Magdalena Outlander, Esq.
We get a lot of immigrants to Nomos. In many ways, its an immigrant friendly town. There's work to be had, money to be made and plenty of goods and services to go around if your definition of "plenty" is low enough. Nomos runs much like any major city and most of the rules are easy enough to understand. One place where immigrants seem to get a nasty surprise, though, is the law. I've been working as a lawyer here in Nomos for some time now and I think its time some of these misconceptions were cleared up. Here's the very least that you, the new immigrant, should know about the law in our fair city.
First off, MetroTek makes the law. They own the property. The city of Nomos exists for MetroTek to provide value to the shareholders. There has never been a successful revolution. There are no elected officials. Everything serves the company. This means that you have exactly the rights that MetroTek gives you, no more and no less. If you don't like that you can exercise your right to get on a shuttle and go somewhere else.
As makers of the law, MetroTek makes laws that serve the interests of the company. To provide value to their shareholders the enforce these laws through fines. MetroPol is a business, just like any other. They make money by taking it from criminals who stole it. Before stealing and then railing against the unfairness of the system, remember that your stolen property is what pays MetroPol's salaries.
You can be arrested for anything or nothing. If you're an actual criminal, you can be arrested. If you don't register the right physiological responses to a Cop Bot, you can be arrested. If a cop doesn't like the way you look at him, you can be arrested. If someone files false charges, you can be arrested. The police can even arrest you now and charge you while you're in holding. This is legal. This is normal. This is Nomos.
You are guilty until proven innocent unanimously. Automated systems are considered sufficient evidence. Eyewitness testimony is considered sufficient evidence. Someone filing a police report is considered sufficient evidence. The defense can not question the prosecution's evidence after it has been presented. Unless you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not a criminal, jurors are instructed to vote Guilty. While awaiting trial you are a ward of MetroPol and will find all your assets frozen. You can not work, access your ATM, use weapons or commit crimes.
Sound tough? Well it is. You can keep your head down or you can accept that these are the consequences. MetroTek does provide you with a few rights, though, and they are important ones.
You have the right to an attorney. This is not a guarantee. It just means that you are allowed to seek legal representation and have them present your case for you. You do not have the right to have a lawyer come see you in jail. You do not have the right to call a lawyer from jail. You only have the right to an attorney after you have been released pending trial. Not every lawyer will take every case and few of them work free. However, even the most inept lawyer can generally find a few technicalities to reduce your fines. The better ones know their way around the courtroom and may be able to get a not Guilty verdict from time to time. The very best ones get hired by the DA's office, bribed into retirement or just vanish in the night.
You have the right to a trial by jury. All trials are decided by a jury of 3-5 individuals. You or oyur lawyer may plead the best case possible to them and hope for results. The jury is randomly selected from your fellow citizens of Nomos, so every now and then you may find some sympathy, but don't count on it.
You or your lawyer have the right to begin the trial at your convenience. Granted, as a ward of MetroPol you will probably be in a hurry to start your trial and get back to normal. Don't rush in. If you have a lawyer, give him or her time to investigate all the facts. A few more hours without your crowbar may be the difference between paying more than your original fine and paying half of it. A skilled lawyer will know how to use this extra time to get you the best possible result. Let them do their work.
Coming soon, Part 2 - Empathy and The Law