- Someone is accused of a crime. Sometimes they actually did something wrong. In fact, lots of times. But other times, they were simply inconvenient for someone else.
- The servants of the accused are seized and tortured. At some point, they spill the beans on the crime and the accused is found guilty.
- The guilty party (or 'guilty' party) commits suicide before any kind of sentence can be carried out. This is usually poison or stabbing. Sometimes the guilty party is urged to do this by some handy centurions, sometimes they've brought their own weapons.
In practice, the Roman system of justice was probably terrifying. If you got ahead and gained some prominence, you were in great danger. And not just you, but your spouse and children. Occasionally, the grand-kids would be spared and allowed some small portion of inheritance. But the danger and uncertainty were a daily fact of life.
Kind of a rough place and time.