Law (Dominaria Supplement)
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Law in the Lands of the Old Imperium
The Laws of the early Second Imperium are the basis for most of the laws in the modern Westlands. Under the Third Imperium, House Tionne decreed that this law would provide a "Common Law", and that these laws were to be the bare minimums provided to all. Any Lord found to be willfully negligent or in flagrant disregard of providing this right could technically be put to death by his Liege Seat. In practice, that would have been very difficult to prove or enforce, but it was a public decree. Everyone knew that it was the law of the land, and it did a lot to re-open the West (both internally and externally) after the Tionnic Wars unified it.
[TO ADD] Enforcement, how/who to bring to trial, admissibility of evidence, use of magic in court, rights of the accused/witnesses.
[NEEDS REVISION, OLD] The Sovereign is traditionally the ultimate adjudicator of the law in the modern West, but they often give this authority to regional High Seats, the Church, and/or local Lords and Low Seats. Typically local magistrates or arbiters carrying a Writ of Jurisprudence (a holdover from before the Storm War) have the authority to hear and adjudicate any case against a citizen or foreigner at the request of one or both parties; but the decision is final, binding, and compelling unless a Judge of the Realm is willing to hear the case. For nobles, guilds, and merchants any request for trial goes before the closest Judge of the Realm, absent evidence of collusion/bias. These Judges serve at the mercy of a High Seat (or in rare cases powerful Low Seats or Churches) and must accept any case brought before them. Appeals go directly to the appointing Seat, who would normally only hear cases between powerful nobles or cases against the Seat or Crown. Appeals past the Seat should not be considered possible but are technically allowed. Since the breakup of the Third Imperium these hazy waters have been further muddied. Most of the countries in the west follow these statutes, but in unaligned or border areas the law is much more concentrated in the hands of the powerful. And even where the law is more fairly served, many parts of the Westlands no longer resemble the Imperium which created these laws. Readers should strongly note that not every citizen or every low guild official and town guard knows all of these crimes and can cite statutes. Even among higher officials knowledge of specific offenses and punishments often depends on the desire to control or see righteous justice done. These are merely laws that can be, and are enforced to varying degrees all across the west. Big brother is not always watching, and neither are the town guards from Skyrim, but breaking these laws is ground for punishment at the hands of the dully appointed authorities.
[REVIEW TO SEE IF MORE NEEDED, CHECK FOR LOOPHOLES]
Crimes against the Crown
- Banditry: Waylaying of a citizen or foreigner and relieving them of money or property.
- Unlawfully Bearing Arms: Enforced in cities, Seated townships, and on Church/Guild grounds. Usually only constabulary, military, or state nobility have the right to freely (openly) bear arms within a 'Seat'. Arms are classified as a weapon with the express purpose of killing. A hatchet for example, or long knife, would be exempt. Citizens may generally purchase this right for a fee, and are required to carry a Writ. If they do not, arms must be packed away and out of sight. Again, enforced only within a Seat.
- Bribery: Paying a Crown or State official to act inconsistent with their office. Interestingly enough bribery of guild, mercantile, or church officials is not a crime. Those organizations are expected to police their own.
- Civil Disobedience: Causing trouble in a public place, generally lightly punished.
- Destruction of Crown Property: Punishment varies with damage done and whether or not said damage was deemed to be deliberate, negligent, or accidental.
- Embezzlement of Crown Funds: Misappropriation of funds placed in one's trust by the Crown.
- Fraud on the Crown: Punishments vary wildly depending on nature of the offense and rank of the victim.
- Grave Robbing: Robbing of a noble grave is punishable by death. Robbing of any other grave is worthy of prison and fines, but associates of the victim are allowed to bring the robber in dead or alive if they find them before the Crown.
- Illegal Fire: Generally only enforced in cities or Seated townships. Any fire in an unauthorized building after dark, or fire in any building with other than stone or dirt floors.
- Illegal Money Changing/Usury: All money changers are approved by the Crown, a Seat, or designated Guilds. Usury or the practice of indentured servitude is the practice of lending money or services at rates of unreasonably interest.
- Impersonation of a Crown Official: Generally an extraordinarily serious offense. This includes soldiers and Seat guards.
- Possession of Illegal/Stolen Goods: Self explanatory. Confiscation of goods and a fine equal to their worth when stolen, plus jail time depending on property in question and victim.
- Piracy: Banditry at Sea, but with far harsher punishments due to mercantile influence.
- Public Drunkenness/Disorderly Conduct: Lightly punished in all but the most heinous cases.
- Rioting/Incitement to Riot: Like civil disobedience but more harshly punished depending on the area of the riot, disruption caused, and property damaged. Ringleaders always punished harder.
- Sedition: Stirring up discontent against the state, but lacking an overt act. Also incitement of others to commit violent acts.
- Slavery: Owning, trafficking in, transporting, or hiding slaves.
- Treason/Revolt: As sedition, but with an overt act of violence (or attempted as such). This includes incitement of others to commit such acts.
- Vagrancy: Homelessness. Generally punished only in cities, rarely punishable once a slum develops.
- Plus all others listed below:
Crimes against Nobles, Merchants, and Guilds
- Blackmail: Blackmailing royalty, nobility, powerful guildsmen, or registered merchantmen is a serious offense. Proving the offense ipso facto is difficult but res ipsa loquitur justifications are often accepted from powerful offended parties.
- Blasphemy: An irreverent act or utterance against the local (or allied) nobility or religion. This is enforced and punished in varying degrees depending on the target, nature, and effect of the crime.
- Default/Bankruptcy: An inability to repay rent or any other agreed upon sum/transaction. The default does not have to be monetary. This can include a failure to maintain adequate securities or cash reserves for guilds/banks.
- Extortion: Obtaining goods, services, or money through threat of or actual violence.
- Forgery: An attempt to mint one's own currency or create counterfeit bank or mercantile notes. Also the attempt to reproduce any official document of the crown, state, or a guild.
- Impersonation of an Official: Any impersonation of a guild, noble, or mercantile official for the purpose of fraudulent gain or slanderous activities.
- Plus all others listed below
Crimes against Citizens
- Arson: Setting fire to any Crown Property, any property owned by citizens/licences foreigners/businesses/church, or any property inside of a city.
- Burglary: Pilfering of goods from an unoccupied residence or store.
- Theft:The pilfering of unattended goods.
- Trespassing/Poaching:Setting foot on another's land without permission. Usually punished fully only when damage is done accidentally or when poaching has occurred.
- Perjury: Lying under oath in an Imperial court is a serious offense, given that non-eyewitnesses have the right to remain silent (Eyewitnesses to the crime can be compelled to testify). The punishment is generally the maximum punishment for the crime being tried, plus hard labor if none was assigned.
- Vandalism/Criminal Mischief: Wanton and deliberate defacement of another's property.
- Plus all others listed below
Crimes against Foreigners and Poor
- Assault: Putting any individual in imminent fear of personal bodily harm.
- Battery: Striking another in a harmful or offensive manner, outside of a sanctioned fight or duel. Generally only enforced for severe beatings, or if the victim is important. Also rarely enforced if both parties are equally injured, or nearly so.
- Kidnapping: Punishment varies widely based on the victim and the perpetrator, as well as the length of detention and condition of the detained.
- Manslaughter: Accidental killing. Punishment depends of victim and whether killing was deemed negligent or accidental.
- Murder: Deliberate and wrongful killing.
- Rape: Punished similarly to kidnapping, and the defendant is always subjected to truth spells if available. If the perpetrator knew what they were doing was against the will of the victim, castration is automatic. Lighter punishments for unknowing perpetrators. There are very few cases of false reporting, because the victim is always put under truth spell as well.
- Robbery: Forcibly Stealing from someone, or stealing form their residence or place of business while they're present.
Law in Arcadia
The Twelve Tables are a cornerstone of Arcadian jurisprudence. They stem from a sweeping set of reforms within the aging empire during the early Third Age. Emperor XXX
Table I: Authority of the State, the Court, and the Accused
- Any plaintiff may summon a defendant to court, if the defendant declines the plaintiff must present a reliable witness to the Magistrate to compel the defendant. To compel a landowner to appear there must be three witnesses.
- The State need not present witnesses to compel the defendant's appearance.
- If sickness or age is an impediment to appearance, the plaintiff shall pay for conveyance.
- Parties to a proceeding may make agreement before the Magistrate and court convenes, their agreement in writing shall be binding.
- If no agreement is made before noon then the Magistrate and their court will have authority.
- The authority of a Magistrate is binding unless judgement of a Consul or Proconsul (or Praetor in time of war) reverses the decision.
- Potential city or regional Magistrates shall be brought by the relevant Consul before the appointing city senate for approval biennially.
- Any magisterial decision outside the bounds of the Twelve Tables shall be reviewed by another Magistrate of the same region, if there is disagreement final disposition falls to the Consul.
Table II: Court Proceedings
- No person may be compelled to testify unless they are serving sentence for commission of a crime.
Table III: Execution of Judgement
- The allotted time for payment of confessed or mandatory debt shall be 30 days. After 30 days the creditor or their appointed representatives shall lay hands on the debtor.
Law in Beldron
Law in Paladonic and Darusite Otaria
Law in the Caliphates of the Enlightened Peoples
Law Among the Bedou
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