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Imperial Reform (1495)

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4. And if any electors, princes, prelates, counts, barons, knights, cities, or other Estates, of whatever rank, status, or condition – spiritual or temporal – or their subjects are injured in violation of this public peace, and if the perpetrator is unknown or merely suspect, and if the plaintiff does not want to prove his guilt, so that only a reasonable suspicion of guilt exists, the elector, prince, prelate, count, baron, knight, or city, to whom or to whose vassals, prelates, counts, barons, knights, subjects, or relations damage has been done, should and must describe the damage and schedule a meeting at which a sworn denial of guilt shall be secured from the suspect. And if the suspect or suspects in any way resist or refuse to appear at the meeting, he/they shall be declared guilty of such damage and of breaching the public peace, and he/they shall then be proceeded against in accordance with this law. The aforesaid elector, prince, prelate, count, baron, knight, or city shall, however, accord the suspect(s), safe conduct to and during such meetings and shall guarantee their safety and the safety of all those they bring to the meeting. And if the summons can be presented to the suspect(s) in person, it shall be posted in two or three of the places where courts are accustomed to hold session. And if, in violation of this law, anyone is robbed, injured, or attacked, everyone in the vicinity who is called on shall pursue the suspect with all possible speed and energy and lay hands upon him as though the injury were their own.

5. No one shall harbor, house, feed, protect, or supply such evildoers and breakers of the peace in his jurisdiction or on his properties and lands. Rather, he shall go after such persons and dutifully prosecute them by virtue of his office and respond to the accusers by helping their cause, so that the evildoers obtain no comfort, protection, liberty, or safe conduct. They shall receive none of that and enjoy nothing, except by permission of their accusers, for We declare that breaking the peace excludes and precludes all such comfort, protection, sponsorship, and safe conduct, no matter who performs it.

6. If the evildoer or violator of the peace possesses a refuge or fortress or enjoys support or protection, so that a larger force or campaign is needed, or if someone protected by this public peace – whatever rank, status, or condition he may have – is made the object of a feud, attack, or injury by someone not under the public peace, or if the latter harbors, protects, or gives aid and supplies to the evildoer or attacker, in that case, the plaintiffs or Our chief judge shall bring the matter to us or Our delegate and the annual assembly of electors, princes, and Estates of the Empire, who shall without delay send aid and support to the persons attacked or damaged. If the action or invasion, however, is such that it cannot be dealt with in a timely fashion by the annual assembly, We hereby empower Our chief judge to call in a timely manner, in Our name and those of the electors, princes, and Estates of the Empire, a conveniently located meeting. There, We and they will assemble, or We and they will send delegates to consult and agree on action about their case. Our chief judge and the court shall nonetheless at all times have the legal powers to proceed by virtue of their offices and at the request of those attacked and injured, against violators and breakers of the peace.

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