Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Microstory 787: Justice Clerk

In 1791, the United States Constitution was placed into operation, establishing the foundation of the nation’s laws, including those of the Adjudicative Branch of government. Many legal systems were proposed, the one that survived being an amalgamation of practically all of them. These are the parameters, as originally set forth by the administration, some of which has been amended over time. In every court, no matter how small, or how large, there exists one licensed adjudicator, and two independent arbitration panels of five individuals each. Known as arbiters, three of these are average citizens of the country, called upon to represent the people’s voice during deliberations. They are theoretically unbiased actors, charged with executing justice fairly, and without preconception, though this would be an unrealistic fantasy. And so each panel also has two arbitrators, who have undergone formal training in all matters of law. They study a variety of fields that fall into the four major departments of humanities, communications, government, and law. They are meant to serve as a sort of bias police, to ensure the arbiters are staying on track and keeping to the facts, as well as explain to them how law and policy work. Educated arbitrators serve an incredibly important role in the process. With no prerequisite of ethics training, it would be itself unethical and irresponsible to rely on an unqualified peer acting as an arbiter to be impartial during a trial. The separation of panel deliberations ensures as well, an ethical outcome to the court proceedings, by preventing undue influence, which could lead to a form of contamination called adulteration. If all has gone well, both panels, and the adjudicator, will reach the same conclusion regarding the case separately, and this is referred to as absolute accordance. Each case is defined by an accused, who is opposed by their accuser in the form of an alleger, which may or may not be a prosecuting body. If the latter is true, they are allowed to act as the adherent attorneys during the trial. They are thus opposed by one, or a team of, advocates, who argue for the rights of the accused. In order to maintain fairness in the trial, each side must maintain a balance of attorneys with the other, by at most a ratio of three to one. If, for instance, the adherents would like a team of seven, they must procure at least two more advocates to oppose them. This prevents a client with too much social or financial power from subverting the best interests of the state. Beyond these individuals, the court requires a certain number of other parties. For the protection of all, there must always be two court marshalls present, whose job as well is to manage any attestants. Attestants are called upon to testify in court if they have some level of background knowledge pertinent to the specifics of the case, or the crime itself. Lastly, an attendant (formerly known as a justice clerk) is responsible for handling the administrative duties of the court; documentation, scheduling, attestants, etc. As previously stated, many particulars have historically been determined to help create the best adjudicative system in the world, and these are only the basics that the founding fathers came up with over two hundred years ago.

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