Courts in Rokugan are called by either a Chief Magistrate or in the case of purely local and internal matters, a daimyo presiding as judge over the proceedings. A judge has full responsibility for sentencing the accused, though he has little say over the question of guilt or innocence, by the time a perpretator is brought before a court, they will have already confessed to any crimes they are charged with.
The Courtroom Edit
While the appearance of courts vary across Rokugan, areas designated as courts (and not merely the standard audience chamber of the presiding daimyo) are generally similar. The courtroom is an open courtyard within the judge's complex. On one side of the courtyard is a shaded, raised dais that provides a comfortable area for the judge to preside from. Next to the dais is space for the judge's yojimbo as well as the court's scribe to record the proceedings.
The opposite side of the courtyard is called the "white sands of judgment." This is a flat area several yards wide that holds pure, white sand. The accused is placed kneeling in this area (those criminals that create trouble are beaten until they submit or fall). The sands absorb all of the heat of Lord Sun, leaving the accused in a very uncomfortable position.
The Court Complex Edit
In additon to the courtroom, the court complex will include offices for the court's scribe(s), a library of legal texts as well as the court's own records and transcripts, including barracks for the yoriki and doshin. Deputies are not housed within the court complex. A judge's home is often also within the court complex, although it may be located elsewhere.
Once the accused is kneeling (or collapsed) upon the white sands in the courtroom (or merely upon the floor, if in a daimyo's audience chamber), the scribe reads aloud the crimes of which he is accused. When the list of charges is completed, the scribe then reads the accused's confession.
At this point, the judge may question the perpretator. Judges often ask questions to help clarify any confusing parts of the confession or to better understand the accused's character before deciding upon a verdict. After questioning, the judge decides upon a sentence. The judge's decision is final, and the sentence is carried out immediately.
See Also Edit
Major References Edit
- "Way of the Magistrate" Written by Scott Gearin and published in the Imperial Herald.