Galifar Code of Justice
The Galifar Code of Justice has been in place since the early days of the Kingdom of Galifar. Though the Five Nations retained the essence of the code throughout the Last War, each nation modified it to their needs. The Treaty of Thronehold ensured that the Code would be employed in all the nations recognized by the treaty, though enforcement and interpretation is left to the discretion of individual nations.
Protection of the Law
The protection of the law extends to all citizens of the nations recognized by the Treaty of Thronehold and all members of the Dragonmarked houses. Those who come from Droaam or the Shadow Marches are not protected under the laws unless they are working for one of the Dragonmarked houses.
In most nations monstrous races such as dragonborn, gnolls, kobolds, lizardfolk, minotaurs, orces, ogres, and tieflings have no official rights under the law unless they are a registered citizen. Outsiders and the undead have no rights under the Code of Galifar. Changelings, goblins, and warforged all have full protection of the law, though they often face prejudice.
All offenses are marked on the perpetrator’s papers. An individual who does not produce papers is assumed to be a repeat offender and suffers the most severe penalty allowable. Certain offenses may warrant branding so the offender’s past crimes cannot be concealed.
Crimes of Aggression
- Assault and Battery: The penalty for unarmed brawling is usually a fine, and perhaps being escorted out of the community, neighborhood or district. Brawls among the lower classes are typically ignored.
- Armed Assault: The aggressor can expect a 10 gp per offense. Anyone with three or more marks on his record may be arrested and held for trial. It is also common policy for the weapon of the aggressor to be confiscated. In lower class areas constables will not generally investigate armed assault as long as both parties survive.
- Assaulting an Officer of the Law: The offender will be arrested and held for trial.
- Murder: A murderer captured by the watch is held for trial and execution is a likely punishment if convicted.
- Dueling: The Galifar Code of Justice considers Dueling to be Assault with both parties as guilty of aggression.
Crimes of Deception
- Forgery: For minor offenses confiscation of the counterfeit items and a fine is the normal procedure. Being part of a counterfeiting ring will have the offender held for trial with large fines, branding and exile all as possible punishments.
- Fraud: Assuming proof of significant damages can be made the offender will be held for trial. The court may choose to apply fines, branding or exile the offender.
Crimes of Property
- Theft: In minor cases where the item stolen is returned the thief is also required to pay the victim twice the value of what he stole. If the item can not be returned the thief may be required to pay as much as ten times the value of the item taken with hard labor if the fine can not be payed. Branding or exile are common for repeat offenders.
- Smuggling and Contraband: Contraband is confiscated and fines of double the value of the illegal goods, higher fines for smuggling rings with branding and exile being possible additional punishments. The following are considered contraband in the Five Nations:
- Dragon’s Blood
- Most Addictive Substances
- Blank pages notarized by House Sivis
- Any lethal poisons or those capable of inflicting permanent crippling harm
- Treasure Hunting: It is illegal to plunder and sell the relics of past civilizations for personal profit. Any relics found by the authorities without the owner having a valid letter of marque will be confiscated.
A letter of marque can be purchased for 500gp from any government. The letter is good for one year and is tied to a specific location (Breland, [[Xen’drik]], Karrnath, Q’barra, etc). This letter allows the bearer to pass through customs with relics and sell items they have recovered from the region dictated on the letter.
Misuse of Magic
Any spell that can be used to inflict physical harm on another being is considered Armed Assault. Careless use of fire magic is treated very harshly due to the large threat of property damage it can cause. Spells that temporarily incapacitate victims are treated as Assault.
Treasonous acts can include:
- Conspiracy to harm a government official
- Conspiracy to steal or damage property of the government
- Espionage on behalf of a foreign nation.
Those convicted of treason are usually executed.
Most minor offenses are handled by local constables immediately, but certain offenses result in the accused being arrested to face the Magistrate.
Evaluation: A person arrested for a crime can expect to be taken before a magistrate within a few days. The magistrate reviews the facts of the case and asks the accused to confirm or deny their role in the crime. The magistrate has the power to dismiss the case or deal with the accused, typically with a fine or possibly exile. If the accused refuses the offer, the case proceeds to trial.
Barristers: Though the poor usually need to defend themselves, those with the means can engage barristers to represent them. The Speaker’s Guild of House Sivis includes some of Khorviare’s most skilled advocates, but the price is usually significant.
Trial by Jury: Under the Galifar Code of Justice, the court presumes innocence and allows a trial by a jury of citizens. In most nations the jury consists of nine people, with a majority vote deciding the matter. In some cities ritual magic may be employed to discern the truthfulness of testimony, particularly in serious cases, but the courts recognize that such magic is fallible.
During the course of the trial, witnesses are called to recount the events surrounding the crime. The barristers for both parties present claims and appeal to the jury, which renders its decision. The magistrate then sets punishment in accordance with the Code.
Imprisonment: Long terms in a small cell are rarely used as a form of punishment in the Five Nations. Anyone thought to be too dangerous to be allowed out is generally executed.
Some dangerous criminals who cannot be executed, including nobles, dragonmarked scions, and unique creatures may be sent to the island prison of Dreadhold managed by House Kundarak.
Fines: The most common form of penalty used by the courts. The fine is based on the nature of the crime but the Magistrate has the authority to raise the amount to ensure that it is actually a punishment relative to the person who committed the crime.
Hard Labor: When a criminal can not pay his fines he is sent to a government-owned work house to work off the debt. The work is unpleasant to say the least and the offender pays off 1sp of his debt per day worked.
Branding: Repeat offenders are often branded magically by House Sivis on the forehead or right hand to warn others of their criminal tendencies.
Exile: Depending on the severity of the crime the offender may be banished from Sharn or from Breland. Such individuals are branded by House Sivis. Penalty for returning from exile may be execution or a long period of hard labor.
Outlaw: A criminal considered unfit to be a member of society but not worthy of execution may be branded as an outlaw. This effectively removes the crook from the protection of the Galifar Code of Justice. Anyone may do anything they wish to the outlaw without fear of legal repercussions. The outlaw brand is recognized in Aundair, Breland, Karrnath, and Thrane.
Execution: Hanging is the most common form, with beheading being secondary choice.