Trial of residence

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A juicio de residencia (literally, judgment of residence) was a judicial procedure of Castilian law and the Laws of the Indies. It consisted of this: at the termination of a public functionary's term, his performance in office was subject to review, and those with grievances against him were entitled to a hearing. This was largely an automatic procedure, and did not imply prior suspicion of misconduct.

Crown of Castile Former country in the Iberian Peninsula

The Crown of Castile was a medieval state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then Castilian king, Ferdinand III, to the vacant Leonese throne. It continued to exist as a separate entity after the personal union in 1469 of the crowns of Castile and Aragon with the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs up to the promulgation of the Nueva Planta decrees by Philip V in 1715.

Laws of the Indies

The Laws of the Indies are the entire body of laws issued by the Spanish Crown for the American and the Philippine possessions of its empire. They regulated social, political, religious, and economic life in these areas. The laws are composed of myriad decrees issued over the centuries and the important laws of the 16th century, which attempted to regulate the interactions between the settlers and natives, such as the Laws of Burgos (1512) and the New Laws (1542).

The official was not allowed to leave the place where he exercised his authority, nor to assume another office, until the conclusion of this judicial inquiry. Generally, the person charged with directing the inquiry, called the juez de residencia (residence judge), was that individual already named to succeed to the position. The penalties for conviction varied, but generally consisted of fines.

The juicio de residencia took on great importance in the administration of the Indies, perhaps because of the great distances involved and the difficulty of direct supervision by the Crown. It extended from the viceroys and the presidents of the Audiencia to the alcaldes and the alguaciles (judicial officials, sometimes translated as sheriffs). With the entrance into force of the Spanish Constitution of 1812, the procedure no longer applied.

A viceroy is an official who runs a country, colony, city, province, or sub-national state, in the name of and as the representative of the monarch of the territory. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roy, meaning "king". A viceroy's territory may be called a viceroyalty, though this term is not always applied. The adjective form is viceregal, less often viceroyal. The term vicereine is sometimes used to indicate a female viceroy suo jure, although viceroy can serve as a gender-neutral term. Vicereine is more commonly used to indicate a viceroy's wife.

Alcalde, or Alcalde ordinario, is the traditional Spanish municipal magistrate, who had both judicial and administrative functions. An alcalde was, in the absence of a corregidor, the presiding officer of the Castilian cabildo and judge of first instance of a town. Alcaldes were elected annually, without the right to reelection for two or three years, by the regidores of the municipal council. The office of the alcalde was signified by a staff of office, which they were to take with them when doing their business. A woman who holds the office is termed an Alcaldesa.

Spanish Constitution of 1812 primer constitushon in españia conoced whit ¨la pepa

The Political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, also known as the Constitution of Cádiz and as La Pepa, was the first Constitution of Spain and one of the earliest constitutions in world history. It was established on 19 March 1812 by the Cortes of Cádiz, the first Spanish legislature. With the notable exception of proclaiming Roman Catholicism as the official and sole legal religion in Spain, the constitution was one of the most liberal of its time: it affirmed national sovereignty, separation of powers, freedom of the press, free enterprise, abolished feudalism, and established a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. It was one of the first constitutions that allowed universal male suffrage, through a complex indirect electoral system. It was repealed by King Ferdinand VII in 1814 in Valencia, who re-established absolute monarchy.

Originally, every viceroy had to pass his juicio de residencia before his successor could take office. But in the eighteenth century viceregal juicios were conducted after the outgoing viceroy had returned to Spain. During the lengthy process (up to six months), the degree of the viceroy's compliance with his instructions was analyzed, his job performance was reviewed, and many testimonies were collected from different parties.

Another formula the Crown used to control its officials, including the viceroy in his capacity as president of the Audiencia, was the visitador who collected visitas. The visitador was an inspector named at the pleasure of the king to investigate a particular administration. Like the juicio, this institution had the aim of discovering abuses committed by the authorities, and proposing necessary reforms.

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