Law And Order: Eden City
You enter the small chambers of the local judge, who sits in his chair with the Ethnarc's holographic silhouette beside him. It is a nice office, technologically advanced and nestled within one of the many finely detailed buildings of District I. Ethnarc Stanson Rend is the first to speak, his tone smooth and refined as it normally is.
"Jedi Hunter Giovanni Palermo. Your Consul and master has requested that I explain why you have been summoned to Judge Rameses Harrowhart's chambers," he says, the blue haze of his hologram shuddering occasionally. "Ronovi Tavisaen Tarentae has informed us that you have some skill in law, and as the Yridian Kratocracy works, we must make local trials appear legitimate and without obvious interference from higher-ups. You have been selected to serve as the people's primary defense attorney."
You furrow your brow at this remark; being a Dark Jedi, you are not accustomed to serving the people. However, it appears that there is an opportunity here, and you nod your consent.
"Judge Harrowhart oversees all trials within Eden City, which as you know has quite a high crime rate," Ethnarc Rend continues. "So expect many crimes of a more heinous nature. All instructions you will receive will be from me or your master, so we encourage you to ask any and all questions you have regarding the cases and their nature."
It appears that the decision has already been made. You, a Jedi Hunter of Clan Tarentum, have become Eden City's main attorney at law. Let your trial (literally and figuratively) begin.
This is the first out of three scenarios that you will be tasked with. Scenario 1, in particular, concerns strategy in trial. Let's begin:
You are ordered to serve as defense attorney to a Yridian by the name of Dreyfus Platzin. Platzin is on trial for misconduct and disturbance of the peace for initiating worker riots in District II. Already he has been stripped of his rank in the Yridian Civilian Defense Force, though he claims he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
You seem to be winning your case when the prosecutor, a hot-headed youth from Coruscant, calls a surprise witness to the stand. The witness is Platzin's wife (by sentiment, not by license), Hilda, who claims that the night before the riots, Platzin declared his interests in "disorienting the Hell out of the fascists who are running this city." Platzin, who argues he had been at his brother's vacated house that night, has no solid alibi, and therefore you cannot counter Hilda's testimony with hard evidence. You do know that Hilda, according to Platzin, has been considering separation due to problems with their relationship and therefore could be lying. However, knowing your luck, the prosecutor will object to such claims, demanding proof or relevance. You ask for a recess from Harrowhart in order to strategize your cross-examination.
What is your next move? Do you attempt to use Platzin's weak alibi, or do you attempt to use Hilda's hidden motives? How can you make the judge side with you on the matter, and what strategies will you use to rest the defense?
This is your first task. You are encouraged to ask any and all questions to your master, who will provide you with answers whether specific or vague. Please post your solution (which should be a paragraph MINIMUM) onto this thread.
Platzin did not get the keys to the house from his brother.
Platzin's brother claims himself to be a bachelor.
Platzin is a faithful man.
My client, the defendant really was in the wrong place at the wrong time. By his sheer dumb luck, he happened to be near the very place where the riots erupted, and thus he was hauled away and brought before this court today. Bad luck got him here, and even worse, a terrible excuse for a witness is trying to keep him here, while making a mockery out of these proceedings.
His wife is a terrible witness and must be discredited, as her motives are as impure as can be, and brimming with malice. After an investigation into their marital situation, we believe that his wife and brother were having an illicit affair together. That is why he's been staying at his brother's house, while he was away - He's waiting to confront the man that is sleeping with his wife. Upon his arrest, Hilda seized upon an opportunity to see her husband removed from her life for good, in the form of an execution for treason, with evidence of this heinous crime being supplied solely by her perjury.
The defendant should not be on trial here today! No, his wife should, for lying under oath, and speaking her own treasonous words in this very courtroom. The prosecution should have known about this before calling this witness, who did nothing more than seal my client's innocence. The evidence presented by me AND the prosecution leads to only one possible verdict: Not guilty. Don't punish him for having an unfaithful wife, and don't punish him for his sheer dumb luck. Thank you.
This is the second out of three scenarios that you will be tasked with. Scenario 2, in particular, concerns the law system and its rules. Let's begin:
A new prosecutor is working in the Eden Courts: Joro Tra'eth, a Bothan from Yridia II. Joro is a temperamental, audacious prosecutor, but as a skilled defense attorney, you are able to take him down many times due to his inability to follow the system properly or his inability to properly prosecute the defendants. Below is a list of five brief scenarios involving different cases, in which you are defense attorney and Joro is prosecutor.
1. Near the beginning of a murder trial, you demand that the confession Joro is using for the trial be discarded as your client was not properly interrogated. Joro objects to that, claiming that the confession was received in a club bathroom by a cop with the defendant very much aware that he had the right to remain silent. What is your response?
2. During the discovery phase of a trial involving extortion, Joro provides the financial records of the defendant, which detail his most current transactions. However, the client was not aware that his records were being accessed. What is your response?
3. Joro calls up an alleged thief's girlfriend to the stand. While he is cross-examining her, she lets slip that the two got married in Taras a few months back. What is your response?
4. After Joro presents evidence that was not presented at the discovery phase, you demand that the judge not allow the evidence to be shown. To your surprise, the judge allows Joro to proceed. What is your response?
5. You have the edge on a case involving a client who murdered a man during a barfight. You tell Joros that your client will plead guilty for manslaughter if he only serves ten years, to be let off early if he is on good behavior. Joros refuses, claiming your client pre-meditated the murder and he will not stand down. What is your response?
This is your second task. Your responses should be at least two sentences in length, detailing not only your response but also your next move in the scenario. Please post all answers, numbered appropriately, on this thread.
1. A club bathroom, with one policeman, does not constitute a legal interrogation using proper procedure. Standard procedure requires that interrogations be performed at the police station, in a proper interrogation room, with at least one or two people supervising the interrogation, just to make sure it all goes to procedure. The specifics of this interrogation could never be confirmed, and the location and circumstances make the whole thing improper and inadmissible. I'd move for an immediate dismissal based on this alone.
2. For one, as soon as one side has collected evidence, they're supposed to share this evidence with the other side, or else it's inadmissible. Two, the defendant was supposed to be subpoenaed for his financial records directly. What the prosecution did was an end run around the defendant's right to privacy, especially regarding confidential and highly sensitive information that could compromise the defendant's identity. The financial records must be declared inadmissible and thrown out because of this violation of privacy.
3. The girlfriend's testimony is inadmissible, and should be thrown out, because of a little thing known as "spousal privilege." Someone's wife can't testify against their husband, as anything they say to each other is confidential communication, protected by spousal privilege. I'd certainly want to raise the question of why she tried to conceal their marriage, and depending on how damaging her testimony was, I'd either move for her entire testimony to be disregarded, or a mistrial.
4. Neither side can present evidence that the other side has not seen. I'd do my best to challenge the evidence as best I can, filing for motions to suppress, and doing my best to destroy the credibility of the evidence. If I lose the case, I'd appeal on the grounds that the damning evidence violated the rules on the admission and presentation of evidence, and that the presiding judge either forgot about this, or disregarded it.
5. My client lacked the mens rea to make the victim's death the result of pre-meditated murder. It was a bar fight, where it's highly probable that he and the deceased were intoxicated. In a drunken bar fight, it's possible that if the victim hadn't have died, the defendant would have, resulting in a good case for self-defence. My client is willing to plead guilty to manslaughter and do time, but if the prosecution isn't willing to take this generous gift, I can put up a good case for self-defence, leaving the prosecution looking at the possibility of an acquittal.
This is the third and final out of three scenarios that you will be tasked with. Scenario 3, in particular, concerns ethics. Let's begin:
You are assigned your toughest case yet; a Yridian woman is accused of treason, charged with murdering a clan ambassador sent to settle matters on Yridia IV. The woman, Sheryl Donnelly, has had a history with the clan and the government and is already on a black list for various murders and treasonous acts in the past. However, she has served her jail time and claims that this time, she is not responsible for the crime.
As the trial proceeds, you notice various discrepancies with the prosecutor's evidence and the judge's decisions. It seems no matter how you try to argue or ask for recusal, the trial is not going your way. You decide to do some investigating and discover that the judge is being bribed by none other than the Ethnarc in order to find Connelly guilty.
When you confront the judge on the matter, you are told that the Ethnarc wishes for Connelly to serve as an example to the Yridia system that punishment will be imposed for treason, in order to maintain order. As Connelly is a murderer, she is the perfect subject to use as she is already a "terrible person." However, for this particular case it is not deemed proper by law for Connelly to be used as a scapegoat, especially when she can be innocent. The only person you can seem to talk to is your master, Consul Ronovi Tavisaen Tarentae.
You have a choice: To carry out a trial as properly enforced, acquit a past murderer, and risk being disbarred by the Ethnarc; or to allow the trial to proceed, as it would assist the Kratocracy and execute an already established criminal.
In a letter to your master, write at least five paragraphs detailing your argument of the ethics of the case. Specify both arguments and use ethical thinking to make your choice. Provide evidence and arguments for your decision; your job is to convince your master of your point, so that she may overturn the Ethnarc's decision and declare a mistrial. Please post your letter (essay, essentially) on this thread.
Master, I come to you with a dilemma. Iíve been appointed to defend my client, who is wrongfully accused of murdering a clan ambassador. This amounts to charges of murder and treason, the latter a capital offence. The woman is innocent and I know it, but alas, the system is rigged against me. The Ethnarc has persuaded the presiding judge to ignore all evidence, and declare her guilty in the end, sending her to the gallows. Why, you may ask? This woman has a history of minor treasonous acts and murderous behaviour, and he wishes to make an example out of her, and randomly so. I was given two choices, and Iíve already made my decision: Rather than let him make a farce out of the judicial system, I decided I would rather risk disbarment by defending her to the best of my ability, seeking an acquittal.
Thus, I come to you. The judge cannot be swayed in any way whatsoever. I tried everything possible to present my case honestly and decently, performing to the best of my abilities, filing every necessary motion, and even demanding the judgeís recusal. Nothing has worked, nor can anything I do work... so I come to you. You have the power make this travesty of justice end. I know that you can overturn the Ethnarcís decision, and I donít care if he ends my legal career, as long as this woman can get a fair trial.
You may be wondering, ďWhy would I want to do such a thing?Ē Well, she hasnít committed the crimes for which she is on trial, her prior bad acts are irrelevant and inadmissible, and she had already been tried, convicted, and sentenced for her previous crimes. Sheís not a perfect person, or anything even close, but thatís no excuse for anyone to suddenly decide that they want to make an example out of her by trampling all over our laws and procedures.
My client is innocent, and everyone knows it, including the Ethnarc and the judge. A guilty verdict requires one very simple thing Ė that the defendant is actually guilty of the crime! Allowing this show trial to proceed their way would not only violate my clientís civil rights, but it would also turn our justice system into a sham. Not only that, but it also would PROTECT the real murderer, whoever they may be, saving them from the justice they deserve, and allowing them to perhaps kill again.
Her prior bad acts have no bearing on this case, as they are inadmissible under our evidentiary rules, and thus absolutely irrelevant. Yes, she had been tried and convicted of murder and treasonous acts before, but she did her time and paid her fines. Her criminal past is not proof in the least that she has killed again, let alone proof that she killed an important government official. Being a terrible person with a criminal past is NOT a capital offence!
She had already received justice for her prior bad acts, as she was tried, convicted, and sentenced for all her crimes. The state lost its opportunity to make an example out of her when they chose to punish her for her last murder or treasonous act by giving her a jail sentence, in lieu of having her executed. Time has passed, and sheís lived as a law abiding citizen of our beloved world for quite a while. How could executing an innocent civilian possibly make any sort of example to be followed? The only example the judge and Ethnarc would be setting is that our judicial system is nothing but an elaborate hoax and that you can and will be tried and executed for treason on a whim, just because you might have committed some crimes in the past.
I cannot support the Ethnarcís campaign to make an example out of anyone, particularly past criminals, by suddenly trying and convicting them for murdering someone they couldnít possibly have murdered, and betraying the state they couldnít possibly have betrayed. Thus, I come to you, asking for your well needed assistance. Please, in the interest of justice and ensuring that our judicial system remains intact, overturn the Ethnarcís ruling. Give this woman the fair trial sheís entitled to, and allow me to prove her innocence, something thatís been established by even the Ethnarc.
Thank you. Iím sure youíll make the right choice.
You are ordered into your master's office on Yridia IX. To your surprise, Ethnarc Stanson Rend is also present, while Consul Ronovi Tavisaen Tarentae sits at her desk. She looks at you, her newest apprentice, confidently, before stating the following:
"Giovanni, I have reviewed your work in the Eden courts. You have been able to carry out the law of the land while reminding the people of Yridia that the Kratocracy keeps an eye on them. That together is a difficult job to do, and I read from your latest letter. I am pleased to inform you that I have taken your concerns into account, and I have dismissed the trial.
"I am also happy to tell you that Ethnarc Rend and I would both like you to continue your work as defense attorney on Eden. We could use some Tarenti in the local judicial courts, and you would be vital to proceedings and a perfect counter to the various prosecutors on the planet. I am very impressed by your work, and I am happy to have given you the opportunity.
"In the end, I must tell you that this job was also meant to be a trial of your skill at the thing you are most adept at. Therefore, by the power vested in me as Consul and master, I hereby declare that you have passed your trial as agreed upon by the house summit of Reinthaler.