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Oscan Trials

Since there is no law enforcement, one must accuse someone of a crime, and this starts a trial to prove that even innocence of the accused. The accused is imprisoned, either in a dungeon or under house arrest; the accused assets are frozen at this time also.

At the start of the trial a Praetor (Judge) is chosen to preside over the trial. This Praetor does not decide innocence or not, he passes judgement when the verdict is in. Rather it is a randomly selected jury of eligible citizens, varying from 6 to 48 in number. The accuser or defendent has to convince the jury of their point of view by any means necessary; though bribery; if caught, is immediate grounds for a loss, which has its own penalties. The Praetor is only the arbitrator in this phase of the trial, only making a decision in case of a tie.

There are several ways to influence the jury. The quickest way is to have a good lawyer; who cannot be paid for his service. The primary purpose of a lawyer is as an orator, who sways the jury by words. Of course witnesses and evidence can also be used. There is another “impartial” entity that can be used; the audience. The audience can be uses to drown out the lawyer by shouting, making the lawyer’s words unheard by the jury. Or more insidiously intimidate witnesses or even the jury; however, this can only be done during the trial. Often the local street gangs are used to in this manner to rile up the audience. After the verdict has been leveled, the Praetor gives the punishment to the loser, the accuser or defendent, this can be influenced as well, the punishment doesn’t have to fit the crime.

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