14 of the
the Democratic Commonwealth of Bergonia,
Law and Procedure
CRIMES AND DISPUTES
Many federal republics, including the United States, have
dual court systems, consisting of federal and state courts, often with
confusingly concurrent jurisdiction.
But Bergonia has a single, unitary court system.
commonwealth and the states share control control over this one
Supreme Court shall serve as the final court of appeals for the
shall consist of nine judges whom the Congress shall select
upon the nomination of the Court itself. Each judge shall
serve a term of nine years, one to be chosen each year.
No person shall be chosen for the Supreme Court
unless he has already served as a judge on one of the other courts established
No judge may serve more than one term.
Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction over these
case in which two or more states or autonomous counties oppose one
case in which the President, any of the Officers or the Executive Council is a party.
c) Any petition filed by either Congress, the speaker thereof,
the President, the Executive Council or any member thereof, which
either alleges that a commonwealth law violates the constitution or seeks an
authoritative interpretation of constitutional principles or
any of these cases the Supreme Court may in its discretion appoint panels of
three trial judges to take evidence and make or review findings
Supreme Court also has jurisdiction to take appeals of cases from
the grand courts that involve legal questions of national import
which lower courts have substantially differed in answering.
Minidun these courts are called Panare-movoc.
grand court shall sit in every state as a court of final appeals. Congress shall establish one such court per state with a
population of six million or more, and Congress shall establish regions
that combine any state of less
than six million in population with one or more contiguous states to form a region with
at least six million. Congress shall establish two such
courts in any state with a population of twelve million or
Rarsecin, Cuecha, Paiatri, Pueoi, Letlari and Halemarec.
grand court shall consist of at least ten judges as Congress may
determine. Each judge
shall have resided within the region for at least five years prior
to his appointment. No
person shall be selected to a regional court who has not
previously been a judge for at least five years in another court.
Regional court judges shall serve terms of nine years and may
not be reappointed.
state congresses shall select the judges of each grand court according to
such procedures that Congress may establish by law.
In regions where two or more states are combined, the
congresses of the states shall together select the judges by such
procedures as Congress may make.
Such procedures shall determine that a number of
judges of the total shall be chosen from each state proportional to
the population of the state.
grand courts shall hear appeals from all state appellate courts
in the commonwealth as they wish to hear.
Lower appellate courts may certify questions of law to the
grand courts as an aid in deciding cases.
state shall establish a system of courts to hear appeals from
decisions of trial courts.
defendants convicted to terms of imprisonment of one year or more
shall have an appeal as a matter of right.
state shall establish a system of superior trial courts, common
pleas trial courts, and magistrates.
Each locale shall have its own superior and common pleas trial courts.
trial courts shall hear charges of violent felony crimes, claims of fraud,
charges of crimes concerning entry or departure from the
commonwealth, or the import or export of goods or money, offenses
related to the currency or to banking, and such other major cases as
the state congress may allow them to hear.
pleas courts shall mediate and try all other claims and charges.
Every common pleas court shall appoint a number of
magistrates, who need not be attorneys. The states may create specialized divisions of common pleas
courts, including family and domestic courts.
trial court shall include a number of primary judges and a number of trial
and the states shall by law establish and delineate the venue of cases.
Judges of appellate and trial courts shall be chosen according to such procedures that
the states may establish, subject to the following qualifications:
(i) Only attorneys
with at least five years active practice may become judges.
(ii) The name of any
attorney nominated for appointment or election shall first be submitted to
an appropriate college of attorneys for approval.
(iii) No judge may
serve for a term longer than nine years.
Judges shall rotate to serve on various trial court and appellate
court benches within a region, according to procedures approved by
both the grand court and the congresses of the states within the
No person ever convicted of a felony crime may serve as judge,
and if any judge is convicted of a felony crime while he sits, he
shall forfeit his office. Congresses
of states may remove a judge from office if proof is adduced in a hearing
that the judge has committed an act that compromises the integrity of his
attorneys may present cases in courts, except that (a) a person may
represent himself, his spouse, parents, siblings or children, and
(b) a member of a corporation may represent the corporation.
those persons with diplomas from law schools or apprenticeship
programs approved by the National
Academy of Law located in Ceiolai shall become attorneys. The
National Academy shall collaborate with the congress of each state
to establish and license schools of law.
state congress shall establish procedures for the qualification and
licensing of attorneys, and for the creation of a
college of attorneys in every subdivision, which shall be
representative of all attorneys therein.
corporations and other entities may file complaints against one
another in trial courts, but only complaints alleging offenses
defined by law. Congress and the states may define offenses,
and so may the grand courts by virtue of common precepts of
justice, according to these limitations:
Both the courts and Congress
and the state congresses shall explicitly define what behavior
constitutes an offense by describing the factual elements of the
may annul any offense created by the Supreme Court, and the
state congresses may annul any offense created by its regional
grand court. If a definition of an offense crated by either Congress
or a state congress conflicts with a court-made definition of an
offense, the court's definition shall be void.
Supreme Court may annul any offense created created by Congress
or a state congress if it specifies that the offense is contrary to this
constitution, and a grand court may likewise annul any offense created by
a state congress if it specifies that
the offense is contrary to this constitution or that of the
grand court shall publish a book stating the definition of every
offense recognized under the laws of the commonwealth and the laws
of the state, and distribute it to every school, library and public
building in the state.
courts shall try charges of treason, which includes any act
committed by a citizen which furthers an enemy in war against
Bergonia, aids an enemy of Bergonia, or overtly aims for violence
against the independent state of Bergonia.
section constitutionally recognizes
what we in the United States call the common law, which is the law
made by courts. The
vast majority of the civil law in the United States is court made
law. However it presents an
interesting departure from American law, by requiring the
courts to draft the common law in the same definitive linguistic
style used by Congress for drafting statutes.
definition of treason includes acts of terrorism.
Filing and Service of Complaints: Any
citizen may file with a magistrate court a complaint of any offense
done to him. A person
may file a complaint without regard for his status, citizenship or
station in life.
officer or qualified public officer may file with a magistrate a complaint of an
offense done to others which he discovers in the course of his work,
and thereby request the the magistrate to issue an arrest warrant.
Content of Complaints: All complaints must written,
sworn to, and signed. Each such complaint shall charge an offense pursuant
to Section Seven. No complaint shall properly issue if it
restates any offense which was previously been charged by an
earlier complaint, unless that complaint was dismissed without
prejudice to the parties.
Review and Investigation of Complaints: According
to law, every complaint shall be assigned to a magistrate or primary
judge who shall review it and determine if it should be dismissed on
its face, investigated or prosecuted.
If he determines that
on its face a complaint fails to state an offense under the
law, he may dismiss it or amend it.
If he decides to
investigate, he may issue summons and subpoenas. He may require
that a hearing be held to determine if any evidence exists to
support the allegations of the complaint, if preliminary relief
should be granted, or if a party should be jailed upon the
the primary judge decides that the complaint states a
proper claim for prosecution he shall endorse the complaint and
order that either notice of the complaint be made
upon the defendant and any other appropriate parties.
He may issue warrants for the arrest of defendants in
cases charging criminal offenses.
At any time he shall
have authority to mediate between the parties in cases not
involving claims of violence or fraud.
first paragraph of this section takes for granted something that is
quite essential to Bergonian law.
That is that there is no distinction procedurally between a
criminal offense and a civil offense.
In Anglo-American law, they are assumed to be different
species. In traditional
Bergonian law, there is a single specie of claim, which is initiated
by a svetlec, a "complaint."
Generally the same rights adhere to the complainant as to the
defendant, and to the claims which may be punishable by imprisonment
as to those which are not.
The influence of English law on Bergonia, along with
the modern precepts of democratic human rights have resulted
in the addition of some procedural rights for those
defendants charged with offenses that are punishable by imprisonment
or death. The remainder
of claims are those punishable only by fines, damages, or work.
The provisions for
primary judges are similar to the provisions in the Civil Law
of Europe for the examining judge in criminal case, but here he does
it in both civil and criminal matters.
It is intended that the Primary Judge shall dismiss
frivolous cases. It
is also anticipated that the Primary judge may use its subpoena
power to compel the presence of the defendant in order to compel
mediation and settlement. In
practice, the majority of complaints are resolved by the Primary
Arrests and Detention
police officer may arrest a person for violating a criminal law if the police
officer witnesses the act or receives the dire complaint of a victim
police officer may arrest a person pursuant to the warrant issued by
a magistrate or a primary judge.
person arrested by a police officer may be jailed and otherwise
restrained of his liberty, but he must be taken before a magistrate
within twenty-four hours for an initial appearance, and he must be
taken to a primary
judge within ten days of arrest, whereupon either magistrate or
primary judge shall review the complaint against the person and
entertain motions for bond.
person jailed pursuant to arrest shall have the right to bond,
except for charges of murder and heinous crimes supported by
competent evidence in a hearing before the primary judge within ten
days of arrest.
the primary judge endorses the complaint he shall transfer it to a
trial judge, who shall hold a trial thereon.
Cases filed in magistrate court shall also be tried.
complainant and every person charged in a complaint shall have the
Testify on his own behalf.
Subpoena witnesses to testify on his behalf.
Cross examine all witnesses who testify.
Argue his case at the conclusion of evidence.
Have the representation of an attorney of his choice.
matter shall be tried twice, unless a competent court of appeals
holds that the first trial violated law.
second paragraph is this constitution's equivalent of the double
addition to the procedures established under the preceding section,
any citizen charged with a criminal offense punishable with
imprisonment or death has these protections:
He shall have a preliminary hearing within ten days.
He shall have the right to a trial within four months,
but he may waive this right.
He shall have the right to counsel at all stages of the
He may personally attend all proceedings.
The prosecution must prove the charges against him in an open
trial, but he may waive this right.
He may not be compelled to testify, and he may not be made to
incriminate himself by any official or judge or police officer.
trial shall be heard before a jury, which shall consist of not less
than eight persons. Juries may include not more than three judges.
jurors shall be selected by lot, except that in matters
involving technical or scientific questions, persons with special
knowledge may be included on the jury at the option of the
presiding judge in accordance with the provisions of law.
In proper cases as defined by law, the presiding judge may
impanel different juries to sit in a single trial to judge different
issues. The verdicts of
juries shall be unanimous.
provision explicitly empowers courts to employ juries of
specialists, thus cultivating a tradition in Bergonia of jury by
specialists in certain types of cases.
For example, medical malpractice cases are tried before
juries that include doctors.
A case involving a contract dispute between two engineering
firms would employ a jury that includes engineers.
However, juries involving specialists are usually required to
render written opinions setting forth their expert review.
Penalties and Awards
court may vote to assess against a party such penalties as the laws
defining offenses allow. Such
penalties may include:
Imprisonment, but only if a jury convicts a defender of a criminal
offense, or if the defendant accepts a sentence. Imprisonment
may consist of incarceration in a jail, house arrest, probation, or
assignment to a work camp or work house.
Payment of money to and performance of labor for any person,
corporation, government or organ of state which the offender has harmed,
including payment of fines and specific work for the benefit of the community.
An order requiring or prohibiting certain specified acts to
remedy harm done or to discourage the commission of any
wrongful act in the future, but no order shall be so onerous as to
impose duties beyond the offender's abilities.
An order requiring forfeiture of land leaseholds.
Censure in newspapers, on radio and television, and otherwise
Punishments shall in any
event not result in the deliberate infliction of pain.
Punishments shall not entail imposition of conditions that
result in less than an adequate diet, eight hours of sleep at night,
adequate heat in cold weather, and correspondence with family.
Punishments also shall not result in any deprivation of
medical care. Punishments
may include other deprivations, including labor up to forty-eight
hours a week, and deprivation of communication, entertainment
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