Friday, September 30, 2011

Law and Law Enforcement in the 94 Ceti System

Peacekeepers and Enforcers

No society survives long without a generally respected set of laws. To ensure that laws are respected, they must be enforced in such a manner that the perception within the society is one in which the system is seen to operate consistently. Whether the laws are fair or not is of a lesser importance to the members of that society in comparison to the expectation, that given the same situation, the law will produce the the same or near same results each time. The Council on Avenir makes the laws in use within the 94 Ceti System. The Council along with local temporary Tribunals see to the maintenance of the law.

A secondary requirement is the inculcation in the majority of the society's members of a mindset that accepts that the law will successfully be applied by the forces representing order whenever the need arises—that basically, “you can't get away with it.” In most societies, there is a percentage of the populace who, for whatever reason, disbelieves this. Through most of human history, this percentage seems to have hovered around 10 percent. The peacekeepers and their enforcers exist to deal with this 10 percent.

Peacekeepers throughout the system work as plain clothes investigators and command uniformed enforcers. On Avenir and in in other large population centers, the Investigating Peacekeeper is in charge of all facets of an investigation including oversight of assisting peacekeepers and and enforcers, preparing cases against suspects, and seeing to the carrying out of sentences involving capital punishment. In these settings, most peacekeepers specialize in one or more areas of criminal investigation such as homicide, robbery, corruption, etc. In the field, a peacekeeper travels a circuit of his assigned area and dispatches enforcers to keep order, investigate crimes, and apprehend suspects. The peacekeeper is then responsible for empaneling a three person tribunal, prosecuting the accused, and insuring that the accused receives a proper defense. The accused has the right to appeal the verdict to the Council on Avenir. The best analog of this role of the peacekeeper would be the Texas Rangers of 19th century North America (both during the Texas Republic period and after statehood). For the use of the peacekeeper's enforcers, the best analog is the Federal Marshals and their Deputy Marshals operating in the Indian Nations (later the state of Oklahoma) in the late 1800s.

Enforcers, with their gray uniforms, are trained at the Academy on Avenir. On the habitat and in population centers, they fulfill a role reminiscent of the patrolman or bobby found throughout Europe, North America, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Pacific Rim in the 20th century.

Revenue Service

The Revenue Service is charged with the collection of duties and taxes, the maintenance of trade, and the safety of intra-system shipping. To do this, the service operates a number of revenue cutters whose duties include inspection of all space-going vessels and cargoes, rescue outside the sphere described by the orbit of the asteroid Assisi (within this sphere, rescue is a concern of the peacekeepers), and the suppression of piracy wherever discovered.


Punishment of crime takes a number of forms. Depending on the local circumstances, fines, humiliation, incarceration, and corporal punishment may be levied. In the case of capital crimes, three forms of capital punishment are in force. In the jurisprudence in effect on Avenir, those convicted of a capital crime are allowed to pick their own punishment from a selection of three:

  1. Death by spacing.

  2. Exile to Eclectia as a bug hunter for the rest of their life (a quota of kills must be met or the convicted person is remanded to one of the other two sentences).

  3. Transformation into a cyborg and labor for the rest of their life.

Those convicted adjudged by the Council to be of too much of a danger to their fellows are sentenced to the first.


  1. Walt,
    I planned out a very extensive structure description of the Peacekeepers and Enforcers. Maybe we can work together to make cool police force. Just let me know by shooting me an email at God bless and take care.

  2. Hey guys, what would be the punishment for petty theft?

  3. *settling my judicial wig in place* Kaye, it depends on the location and circumstance. On Avenir and in the undersea habitats, probably incarceration. In the civilized areas of Eclectia, probably incarceration, humiliation, or corporal punishment, or a mix of these. In the out back, probably corporal punishment and/or exile and outlawry (anyone who spots you can do as he wishes). The latter extreme would probably the sentence for a repeat offender ("He just doesn't learn.").

  4. So, in your best opinion, what would be considered petty, as in, how much could a person steal and it still be considered petty. You can use U.S. earth dollars unless you know how to explain it in Eclectia 'bucks'.

    And about how long would the incarceration. What is corporal punishment (Sorry, I should actually know that one but I don't. So, since I'm asking other questions anyway.)

  5. Traditionally, most societies seem to settle on a value of around $100US as the break between felony and misdemeanor.

    Corporal punishment is the infliction of pain as a punishment and corrective. This can range from a whap on the seat (as with parent and child), up to caning, scourging, and amputation. Even today, a number of societies use these. Singapore has caning, while Iran and Saudi Arabia have scourging and amputation of the right hand of a thief. The main point of the amputation is to render the thief ritually unclean so that he may never eat from the communal dish again (in this part of the world, "good hand-bad hand" is practiced--ask me off list if necessary).

    In the history of both the U.S. and Canada, a version of caning, known as "thrashing," was used in those areas in which incarceration was impractical. For felonies, hanging or shooting was the norm--thus the hanging of rustlers and horse thieves (horse theft was especially viewed as a heinous crime because it set the victim afoot, very much endangering his life).

  6. Thanks Walt.
    I know I'll be asking more questions.