Crim. law. By the common law no one is bound to accuse himself. Nemo tenetur prodere seipsum
. In England, by the statutes of Philip and Mary, (1 & 2 P. & M. c. 13; 2 & 3 P. & M. c. 10,) the principles of which have been adopted in several of the United States, the justices before whom any person shall be brought, charged with any of the crimes therein mentioned, shall take the examination of the prisoner, as well is that of the witnesses, in writing, which the magistrates shall subscribe, and deliver to the officer of the court
where the trial is to be had. The signature of the prisoner, when not specially required by statute, is not indispensable, though it is proper to obtain it, when it can be obtained. 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 87; 2 Leach, Cr. Cas. 625.
2. It will be proper to consider, 1. The requisites of such examination. 2. How it is to be proved. 3. Its effects.
3. - 1. It is required that it should, 1st. Be voluntarily made, without any compulsion of any kind; and, 2d. It must be reduced to writing. 1st. The law is particularly solicitous to let the prisoner be free in making declarations in his examination; and if the prisoner has not been left entirely free, or did not consider himself to be so, or if he did not feel at liberty wholly to decline any explanation or declaration whatever, the examination is not considered voluntary, and the writing cannot be read in evidence against him, nor can parol evidence
be received of what the prisoner said on the occasion. 5 C. & P. 812; 7 C. & P. 177; 1 Stark. R. 242; 6 Penn. Law Journ. 120. The prisoner, of course
, cannot be sworn, and make his statement under oath. Bull. N. P. 242; 4 Hawk. P. C. book 2, c. 46, §37; 4 C. & P. 564. 2a. The statute requires that the examination shall be reduced to writing, or so much as may be material, and the law presumes the magistrate did his duty and took down all that was material. Joy on Conf. 89-92; 1 Greenl. Ev. §227. The prisoner need not sign the examination so reduced to writing, to give it validity; but, if being asked to sign it, he absolutely refuse, it will be considered incomplete. 2 Stark. R. 483; 2 Leach, Cr. Cas. 627, n.
4. - 2. The certificate of the magistrate is conclusive evidence of the manner in which the examination was conducted. 7 C. & P. 177; 9 C. & P. 124; 1 Stark. R. 242. Before it can be given in evidence, its identity must be proved, as well as the identity of the prisoner. When the prisoner has signed the examination, proof of his handwriting is sufficient evidence
that he has read it; but if he has merely made his mark, or not signed it at all, the magistrate or clerk must identify the prisoner, and prove that the writing was duly read to him, and that he assented to it. l Greenl. Ev. §520; 1 M. & Rob. 395.
5. - 3. The effect of such an examination, when properly taken and proved, is sufficient to found a conviction. 1 Greenl. Ev. §216.