Just prior to and during the Revolutionary War, there was an absence of lawful courts in certain areas affected by the removal of British government, or removal of Charter government. During this period, the Committees of Safety would establish courts, if the need arose. They would handle criminal matters, where necessary, though their focus was greater in based upon the need to control Tory activity. Punishment for being a Tory could be as simple as restriction of travel; house arrest; removal of "long arms"; imprisonment; or, execution.
Of course, there was a war going on, and the means and necessity were different than today. However, the patriot community is plagued by accusation, defamation, and other activities that are very disruptive, and, are not conducive to a unified effort to restore constitutional government to the United States.
This Committee of Safety -- Common Law Court is intended to provide a means, considering both the abilities (ease of communication, etc.) and the disabilities (proximity, etc.), of conducing "trials", when charges are brought, and providing the fairest means within those constraints of dealing with those problems.
When someone is found "guilty", they may consider revising their ways, to avoid the stigma of the verdict. They may decide that they no longer want to be a part of the patriot community. They may, also, resort to asking their boss for a reassignment. In each instance, the patriot community will find itself slightly improved, and, perhaps discourage such activities in others.
Empanelled only to hear complaints regarding disruption to the patriot community; creating division in the patriot community; personal attacks unfounded by the evidence; accusations of individuals having allegiance to the government instead of the Constitution; any malicious behavior which brings discredit to the patriot community.
There is a lot of disruption and division within the patriot community. Some is a result of human nature; some may be a result of intentional activity directed at creating division and animosity; and, some may be totally unfounded, perhaps just an error in communication. Regardless of the cause, it is the effect that is so detrimental to our cause of restoring constitutional government to the United States of America.
In looking towards a solution, aimed at minimizing the damaging impact, it only makes sense to look to that same community, those who seek to restore sound constitutional government, for the solution -- a solution based upon the very document that we esteem so highly.
Understanding that many of the means that have been utilized, historically, to resolve such matters, what is being presented here is a common law court that will only hear cases of slander: libel: defamation: or, activities which are associated with the patriot community that tend, by their nature, to be disruptive and bring discredit to a segment, or, the entire community, it must also be adapted to the current means of communication, and the vastness of the community.
The process will begin with the filing of a Complaint. The Complaint will go to the Clerk of the Court, who will not be judgmental, only an administrative arm of the Committee of Safety - Common Law Court.
Before proceeding with the explanation, the elements of the Court need to be identified. There will be a pool of judges (voluntary) from which three (3) judges will be picked, at random, for any case brought before the Court. The purpose of the judges will be to maintain decorum and order in the court. They may assist parties in preparing coherent documentation; formulating orders from the court, assisting the Grand Jury in preparing an indictment
There will be a pool of Grand Jurors (voluntary), of which five (5) regular jurors and two (2) alternate jurors will be randomly selected every six months, and will not be able to sit, again, until six months after the completion of any term that have participated in, even as an alternate juror. The Grand Jury shall be unknown and inaccessible during their entire term. They will prepare indictments, based upon Complaints, if probable cause is determined.
There will be a jury pool (voluntary), from which ten (10) jurors will be randomly selected, for each trial. In addition both the Accuser and the Accused will appoint one (1) juror to the jury. Three (3) alternative jurors will be randomly selected, though will be in "read only" participation, unless a regular juror is unable to participate, or removed for cause. The Jury will try the case, and will be allowed to ask questions, through the judges, during the course of the trial. Their verdict shall be the final decision of the Court, unless an appeal is granted.
There will be a Clerk of the Court who will retain that position as long as they desire, subject, however, to removal by the judges for failure to perform, or, failure to maintain records, correspondence, etc., or to divulge any information to other than those intended to receive such information, records, etc. There shall also be an Assistant Clerk who will fill in when the Clerk is unable to attend to duties, or has been discharged for cause. Any two (2) judges sitting on a current proceeding may require the removal of a Clerk. The Clerk will maintain, in proper order, all correspondence, complaints, indictments, verdicts and any other records for every case. He may delegate to the Assistant Clerk, as necessary, though this shall only be done when the workload warrants additional help.
There will be an Internet Forum which shall serve as the Courthouse for trials and all information pertaining to any case brought before this Court.
This is the composition of the Court, which personnel will change with each case, with the exception of the Grand Jury.
An Accuser, who wishes to accuse another, and bring them to trial in the Committee of Safety - Common Law Court can file a complaint with the Clerk. Participation of the Accuser, and agreement to jurisdiction of the Court; its procedures; and, its final decision, are granted by filing a Complaint.
The Accused, once they answer any request for information or indictment from the Grand Jury, has agreed to jurisdiction of the Court; its procedures; and, its final decision, by virtue of their response. Absent a response, there is no jurisdiction granted, and the Court may publish any information provided by the Accuser, any findings, and, the indictment, along with an explanation that the Accused refused to respond to the Complaint and/or indictment, and has thereby waived consideration of any answer to the accusations.
Once the Complaint is filed with the Clerk of the Court, the Clerk will forward copies of all information received to the three judges which the Clerk will select, randomly, from the pool of judges. If any of the selected judges finds that he is familiar with either party, or for any reason determines himself unable to be impartial, he shall remove himself, in which case the Clerk will select another judge to fill such vacancy.
The Clerk will also notify the Accuser of the names of the judges. The Accuser, for cause, may request recusal of any of the judges that he feels may not be impartial; however, he must provide written cause along with the request for recusal. The judge in question may remove himself, however, if he does not voluntarily remove himself, the other two judges may rule on the recusal, however, if more than one judge is named in the recusal, the Clerk shall call two (2) judges from the judge pool who will sit with the third judge to weigh the merit, and make determination on the recusal. The Clerk will then fill any vacancies created by recusal from the judge pool.
The judges will prepare a concise presentation of the Complain. If evidence is necessary to substantiate information provided in the Complaint, the judges will notify the Clerk that additional information is needed. The Clerk shall then inform the Accuser, who shall provide the additional information requested.
Once the judges have determined that the Compliant, and supportive information, be complete, the package shall be provided to the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury may, through the Clerk, request additional information through the judges, who will pass the request to the Clerk, who will pass the request to the Accuser.
When the Grand Jury has completed its review of the information provided supportive of the Complaint, they shall prepare an indictment. They may request the assistance of the judges in preparing the indictment, if they so desire. When the indictment is completed, they shall provide the indictment, along with any copies of evidence they feel should be included, to the Clerk to send to the Accused. The Clerk shall also provide the names of the judges currently assigned to the matter, and the Accused shall have the same right to request recusal of any of the judges. This will be the first knowledge of the Accused that proceedings are being considered against him.
The Accused will have the opportunity to reply to the Grand Jury, with evidence, answering the accusations made against him. This will be the only opportunity, prior to trial, to address the Complaint. This information will be returned to the Clerk who will provide the Accused's answer to the Grand Jury and the judges.
The Grand Jury shall then review the answer provided by the Accused and determine if there is merit to the accusation, in which cause the y will find probable cause and provide a True Bill to the Clerk. If they find that there is insufficient probable cause, they will provide a No Bill to the Clerk, who will then destroy all records pertaining to the case.
In the event that the Accused refuses to recognize the Court and submit to jurisdiction, which may be indicated by a direct answer, or, failure to respond to the indictment within thirty (30) working days (six weeks), the Court shall make public the indictment and any evidence supportive of the indictment, at the discretion of the judges, by posting the documentation in the Closed Docket Forum.
The jury will be composed as described above. Jurors will have their name posted at the beginning of the trial, in the Courtroom (see below). Either party, for cause, may request the removal of a juror. A reason must be given and the judges will rule on removal. The party selected jurors shall not be subject to removal. Vacancies in the jury will be filled by the Clerk prior to opening arguments.
If the Accused has answered, a Courtroom will be opened in the Forum Courthouse, bearing the name of both the Accuser and the Accused, along with a very general statement of the cause of action. Access to the Courtroom, at this point, will be Clerk - read only; judges - read/write; Accuser and Accused - read/write; jury - read only; others, no access during the trial.
At trial, the Accuser and the Accused shall restrain themselves from posting, unless the floor is theirs. The judges will open the proceedings by reading the charges.
Then, opening arguments from the Accuser; then the Accused, shall be presented. Each will have a thread in the Courtroom Forum. The charges will be presented in "Counts". All discussion relative to a Count shall be on the thread for that Count. To maintain a proper sequence, the judges (court) will advise when and what either of the parties may post. The parties may write their comments in a text editor, but they should not be pasted in the forum until told to do so.
There will be a thread named "bench" where the parties can pose questions to the court, at any time. This "bench" will not be made a public record, so what is posted there will not be a part of the public trial, available after the case is closed.
Jurors may direct questions they wish asked of either, or both, of the parties, by posting them to the "Clerk" thread. The judges will then formulate the question to be presented to the party to whom it is directed, including a Count assignment, where the party shall answer the question.
Objections will be posted at the Bench thread. Any objection will be ruled upon by the bench prior to proceeding with the trial.
Witnesses may be called, and they will be allowed access to the Courtroom only during their testimony. They will be subject to cross examination. Any witness may be recalled by either party, though there is no subpoenaed power in this forum. The jury will also be allowed to ask questions of witnesses through the Clerk. If a witness testifies for one party and refuses to answer cross examination by the other party, or questions from the jury, his testimony will be stricken, and the jury will ignore the testimony. The trial will conclude with closing arguments (threaded) after the completion of the submission of all evidence.
Closing arguments will be presented by both parties, Accuser being the first to offer closing, with a short rebuttal allowed to each party. Closing arguments and rebuttals will mark the end of the trail.
The jury will then be directed to the Jury Room Forum where they will deliberate. They will have full access to the Courtroom, and may ask any questions of the judges, if they so desire. Their deliberations should be maintained in the Count threads, or in a general thread, depending on particular discussion -- based upon the judgment of the jurors.
Every effort should be made to come to a unanimous verdict, on each of the Counts. This will be highly unlikely, since each party has a juror present. If six jurors do find for one side, the Court will consider that verdict as unanimous.
The final verdict, however, will be based upon the preponderance of evidence, for each count, and the verdict will be final, subject only to appeal (explained later). The jury will then prepare, with the assistance of a judge, or judges, final pronouncement of the Court (Final Decision). The final decision will be posted on the Docket Forum. Others are able to copy and utilize the final decision, for information purposes, so long as it remains unedited and the source (URL) for the permanent record (Docket Forum) is attached to any copies distributed. Violations of this practice (complete decision and URL) will result in a contempt of court against the violator(s), and that violation will be posted, attached to the final decision, in the Docket Forum.
At this time, the Courtroom will be opened (read only) to provide public access to the proceedings. It will be locked, and no changes or postings will be made after the close of trial, except that the final decision will also be posted in the Courtroom.
Decisions of the Court are subject to appeal. Appeal Hearings may be granted by a five (5) judge panel, randomly selected by the Clerk, none of which can be judges from the original trial.
Basis for Appeals:
New evidence, unavailable at time of trial
New witnesses, unavailable at trail
Other circumstances which, when brought forward, might affect the outcome of the original trial
To Appeal a Decision of the Court, the Appellant must submit to the Clerk a request for a hearing before the above mentioned panel, which will be empanelled upon receipt of the request. Full detail, including evidence to support request for appeal, must be submitted with the original request. The appeals panel may require additional information.
If the determination of the appeals panel is in favor of the appeal, the Panel may:
Hold hearings, with both parties participating; or,
Retry the matter, subject only to the additional information brought toward, though incorporated with the Jury deliberations form the original trial.
Either hearing or retrial can result in setting aside portions, or all, of the original Final Decision of the Court.
All records, evidence, etc., brought up in hearing or retrial will become a permanent part of the record of the trial.
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