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 Notes and Brainstorming for the Vampiric Justice System

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Gabriel Hall
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Posts : 593
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Name: Gage Hall
Blood Rank: Muggle-born
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PostSubject: Notes and Brainstorming for the Vampiric Justice System   Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:39 am

System Overview

The vampiric judicial system is varied in its approaches, resolving incidents and disputes on a case-by-case basis in a mixed system. Some cases are handled inquisitorially, in which the prosecutor is also the judge. Other cases are handled with an adversarial system, in which both prosecution and defense are their own entities with the judge acting as a sort of referee. While these are solid terms in the "muggle" world, these vampiric counterparts are likely to differ some from those conventional definitions.

Conditions Necessitating Inquisitorial Basis

  • Any crime against an Elder or the Council Octavorum
  • Any crime or breach against one of the Universal Bylaws
  • Any severe crime or breach against Enclave/Manor Bylaws
  • Any crime or breach from Adversarial Basis declared "inconclusive" and approved for appeal; becomes a matter of Superior Court.


About Inquisitorial Court
Inquisitorial Court is looked into by Justicar-appointed Inquisitors or the hearing or trial's proceeding Justicar in question. This method is often granted to the more serious offenses. Advocates speak in the defense side of trials led by the inquisitorial form. A council of relative peers (called Attendants), not unlike a jury, are left to decide a person's guilt or innocence if no definitive conclusion is reached in the proceedings.

Conditions Necessitating Adversarial Basis

  • Murder
  • Treason/Conspiracy
  • Theft
  • Willful destruction (arson, etc.)
  • External clan crimes and/or disputes; war resolution
  • Internal clan crimes and/or disputes
  • And more


About Adversarial Court
Adversarial court in a vampiric circle transpires much as it does in the muggle world. It is reserved for many of the crimes considered lesser in nature to the those requiring inquisitorial court. The prosecutors are called Adversaries, while the defense are still called Advocates. The jury in this scenario are also referred to as Attendants.  For more on who may attend a trial, see Who's Who in the Courtroom.


Types of Court
Just as there are two different systems of justice at play here, so too is a distinction between Superior Court and Common Court. Superior Court is more likely to employ the inquisitorial system, whereas Common uses adversarial. It would be uncommon to see an adversarial case in Superior Court. It would not, however, be considered abnormal to find an inquisitorial case in severe instances of Common Court.

Superior Court typically affects Elders, Lords/Ladies of Enclaves/Manors, and other high-ranking members of a given House.

Common Court affects everyone else, including mortal servants and vampiric "newborns". There are four subdivisions of common court: criminal, property, domestic, and civil disputes. Criminal offenses are the most likely perpetrator for inquisitorial system cases, though some civil disputes also require that format.


Who's Who in the Courtroom

From an informal plea to the most solemn of trials, there are a bunch of people in attendance to hear or record the case. Many are largely dependent upon what sort of incident is being heard or tried. Note that guests are rarely permitted into the Court Hall except by permission of the house's Lord/Lady or any presiding Elder. Vampires like to keep their affairs private.

The Council Octavorum
These council-members may be men or women, and eight in number. Regardless, all of them are elders with many centuries of experience under their belts. It is their duty to debate on issues of extreme importance, and rule decisions in Superior Court. A single Council Octavorum member may don the role of Justicar for a case which does not require the full complement of council-members.
Colors: Purple (primary), Gold (secondary)
Requirements: Elder (1000 + years); Former Justicar; Former Lord/Lady of an Enclave or Manor
Duties: Preside over Superior Court, important decision-making, bestow sentencing
Council Members: Urien Summanus, (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), ( 8 )
Mode of Address:
Masculine Members - Octavi
Feminine Members - Octavae
The whole group - Octava

Elder Justicar
These people are the judges presiding over your case. If the inquisitorial system is in play, they are also your prosecutors.
Colors: Black (primary), Purple & Red stripes (inner robe), and Silver triangular collar/mantle with cape
Requirements: 700+ years
Duties: Preside over hearings, prosecute if inquisitorial system is invoked, maintain order in the court (adversarial), bestow sentencing

Justicar
Justicars are judges without the age of their Elder counterparts. They preside over a case in the adversarial system of justice. Their twins are the Inquisitors, as seen below.
Colors: Black (primary) with Gold trim
Requirements: 500+ years
Duties: Preside over hearings, prosecute if inquisitorial system is invoked, maintain order in the court (adversarial), bestow sentencing

Proctor
In some cases, the Proctor is the Lord or Lady of the Enclave or Manor in which the proceeding takes place. If said Lord/Lady is involved in the case, however, then a proctor is elected upon or otherwise selected by the Council Octavorum.
Colors: Navy blue with gold trim
Requirements: 675+ years
Duties: Oversees the proceeding, but does not take an active part in it.

Calligraphus
The calligraphus is an individual who takes abbreviated notation of the proceeding, which are then transcribed into longhand by a Recorder of Deeds. Any court without a calligraphus would be suspicious, indeed.
Colors: Black, with a gold hood
Requirements: 300+ years old; proficiency in reading and wirting in vampiric legal shorthand
Duties: Record the happenings and dialogue of a proceeding in shorthand, then transcribe into longhand afterward for record-keeping.

Keeper of the Seals
A vampire named as Keeper of the Seals has several tasks, but in a court setting they are there to administer oaths, which are done before seals appropriate to the case at hand.
Colors: Purple (primary) and Gold (secondary)
Requirements: 500+ years of age; Former or Current Lord/Lady of a Manor
Duties: Manage a directory of all Enclave/Manor seals, notify unauthorized seal-bearers to register their seal with the Keepers, present the seals involved with a court case, and administer oaths before the seals

Lawspeaker
Lawspeakers are present at court to recite the laws relevant to the case, either as an informative knowledge base or to remind Attendants of the finer points of laws that may be overlooked. The Council Octavorum keeps its own Lawspeakers regarding the Universal Bylaws. Each Manor usually has one or two lawspeakers for each type of Common Court (criminal, property, domestic, and civil disputes).
Colors: Green (primary) and Black (secondary)
Requirements: 350+ years, and/or acceptable score in an oral examination
Duties: Learn well the bylaws of a particular specialty (or more than 1 specialty, if desired), be willing to undertake further instruction when new bylaws are decreed, and be able to recite these bylaws with accuracy in a court of law.

Recorder of Deeds
A recorder of deeds is in the courtroom to provide evidence in an impartial manner regardless of the system employed. This (hopefully) keeps evidence from being tampered with. In a slightly lesser capacity, they also transcribe court cases into longhand from a calligraphus's shorthand and maintain a library of sorts containing these proceedings records.
Colors: Brown
Requirements: 300+ years; ability to read (but not necessarily write in) calligraphus shorthand
Duties: Transcribe calligraphus shorthand into longhand for official records, maintain official records library; catalog, keep, and present evidence at court

Lord/Lady of the House
The Lord or Lady of a Manor or Enclave is required to be in attendance for any proceeding under their roof. As the second-in-command is also required to be in attendance, this duty cannot be shirked under any circumstance.
Colors: Black (primary) and Red (secondary), with a triangular, purple collar/mantle
Requirements: 500+ years; current Lord or Lady of a Manor/Enclave
Duties: Similar to Proctor, but with activity or nonactivity being a matter of choice. They are also responsible for making the arrangements for a court proceeding once a Justicar or Councilmember of the Octavorum have contacted them.

Seneschal
Seneschals are advocates or adversaries in a higher capacity than that of the standard term. Where anyone with the proper criteria can be an advocate or adversary, a Seneschal is an advocate or adversary with influence... such as the second-in-command of a Lord or Lady of a Manor. The proper term for such people would be Seneschal Advocate or Seneschal Adversary (and even Seneschal Inquisitor), but often they are simply referred to as Seneschal.
Colors: Black (primary) and Red (secondary), with a triangular, pale blue collar/mantle
Requirements: 300+ years, second-in-command to a Lord/Lady of the House
Duties: Assist Lord/Lady of the House in the preparation of the court chambers; see the roles Adversary, Advocate, and Inquisitor for more information.

Guardians of Ma'at
Security force provided by the Enclave/Manor in which the hearing or trial is held. This includes the Captain of the Guard (referred to as Chief Guardian) and his/her complement of twelve guards.
Colors: Black (primary) with Red slashes on the sleeves to denote rank (or otherwise a dressier version of their standard uniform)
Requirements: Captain of the Guard administers medallions to the other twelve chosen Guardians. Magic prevents the wrongful usage of this item if acquired through any criminal means.
Duties: Escort the Justicar and entourage to the court chamber, seat the Attendants, maintain order should it get out of hand

Inquisitor
Inquisitors are the judge and prosecutors in a court proceeding following the inquisitorial system. These judges have the same duties as a Justicar if performing of their own accord. However, if inquisitors are appointed by a Justicar, their role shifts from prosecutory to one of collecting evidence.
Colors: Black (primary) with Silver trim
Requirements: 350+ years
Duties: Preside and prosecute proceedings; bestow sentencing. Justicar-appointed Inquisitor teams gather evidence and interrogate suspects, instead.

Collector of Proof
A Collector of Proof is an individual appointed by an Inquisitor as their equal, but charged only with the tasks of collecting proof and interrogation. Sometimes this title is shortened to Collector, or altered to Procurer.
Colors: Black (primary) with Bronze lapels
Requirements: Inquisitor-appointed medallion. Magic protects from unauthorized usage.
Duties: Collect and examine evidence, record findings and interrogations, give evidence samples and reports to the Recorder of Deeds for safekeeping

Adversary
An adversary is the prosecution in an adversarial-system proceeding. They are well-versed in the bylaws and/or represent a client or clients.
Colors: Red (primary) with Silver trim
Requirements: 350+ years
Duties: Develop the prosecution side of an adversarial-system case in which to represent the client

Advocate
An advocate is the defense in an adversarial-system proceeding. They are well-versed in the bylaws and/or represent a client or clients. They are also present in inquisitorial-system court to represent/fight for their client.
Colors: Blue (primary) with Silver trim
Requirements: 350+ years
Duties: Develop the defense side of an adversarial-system case in which to represent the client, or otherwise defend the client in inquisitorial court.

(Inquisitor, Adversary, or Advocate) Speaker
A Speaker is generally an additional member of whichever "branch" they represent. Inquisitorial Speakers and Adversary Speakers often present additional accusations, while Advocate Speakers defend or vouch for those on their side with merits. These people could be eyewitnesses or otherwise untrained in Vampiric Law, but still have bearing on a case. See: Amicus Curiae.
Colors: Red (Inquisitorial & Adversary) or Blue (Advocate)
Requirements: Invitation by Inquisitor, Adversary, Advocate, or other jurisdiction official (Justicar, Council, Lord/Lady of the House)
Duties: Present additional accusations or merits to the case that may be relevant during ruling/sentencing

Amicus Curiae
The Amicus Curiae is someone who is not directly involved with any party in a proceeding, but does carry important information relevant to the case. They are similar to the Speakers mentioned above.
Colors: Silver
Requirements: Invitation by an involved member of the court
Duties: Present additional information that has relevance to the case.

Attendant
Attendants are not guests to a proceeding. Instead, they are the jury in a court case. In the event some are guests, they have a different place of seating and attire to differentiate the two.
Colors: Black (official) or Gray (guest)
Requirements: 300+ years or with permission clearance by a active courtmember (cleared by a Guardian, via pass medallion), Lord/Lady of the House, or Justicar/Inquisitor
Duties: Jury duty. Razz

Herald (Fallen into relative disuse with invention of specialty parchment and convention of owl post)
Heralds were once the paper-servers in Vampiric Law. Now, they are little more than the people who send out these papers - specially-composed in the way stationery, ink, and seals are used - via specially-trained owls. Heralds were rarely in the courtroom, except when paper recipients failed to comply with the law.
Colors: Ivory
Requirements: 100+ years; apprentice to a Keeper of the Seals
Duties: Serve papers, by hand, to their recipients. Now, they mail them out and are rarely (if ever) seen in the courts... leading to the consensus that this title has fallen into disuse.

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