Note: An error in my post was pointed out, so I'm editing to correct that error.
Originally Posted by Citizen
Your post was an interesting read. Thank you.
I have found another source that backs up your report of barring the use of a defendant's statements against him in ancient Hebrew courts.
From a webpage describing how much of our current jurisprudence traces roots back to (or has parallels to) ancient Jewish courts we read this:
A voluntary confession was not competent for conviction under Jewish law. The burden of proof is still on the State to establish that a confession, if given, was given freely, voluntarily, and intelligently. We require police officers to read the "Miranda warning" to an accused so the Court can determine if an admission was freely, voluntarily, and intelligently made. If confession is made after Miranda is heard and understood, a confession can be admitted. It was not so in Jesus' day. Jewish law admitted no confession, believing the State could never rely on that which a person said from his own mouth.
I will note that unlike a confession, there are certain crimes (such a blaspheme) which are committed only by what proceeds from the mouth of the accused. So while a confession to blaspheme would not be permitted, the words that constituted blaspheme would have come from the mouth of the accused, but would then be witnessed against him by those who heard the words.
In any event, I suspect you'll enjoy reading the article at the link I provided. Here is one interesting aspect that differs from our modern judicial procedures:
Another peculiar provision of Jewish law is of great importance, for a unanimous verdict of guilty resulted in acquittal of the defendant! This arose from the court's duty to protect and defend the accused. Mosaic law held that since some member of the court had to interpose a de-fense for the accused, a unanimous verdict of guilty indicated no one had done this, that there could only be a conspiracy against the accused, that he had no friend or defender. Such a verdict was invalid and had the effect of an acquittal.