the Judge's Chamber
will judge the fairness of every law.
This guide is my attempt to summarize the duties of a Judge as per my experience. This is in no way an attempt to replace existing laws.
THE JUDGE'S DUTIES
The office of Judge carries with it a great deal of responsiblity. It is the duty of the Judge to interpret the law as written in the city of his or her jurisdiction, to determine the fairness of said law, and to pass sentance on those who disobey the aforementioned law or laws.
A Judge must be able to to set aside all bias, completely disregarding the path, religious affiliation, guild or motley association, or any personal involvements with the accused when seated at the bench. This does not mean you become a coldhearted machine. You must remain human and tangible to those you are about to judge without ever letting them forget you are in charge.
You must possess the ability to listen, and listen you must, for a distraught aisling will feel a great need to vocalize their woes. You must also know when to speak and when to hold your tongue. Never, never argue or make decisions in haste or anger. Remember that an aisling who feels they have been wronged will be emotionally charged, do not let yourself get caught up in this wave of emotion or you will most certainly lose control of the situation.
Listen carefully, gather all the information available, review the law or laws in question then make your decision on how the matter should be handled.
REQUESTING A TRIAL
If an aisling feels the need to seek a trial, they should contact the Judge who currently holds office in the city in which the alleged crime was commited, in writing. This written document should contain all the information pertaining to the alleged crime: when and where the alleged crime took place, and the names of all parties involved, including all witnesses.
It is then left to the discretion of the Judge to determine if this case warrants a trial, or if the matter can or should be settled out of court.
INVESTIGATING A TRIAL REQUEST
Upon reciept of a request for trial the presiding Judge should review the material presented to them as soon as possible. Each aisling involved should be contacted and asked to provide a written deposition to the court immediatly.
When necessary a prosecutor may be appointed by the Judge to aid in the investigation of pending cases. The aisling chosen to hold this position should be experienced in the execution of the law, having held office in the executive branch and thought to possess the ability to exercise jurisprudence.
It has been my experience, after eleven terms as Rucesion Judge, that most cases do not warrant the time and intense involvement necessary to hold a trial, but are usually easily settled through mediation.
If, after thorough investigation, it is deemed that a trial is indeed necessary the Judge must begin the arduous process of bringing together all parties involved as expediciously as possible.
SCHEDULING A TRIAL
Setting a trial time is the first and possibly the most difficult task to be accomplished. The Judge must set a tentative date and mail it to the plaintiff and the defendant. If either party finds that the proposed date is unacceptable to them they must inform the court in a timely manner, with good reason, in writing. If after three attempts, with consideration to the defendant/plaintiffs schedule, a date can not be agreed upon then the court will be forced to set a time and date and demand that the plaintiff/defendant are in attendance. If either party fails to be present at the scheduled proceedings, without good reason, they foreit their rights to said trial. ie; Plaintiffs complaint will be dropped. Defendant will be tried and sentanced at the courts discretion.
If a witness can not be in attendance their testimony can be presented to the court in written form. But if this witness is seen in Temuair at anytime during the trial proceedings their testimony will be struck from the courts record, and they will be held in contempt of court for their failure to appear.
If either the plaintiff or defendant wishes to retain counsel they must inform the Judge and all communications henceforth will be made through said counselor.
This task can also prove to be quite daunting. Theoretically seven jurors would be a perfect number for a Temuairian trial. But bringing seven qualified aislings together simultaneously and keeping them in attendance until the trial has come to a close can be a bit difficult. Therefore I propose that the jury consist of no less than five and no more than seven acceptable aislings.
Jurors must be citizens of the village in which the trial is being held. They must have no personal connection with either the plaintiff or defendant. ie; friend, relative, guild or motley mate. And they must have no criminal record of their own.
The plaintiff and defendant have the right to ask for disqualification of any juror. They must present their reasons to the Judge who will then decide if the request for disqualification is legitimate.
INSTRUCTING THE JURY
Before the actual proceedings begin the Judge will need to instruct the jury as to their duties and responsibilities.
The Judge will state the to the jury the crime or crimes for which the defendant is being tried, and the laws in question will be read aloud.
The jury will also be instructed that they are not, at any time, to speak out loud. If they have any questions, or desire clarification of any point, they are to whisper the Judge who will then take note of the question and see that it is answered as soon as possible.
The jury should be instructed as to the importance of their role in these proceedings and warned that if they do not comply with the court they risk being held in contempt.
All present in the courtroom should also be instructed that there is to be no speaking out of turn as they also can be held in comtempt of court and dealt with accordingly. First a warning, second a removal from the courthouse, and thirdly banishment from the village in which the trial is being held. If this still does not subdue the troublemaker an exile should be considered.
Once all participants are in place, and have recieved instruction the trial shall commence.
The plaintiff shall begin presenting his case. Firstly stating why he feels the defendant is guilty, then calling any witnesses and presenting any evidence.
If at anytime the defendant has an objection they, or their counsel if counsel has been retained, may state so. Otherwise there is to be complete silence until the plaintiff has completed their presentation.
Once the plaintiff rests his case the floor is given to the defendant and the process is repeated. After which the plaintiff then the defendant are given the opportunity to present a brief closing argument.
After closing arguments the jury may now begin deliberation, speaking quietly amongst themselves. The only other party the jury may speak to, legally, at this point would be the Judge. Once each juror feels he or she has come to a decision they may exit the jury box. Upon doing so they will enter their vote of innocence, guilt, or indecision.
The Judge gathers and tallies all votes. If the voting were to result in a tie it would be up to the presiding Judge to cast the deciding vote.
If the majority vote is innocent, the defendant is released immediatly. If the majority vote is guilty the Judge must then pass sentance on the defendant as outlined by the law in question.
This would bring the trial to a close. Kindly thank all of the aislings involved and dismiss the jury.
RECORDING TRIAL PROCEEDINGS
A brief summary of all court proceedings must be posted to the Judgements board as soon as possible.
In the process of compiling this summary I have become even more aware of the fact that anyone who wishes to survive a term as Judge must be capable of keeping a continuous balance. Having a steady hand and heart, not allowing emotions to overtake them, possessing the ability to seperate personal feelings from professional duty.
A Judges Prayer
the Gods of Temuair be with me