been before a grand jury and had found the evidence against you that would have been up resentment. Do you understand. I do. And if you had been charged by a grand jury on the basis of evidence presented by me that would have been an indictment. Do you
understand. Am I not precise. Exactly. However we do not have a grand jury indictment in this state more's the pity. So I have filed an information against you. Is that specific. Quite charging you with murder. Is that not exact. Not quite. Which murder you all find out. Where did it take place. Somewhere around the sitting when this year. How low you will see. Prepared to defend yourself. Who did I murder my deah fellow. If you don't know. Why should I tell you. Oh God don't. An accused must have proper notice adequate time to prepare his case and a specific accusation which makes it possible to prepare a case.
What you up to all of it with high crimes and misdemeanors. I may as well if left my fingers in my ears little saucy thing go with no bear can be no fair trial in this country unless it follows at a decent distance behind a concrete specific accusation which makes it possible to prepare a case which is understandable to the accused and which outlines a case which would be understandable to a jury. The same principle applies to the laws themselves. A law which doesn't give citizens their notice that a certain act is a crime is no law at all. This for example it's against the law to be bad. Well and you will be hanged for being bad but. Being bad is bad. A law which declared it a crime to be bad in this country would be struck down immediately by our courts as void void for vagueness.
Citizens simply can't follow and obey laws which do not specify which particular piece of behavior is against the law. That principle applies in general around the world wherever courts operate in a civilized fashion. Dictators and tyrants of all sorts around the world and through history have had a difficult time of it in gaining power where courts and citizens followed their own procedures of justice and no tyrant of any sort can stay in power where courts are places of justice. Consequently most tyrants of followed the happy device hit upon by. What a monster. How so. Well look where he's posted the laws. Caligula a Roman emperor. One of the most tyrannical and mad so named for the rough soldier's boots he always wore which symbolized his rule posted his laws according to legend.
Up there up there in the highest place in the smallest possible way so that no one can read them. Good lord we could be breaking the law standing here and trying to read the law. And that was the purpose. If no one knew the law ahead of time anyone might break the law any time a good tyrant can get rid of almost anyone that way. But modern minds don't tolerate such crude stuff. Consequently in 1926 the communists in Russia produced a refinement. It is a crime to indulge in socially dangerous conduct any one at any time of course might be picked up for conducting themselves socially dangerously. Hitler added to refinement all his own. In 1935 in Germany it is a crime to conduct oneself in a fashion contrary to the sound feelings of the people.
That was a good one. The sound feelings of the people has the power of a good positive thought to it. A good sound sense of public relations in this country such laws would be struck down void for vagueness or to put it another way. In this country there can be no criminal act unless that act breaks the law. We walk in freedom in this country because we know that a few specific acts are criminal under the law and that beyond them any behavior is safe and free. An act may be objectionable. Wrong. Bad socially dangerous or contrary to the sound feelings of the people. But unless the law calls it a crime it is not a crime. One point more remains in England before they beheaded the king.
It was against the law. It was treason to think treason murder to imagine killing the king killing Guillot would have enjoyed that one when men can be punished for their thoughts. Who shall name the facts of the case who bear witness who proved beyond reasonable doubt a treasonable plot was thought no one such a law sets everyone within the unrestricted power of the people in authority. Consequently in this country it is a rule. It is a rule that men may be punished for behavior for acts but not for thoughts. No law punishing thought would stand up in American courts under the Constitution. Such a law would belong with laws hung too high to be read to veg to avoid and with accusations too vague to make a case. Our courts stand squarely in the path of tyranny. The right to notice guided by the courts is indeed a bulwark of freedom. But one more notice is needed here perhaps because a
few thousand bench weary judges and a few thousand lawyers can hardly oppose a tyrannical juggernaut. The notice from leather lungs John reborn John Lilburne the turbulence. But their countryman. Asked them what evil I have done and they can show you none. No my great and only fault is that. I will never brook whilst I live to see and beside. The law and rights of the nation trod under foot for what is done to anyone. It may be done to everyone. Besides being all members of one body the Commonwealth one man should not suffer wrongly but all should be sensible and endeavor his preservation otherwise they give way to an inlet of the sea of will and power upon the law and liberty which are the boundaries to keep out tyranny and oppression. And
who not in such cases betrays his own rights and is overrun and of a free man made a slave when he thinks not of it or Regards it not shunning the same sure of. Turbulence Kerberos the guilt of treachery to the present and future generations. To every man his due is produced by a radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters script by Milburn and Elizabeth Carlson content consultant David film and music by Don vaguely. Production by Carl Schmidt. This is the end of a
To every man his due
The right to notice
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-930nwz9k).
Episode Description
The Right to Notice: what is a Crime?
Other Description
Dramatic-narrative series on principles of justice under the American system of law, particularly the rights of defendants.
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Advisor: Fellman, David, 1907-2003
Music Director: Voegeli, Don
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Carlson, Elizabeth
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 62-17-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “To every man his due; The right to notice,” 1961-10-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 29, 2022,
MLA: “To every man his due; The right to notice.” 1961-10-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 29, 2022. <>.
APA: To every man his due; The right to notice. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from