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The Valrimir have a fairly unique system of Justice. Today's Weblog post discusses the Valrimir legal system and compares and contrasts with our own.

SPOILER ALERT: This post may contain information from future books and plotlines that might reveal information to the reader.

In my second book "The Summomining" I devote chapter Seventy Three; Justice and Injustice to a description of a Valrimir Sekraaga, (The confrontation and judgement). In this case, Hagrath and Rasmius are being brought before the Valrimir Lawgiver and Administrator of Justice, a wise, elderly man named Heraald.

Similar to our own Justice system, the accused appear before a judge, and enter a plea, or either guilty, not guilty (sometimes not guity due to extenuating circumstances such as insanity, etc.) or "Nolo Contendre" or no contest meaning that the defendant does not wish to enter a guilty plea, but is simply stating that he does not wish to contest the charges against him. However, in our system, the accused then are assigned a court date, and the legal representation for the accused begin to prepare their defense, while the prosecution prepares its case in an attempt to convict the accused.

In the Valrimir Justice system, things occur quite a bit more quickly. The nature of the plea is heard, If the accused admits their guilt, it goes a very long ways towards the possibility of some measure of leniency in their sentencing. If a plea of guilty is entered, then the Confrontation portion of the Sekraaga is skipped, and the tribunal moves directly to the judgement and sentencing phase where friends, family and others will have the opportunity to speak on behalf of the accused. Otherwise, if a not guilty plea is voiced, the Sekraaga continues directly into the fact finding and the confrontation and eventually to the judgement portion of the event.

Once that the nature of the plea by the accused is voiced, the accused is allowed to make a statement, and if the plea is one of not guilty, it is followed by questioning by the Lawgiver and Administrator of Justice. The Accused is given one final opportunity to restate any of the information that they have provided.

In the Valrimir Justice system, it requires two witnesses in order to make an accusation that can lead to a conviction with the exception of a case of murder which requires a minimum of three firsthand actual eyewitnesses. During his Sekraaga in "The Summoning", Hagrath chooses his words very carefully, and due to the fact that Rasmius is the only one who offers personal first hand eyewitness testimony against Hagrath, it is not possible to convict him.

During the judgment phase of the Sekraaga, the opportunity is given for any additional witnesses to speak either on behalf of or against an accused. In Chapter Seventy Three of "The Summoning", Gary Krahmer and several others speak on behalf of Rasmius, and request leniency in the sentencing, noting that Rasmius was simply a pawn being used by Hagrath to discredit him and to try and bring about the removal of Gary from amongst the Valrimir presence.

For lesser crimes, the sentence may range from mandatory community service to an appropriate measure of time for the convicted to be spent locked in a cell, during which the family and/or friends of the convicted must provide for their feeding and care. Personally, I believe that should such a stance be adopted in our own society, not only would the tremendous cost of incarceration be greatly reduced, but just knowing that to commit a crime would cause a hardship upon one's families and friends would serve as a strong deterrent.

For more serious crimes, in the event that one Valrimir is responsible for the death of another, the only two options are either death or banishment. It is precisely because the Valrimir process for issuing a death sentence is so very harsh that over the course of several thousand years, a sentence of death has only occurred a very few times.

First of all, in order to convict one of murder, there must be a fairly good amount of evidence including the personal eye witness accounts of multiple witnesses, but more importantly, there must be at least three individuals who have standing (who have personally suffered the loss of a loved one or family member at the hands of the accused) who must step forward and demand the death of the convicted. Also, those individuals who demand the death of the accused must be willing to carry out the sentence which is very harsh.

The process is described in Chapter ten of my third book; "Heir to Three Thrones" in a conversation between Gary and his close friend Glamish.

“My friend, understand that a sentence of death has only been carried out on a very few extremely rare exceptions. This is no doubt due to the harshness of the penalty”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“There is a deep pit in a chamber at the rear of the Tribunal Hall. It is spoken of only in whispers. As I understand it, when in The Sakragaa, the Tribunal, an accused has been proven guilty of causing the death of another, and a sentence of death is justified, any who feel strongly enough to step forward, and to speak against the accused by demanding such a sentence of death, must also be willing to see that punishment meted out. For the accused, the justice is most severe indeed. For several days before his sentence is carried out, the accused must climb down a long rope ladder into the pit, and upon reaching the bottom, must gather and carry

up hundreds of cold lumas, He must then place them in a pack, strap the

pack to his back, and carry these heavy lumas back up the rope ladder to

the top of the pit, and place them in a large pile. The accused must make

hundreds of trips down that rope ladder, and then must hoist the

implement of his own destruction back to the top, hundreds of times more.

Eventually, a leather bag containing the body of the previously executed

is uncovered, and the accused must then haul the bag carrying the crushed

form of his predecessor up to the top of the pit as well, where one of the

guilds whose responsibility is to remove and bury the remains of the

deceased will do so.

Finally, on the day that has been appointed for the execution, the

accused is gagged, and is made to step into a large leather bag in the

shape of his form. The bag is placed over his legs, he places his arms into

sleeves sealed at the ends, and eventually over his head, where it is tied at

the top from the outside. The accused is then allowed the opportunity to

throw himself down into the pit, in the hope that the impact from the fall

will mercifully render him unconscious. Those unwilling to do so

themselves, find a rope hung around their neck connected to a heavy

weight which the accused is then handed and must hold. Eventually, the

heat inside the bag, the lack of air, and fatigue will cause the accused to

lose hold of the weight, and to drop it down into the pit, carrying the

accused behind it down into the pit. Those who came forward to speak

against the accused, demanding the justice of their death then are then

called upon to do their duty by dropping all of the lumas in the pile down

into the pit and onto the accused, crushing him.”.

One advantage that the Valrimir system of Justice has that our own system does not, lies in the fact that the Lawgiver/Administrator of Justice is an Illidranii, who can read auras and can tell whether or not the accused that is being questioned by the Administrator of Justice is telling the truth or not. Each individual carries around themselves an aura. Based upon their disposition to do good or evil throughout their life, their choices have a cumulative effect upon the auras that they are surrounded by. A skilled Illidranii can quickly surmise whether any given individual is a good person or not, and whether they are telling the truth or lying, which causes a noticeable shift in their auras.

While seemingly harsh, the Valrimir system of Justice is swift and effective.

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