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Mikona Legal System

PostAuthor: Orleron » Sat Dec 14, 2002 2:59 am

1) Makeup of the Court: I think that a panel of three justices, with a
chief justice is the easiest.

2) Evidentiary Rules: Pretty much to today's standards. Prosecution must
disclose evidence gathered to the defense, but the defense isn't under
the same obligation to the prosecution. Hearsay is allowable. Defendant
is compelled to testify. Burden of proof is on the defense. THIS MEANS PERSONS ARE GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT.

3) Anatomy of the Trial: Almost exactly like today. Opening statements
from the prosecution and the defense. Prosecution calls witnesses and
presents evidence. Defense cross-examines witnesses and tries to
refute evidence. Defense calls its witnesses and presents its
evidence. Prosecution cross-examines and refute evidence. Prosecution
is allowed to call rebuttal witnesses. Closing statements by both sides.
Panel deliberates. Verdict is reached. Sentencing if necessary, with
arguments in mitigation and enhancement.

4) Clear definition of statues that were violated and penalties
associated with them: This is the tough one. I think it is easiest to
use the punitive articles in the UCMJ. It is then up to the prosecutor
to decide what the charges against the defendants will be prior to the
trial. It is their job to make the official filing of the charges.
"Truth has no form."
--Idries Shah

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PostAuthor: Orleron » Sat Dec 14, 2002 3:02 am

M?Chek Code of Law for Evidence in Trial

SCOPE

Rule 101: SCOPE. These rules govern all proceedings in Mikona. The only rules of evidence that may be used are those included here.

Rule 102: OBJECTIONS:
An objection which is not contained in these rules shall not be considered by the court. However, if counsel responding to an objection does not point out to the judge the application of this rule, the court may exercise its discretion in considering such objection.

RELEVANCY

Rule 201: RELEVANCY.
Only relevant testimony and evidence may be presented. This means that the only physical evidence and testimony allowed is that which tends to make a fact which is important to the case more or less probable than the fact would be without the evidence. However, if the relevant evidence is unfairly prejudicial, may confuse the issues, or is a waste of time, it may be excluded by the court. This applies to testimony, pieces of evidence, and demonstrations that have no direct bearing on the issues of the case and have nothing to do with making the issues clearer.

Example: The defense asks a party on cross-examination in a divorce case, "Have you ever killed a gang member in the Mikona slums?" (This question is permitted only if such conduct is relevant to the case.)
Objections: "I object Your Honor. This testimony is irrelevant to the facts of the case," or, "Objection. This testimony is unfairly prejudicial."

Rule 202: CHARACTER.
Evidence about the character of a party or witness (other than his/her character for truthfulness or untruthfulness) may not be introduced unless the person?s character is an issue in the case.

Examples: Whether one spouse has been unfaithful to the other is a relevant issue in a civil trial for divorce, but it is not an issue in a criminal trial for theft. A person?s violent temper may be relevant in a criminal trial for assault, but is not an issue in a civil trial for breach of contract.
Objections: "Objection. Evidence of the defendant?s character is irrelevant to the facts of the case," or, "Objection. Only the witness? reputation for truthfulness is at issue here."

WITNESS EXAMINATION

Rule 301: FORM OF QUESTION.
On direct examination, witnesses should be asked direct questions and may not be asked leading questions. Direct questions are phrased to evoke a set of facts from the witnesses. A leading question is one that suggests to the witness the answer desired by the examiner, and often suggests a "yes" or "no" answer.

Example of a Direct Question: "M?Chek Special Forces Agent, please describe what the defendant looked like the morning of the arrest."

Example of a Leading Question: "M?Chek Special Forces Agent, isn?t it true that the defendant had human soldier blood splattered on his sword and armor?"

Objection: "Objection. Counsel is leading the witness."

Rule 302: SCOPE OF WITNESS
EXAMINATION.

Direct examination may cover all the facts relevant to the case of which the witness has first-hand knowledge. Any factual areas examined on direct examination may be subject to cross-examination.
Cross-Examination (questioning of the other side?s witnesses)

Rule 304: FORM OF QUESTION.
On cross-examination, an attorney may ask leading questions of the opponent?s witnesses.

Rule 305: SCOPE OF CROSS EXAMINATION.
Attorneys may ask questions that relate to any matters at issue in the trial (whether or not brought out by direct examination), or to matters relating to the credibility of the witness.

Example: In a dueling case where both liability and damages are an issue, the defense during cross-examination may ask questions about healing payments made to clerics, even if the direct examination did not cover this matter.

Rule 306: IMPEACHMENT.
On cross-examination, the attorney may impeach a witness (show that a witness should not be believed) by:
? asking questions about prior conduct that makes the witness? credibility (truth-telling ability) doubtful
? asking questions about previous contradictory statements
? asking questions which would tend to show bias on the part of the witness These kinds of questions can be asked only when the cross-examining attorney has information that there is a factual basis for this line of questioning.

Redirect Examination

Rule 308: LIMIT ON QUESTIONS. After cross-examination, the direct examining attorney may redirect examine the witness, but such questions are limited to matters raised by the attorney on cross-examination. (The presiding judge has considerable discretion in deciding how to limit the scope of redirect.)
If the credibility or reputation for truthfulness of the witness has been attacked on cross-examination, the attorney whose witness has been damaged may wish to ask several more questions. These questions should be limited to the damage the attorney thinks has been done and should be in the eyes of the court.

Objection: "Objection. Counsel is asking the witness about matters that did not come up in cross-examination."

Re-cross Examination

Rule 309: LIMIT ON QUESTIONS. After redirect examination, the cross examining attorney may re-cross examine the witness, but such questions are limited to matters raised by the attorney on redirect examination and should avoid repetition. (The presiding judge has considerable discretion in deciding how to limit the scope of re-cross.)

Objection: "Objection. Counsel is asking the witness about matters that did not come up on redirect examination." As with redirect examination, it may be more appropriate at times not to engage in re-cross examination. After a witness has been excused from further testifying, the witness may not be recalled.

OPINION AND EXPERT TESTIMONY

Rule 501: OPINION TESTIMONY BY NON-EXPERTS.
Witnesses who are not testifying as experts may give opinions which are based on what they saw or heard and are helpful in explaining their story. A witness may not testify to any matter of which the witness has no personal knowledge, nor may a witness give an opinion about how the case should be decided.

Example: "Why was the defendant?s using an invisibility potion to run away??
Objection: "Objection. Counsel is asking the witness to give an opinion."

Example: "Do you believe Alladorn struck the M?Chek Special Forces agent while they were alone?"
Objection: "Objection. The witness has no personal knowledge that would enable her to answer this question."

Example: "Do you believe the defendant betrayed M?Chek?"
Objection: "Objection. The question asks the witness to give a conclusion that goes to the finding of the court."

Rule 502: OPINION TESTIMONY BY EXPERTS.
Only persons qualified as experts may give opinions on questions that require special knowledge or qualifications. An expert may be called as a witness to render an opinion based on professional experience. An expert must be qualified by the attorney for the party for whom the expert is testifying. This means that before the expert witness can be asked for an expert opinion, the questioning attorney must bring out the expert?s qualifications and experience.
Expert opinion must be based on either the expert?s direct personal knowledge or on evidence in the records. It cannot be based on conjecture or surmise. Expert opinion based on conjecture and surmise will be disregarded.

Objection: "Objection. Counsel is asking the witness to give an expert opinion for which she or he has not been qualified."

PHYSICAL EVIDENCE

Rule 601: INTRODUCTION OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE.
Physical evidence may be introduced if it is relevant to the case. Physical evidence will not be admitted into evidence until it has been identified and shown to be authentic or its identification and/or authenticity has been stipulated to. That a document is authentic means only that it is what it appears to be, not that the statements in the document are necessarily true.

The proper procedure to use when introducing a physical object or document for identification and/or use as evidence is:
? Show the exhibit and have it marked by the judge. "Your Honor, please mark this as Exhibit A."
? Show the exhibit to the opposing counsel who may make an objection to the offering.
Ask the witness to identify the exhibit. "I now hand you what is marked as Exhibit A. Would you identify it, please?"
"Truth has no form."
--Idries Shah

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PostAuthor: Orleron » Tue Dec 31, 2002 2:24 am

Basic thoughts on Mikona Law and citizen's rights. Written by Rabbit Man, implemented as "Bible" by Orleron:


I think the solution lies in having laws that hold certain races and class separate, and rights follow from that. I am guilty of providing way too much detail about this topic in previous threads, so I basically killed the discussion. But the simple version is this: Nobles/government officials/ clerics of Mikona (and other preferred gods) have the highest level of rights and protections. Humans/M?Chek citizens have some rights and all protections under the law. Foreigners to M?Chek have protection of the law, but no rights under the law. This concept means no one can simply murder or rob a foreigner, because the foreigner has protection of the law. But a foreigner cannot claim a right to a fair trial or freedom of movement, because they have no rights under the law of M?Chek. The foreigners are just there, and they are ignored until they cause a problem.

This theme has run throughout the history of law, so can fit logically and well into Avlis. For example, the guards cannot murder elves, but are watching them for any excuse to kill them. The government can grant rights to certain foreigners in special cases, say like Cuxn for joining the M?Chek army, so he gets a trial. A T?Nashi born cleric of Mikona would be protected because of his ties to the church, but a O'Ma cleric may not have that protection. A foreigner pick pocket getting cut down in the streets for stealing would simply be ignored, because he just got what he deserved under the law, and does not qualify for protections such as a trial anyway.
"Truth has no form."
--Idries Shah

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Orleron
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