This November I'll be posting (well, trying) 30 Tribunal cases. Each post will bring a pool at the end, so that the members of this forum can vote on the legal merit of the cases and act as the members of the Tribunal.
If there are any comments or suggestions about the cases or the format, I ask that they are made here. The same if you think some crucial information is missing before you vote.
I'll try to present the cases following the steps presented for the public hearing on HoH:TL p.57 (the prosecution and defense take turns making their points, beggining with prosecution; members of the Tribunal ask any questions deemed necessary; when everything has been said, the Praeco calls for a vote).
In case of conviction, the penalties are left to the SG to adjudicate.
In case #1, as a magus of the Tribunal, I would propose a motion to fine both of the magi involved 1 pawn of vis for wasting the Tribunal's valuable time (which constitutes a worse deprivation than the supposed offense). This should have been reseolved at the covenant's level, or simply through Certamen between the magi.
Edit: If you like this reply, consider this as a vote towards this motion.
Make sure you state which Tribunal is judging the case - and perhaps the year? The results may vary a lot depending on time and place. For example, the "Case of the stolen pie" will result in a verdict of innocence in Normandy (where by 1220 there is vast precedent that stealing mundane resources does not constitute deprivation of magical power, regardless of indirect effects on a magus' magical puissance: see Florum vs. Normandy, 1081 - tLatL, p.23).
For the same reason, it would help to ground the case in "real" covenants and magi. For example Magvillus (the Domus magna of house Guernicus) might easily get away with stuff that a shady spring covenant such as Waddenzee would be punished for, as few magi would be willing to antagonize the Quaesitores.
Finally, let me point out one crucial point for all Tribunals save the perhaps the Grand Tribunal. The number of magi involved is very limited - a hundred, on average - so there should be ample time to hear every case that only takes a short time to state. Keep in mind that in medieval times the right to have one's grievances heard was considered exceedingly important, and the basis of the social contract whereby one would delegate judgement to a higher authority, rather than take justice in his own hands. I think most magi of the Order would be fully aware of this, and rather waste a few more minutes to judge a case brought forth in good faith, however trivial, than create a dangerous precedent "we don't have time for this".
I've put one, but I think it got lost in the middle of the text. I'll make it more visible.
I hope to make most cases universal, representing an "unbiased Tribunal" (if such a thing even exists). And then you might lookat the numbers and say "well, in Normandy the votes would be skewed towards innocence because so and so" or "in such case, if the defendant was an archmagus in Rhine, he would surely get away with it".
I do have a few planned where the Tribunal/covenant/magus makes a huge difference, however.
On case #2, Bonisagus routinely foster their apprentices and this is essentially what has happened in this case. The right of Bonisagus was fulfilled but the apprentice dying did deprive the Bonisagus of his apprentice. Punishment however should be significantly lighter than the 12 seasons requested, I would suggest he is owed 2 seasons assistance as recompense for the accidental death.
Case #2: Bridgit is innocent of any wrongdoing. The apprentice died in an accident. Whether the apprentice was yet Eogan's is irrelevant, for even if she was, she was tasked with helping her former mistress. It is the same as if she'd been sent to harvest vis or to perform any other task, and died in as a result.
This is an interesting point, and one I thought of raising on the text (I might end up editing just to add this). The case is a bit blurred between right of Bonisagus and deprivation. Eodan explicitly chose to present it as Bonisagus rights (if the strategy is a good or bad one, this can be debated). It can surely be argued that this is a deprivation case, and therefore, Bridgit can't be convicted for failing to uphold Bonisagus rights. This could end up ith the case being postponed until the next Tribunal, to give both sides more time to prepare.
it doesn't. There are few cases that would get judged the same way accross tribunals except maybe selling your soul to a demon.
Magus Absurdus in the room would like to make a motion in favor of recognising that causing a magus emotional distress and wasting his time is deprivation of power, and therefore, Exageratus should be marched, because clearly a lot of magi are being deprived right now.
This case in my mind is confusing politics and law. I voted neutral, mostly because there is no right or wrong answers. It really boils down to whether the magi in the tribunal want to change the rules, not whether the rules are invalid.
Ecelus of Tytalus is a wandering magus who hops around Tribunals to voice his opinion on every Hermetic case brought forth "to remedy the said intellectual - and occasionally ethical -limitations of our sodales, the Quaesitores".
In the case of the "stolen pie", he bristles at the suggestion that the case is wasting the Tribunal's time, and even more so at the notion that the plaintiff should be punished for it. "Sodales, it is an important charge the one brought forth - deprivation of magical power, achieved indirectly by depriving a magus of the mundane resources necessary to exert it. Saying such crucial issues are beneath the Tribunal's notice invites every magus to take justice in his own hands, a sure recipe for chaos. These are charges that - in principle - deserve Marching. So the Quaesitor's strange notion that the plaintiff should be fined, and the defendant fined too, does nothing but confirm the insistent voices that the Quaesitores care nothing for justice and order, but only care about fattening their own vis stores through summarily levied fines.
I would say that we should establish, first, if the plaintiff was indeed deprived of magical power - for which he has brought no proof; it should be easy enough with judicious application of Mentem magic. If he was, as I said, the standard punishment for the defendant should be Marching. I propose that, should both parties agree, this should be reduced to a season of service by the defendant for every season lost by the plaintiff."
In the case of the "loaned apprentice" Ecelus of Tytals highlights that, as usual, the logic of the Quaesitor is impaired.
"For there are two possibilities. The first is Eonas accepted to defer his right to claim the apprentice, in which case certainly no Bonisagus right was violated. The second is that Eonas exerted his right immediately, and then tasked his new apprentice to assist Brigit in her research, in which case again no Bonisagus right was violated. At best, in the second case, there may have been deprivation of magical power - having one's apprentice taken away counts as such, regarless of the House of the victim. Though again, it's unclear which guarantees if any Eonas asked in case something like this happened. I believe it should have been Eonas' responsibility to make abundantly clear whether the apprentice was his, or Brigid's, during the experiment; and in the former case, to what risks said apprentice might be exposed to and any consequence thereof. I would note that Eonas too stood to benefit from the apprentice participating in the experiment, thus gaining knowledge that might prove of use to Eonas; so it is not far fetched to say that a loan without guarantees might have been fair.
In the absence of any additional detail on any agreement between the two magi, I would vote for acquittal. I might add, from the experience of my old age, that only a fool gives away lightly that which is important to him: thus, we should not worry too much about things given lightly away, for either the loss or the loser is of little worth."
Strictly speaking it's not really possible to separate legislation and politics. But some cases do bring more politics to the legal discussion.
Adelman is basing his motion on the interpretation that the peripheral code violates the Code. This might be his legitimate understanding, or this might be a political move. Or he might be doing it just for the kicks. He is a Tytalus after all.
Personally speaking I think Adelman's case is flawed and his understanding of hermetic law is lacking, but hey, my understanding is lacking too, so I can't be too harsh when judging him. XD
In the case of the stolen pie, I would bring up that in Hibernia stealing cattle is a sport and stealing the magical cathach is an important part of limited wizard's war, and in Normandy covenants steal large quantities of each other's magical wealth all the time. Clearly this would be trivial by those two tribunal's standards - would you wish your tribunal to look petty by comparison?
I voted not guilty of endangering the order because the charges are absurd. Endangering the order is when the order itself is endangered, not when a few magi get hurt. Provoking the church to potentially start hunting magi is endangering the order, declaring war with faeries who might retaliate against other magi is endangering the order, causing a brawl at a tribunal is just a normal day at a Normandy tribunal. It might violate norms in a Rhine tribunal, but it is far from a crime.