Overview of The Council's Government Structure
In Odeum, The Council functions as a kritarchy (government system of rule with a panel of judges) with a bicameral system (two courts); a high court of Inquisitors and a low court of Magistrates. Each "region" or location is assigned their own panel of Inquisitors and Magistrates. Each panel is made up of twenty members. Each Inquisitor and Magistrate has jurisdiction over certain Tenets and related laws in their respective geographic locations. Administrative staff are those who work for The Council to carry out administrative duties for various departments, such as Treasury, Blood Distribution, Internal Affairs, Office of the Registrar, The Academy, and IT/Networking, etc.
Lower Council of Magistrates:
The primary functions of the Lower Council of Magistrates include proposing bills and addendums to Tenets-supporting laws of their respective Tenets. Magistrates who write a proposal for a law will work alongside another Magistrate in a similar designation of the region. The written proposal for a law is then passed on to Magistrates in a different designation in the region to review the proposition from their perspective and give their insight. If the proposed bill is approved by the Magistrates assigned to review it, the proposed bill is then sent on for final revision and approval by The High Court of Inquisitors.
Another responsibility of Magistrates is to veto any bill or addendum that conflicts with the message of the respected Tenet. A bill or addendum may be vetoed at any point in the review process. At which point the addendum or bill will be sent back to the proposer for adequate revisions, or to be removed from the process entirely.
Case analysis and Tribunals (court preceding) are the judicial duties of the lower court of Magistrates. The twenty Magistrates of the lower court are assigned cases in their respective designations (Tenets they uphold). Magistrates all receive the same case load and those that do not fit their designation are then passed on to the Magistrates who would preside over them, respectively. Those set under the same or similar designation will study the same cases. The defendant's representative, additionally, will collect a statement from the defendant to send to the presiding Magistrates in their case. In some instances a statement is not given by the defendant, and the case must be reviewed with the information collected from any investigation the presiding Magistrates may have deemed necessary.
Investigation is an optional step in case analysis. Magistrates may review a case and deem a statement and a plea necessary to proceed with a hearing. If an investigation is launched, the presiding Magistrates must gather and present an address regarding the case and any evidence gathered. When the process of case analysis is complete, a court preceding will follow. If an investigation was opened, the preceding will follow after the investigation and address to the lower council by the presiding Magistrates.
Tribunals are an involved process wherein the presiding Magistrates will either receive the defendant's plea or will question them if they find that their statement conflicted with or did not explain parts of a case. After all of the evidence, statements, and pleas have been presented, if the Magistrates have no further questions for the defendant or representative, the case will be closed with a ruling.
Annual budget proposals are the last responsibility of the Lower Court of Magistrates in each region. Each year, from September 26th to October 1st, Magistrates will meet and discuss a yearly statement received from the Treasury departments of Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable. At this time, all case revision, tribunals, and legislative duties are on a hiatus until the budget is passed. They will review and discuss, in full the previous budget and create and outline a projected budget for the following year. The proposed budget is then sent to the High Council of Inquisitors for approval.
The High Council will meet and discuss the yearly statement juxtaposed with the proposed budget. If there is a discrepancy found, the proposition is sent back along with a statement of error for correction. If a budget is not passed the week of the budget revision, the Lower Council of Magistrates will be permanently released from their positions and the budget will be reviewed and passed by the High Council of Inquisitors. A shutdown of the region's Council is not permissible for more than a day.
High Council of Inquisitors:
The High Council of Inquisitors rules above the Lower Court of Magistrates and acts as a final check or an escalation for certain processes. High Inquisitors are not divided by certain Tenets like the Court of Magistrates. Instead, they all observe the three Tenets and all of their related laws, upheld by the Articles of Jurisprudence, and make decisions as a whole body. The core functions of the Higher Court include:
Reviewing, approving, or vetoing reviewed addendums and new bill propositions passed up from the lower court of Magistrates. Inquisitors have the authority to write an addendum or new bill. However, at the level of the Higher Court, the Lower Court would not need to be involved in the review process unless the Inquisitor who wrote the proposed bill or addendum deems the lower courts involvement to be necessary.
Hold tribunals for Internal Affairs regarding misdemeanors committed by members of The Council, and any cases processed by the Lower Court where a ruling cannot be agreed on, or a ruling by a presiding Magistrates does not satisfy the opinions of "observing" Magistrates in a case.
Approve or veto budget proposals from the Lower Court of Magistrates. This ensures that the budget has been reviewed by both courts, providing perspective from both.
Defendants and Representatives:
The Article's of Jurisprudence state that defendants have a right to a representative. A representative will either be provided for them by The Council or may be selected by the defendant. A defendant may also choose to represent themselves. Representatives are to represent their client's (defendant's) best interests. They are to act as an informed and educated guide for a defendant that assists their client by explaining all processes and procedures of a proceeding Tribunal. They may also explain any and all charges their defendant may face. A representative's additional duty is to draft a written statement, taken from their client, to send to presiding Magistrates over their case. The representative may also make an executive decision to issue a plea instead of allowing their client to stand trial.
In the event that a defendant does not believe they are being appropriately represented, they can request a new representative at any time during their cases process. Defendants may also choose to represent themselves.
While The Council recognizes that there are individual governments for each country, they do not recognize the boundaries of those countries and have drawn their own divisions for each continent. America is divided into several regions (shown below). Each region rules under the same three Tenets and their related laws. All rulings are uploaded to a database that is shared throughout the globe. This allows for Magistrates and Inquisitors to rule with as much consistency as possible. None of the regions have individualistic rights, as the various models for "regional rights", observed over time in different countries, proved to founding members of The Council as an unnecessary complication (for more information see brief history below).
Beliefs of The Council and the foundation for their laws.
This Tenet defines the separation between mortals and vampires. As the law defines it, there is to be no association with mortals. The addendum to this law states that minor fraternization is acceptable. Establishing and maintaining relationships is not.
This Tenet encompasses both the creation and the destruction of kin.
This Tenet is defined as conforming to conventionally accepted standards. This includes, but is not limited to, the dress, language, and cultural and social behaviors of peoples that kindred may inevitably environed by.
Articles of Jurisprudence:
These articles are a constitution detailing the structure, rights and duties of those governing and governed by The Council.
The peoples governed by The Council inherit the rights and privileges of the system's sovereignty. Individuals maybe separate from, but are not granted immunity from the Tenets, laws and articles set by The Council.
Article I: All powers of the legislature, judicial, and executive, are herein granted to the Magistrates and Inquisitors who represent the Tenets and laws for the Lower and Higher courts.
Section I: There shall be two courts to define, amend, and eliminate any laws, bills, addendums, cases, and budgets of The Council; the high court of Inquisitors, and the lower court of Magistrates.
Section II: Each court will consist of twenty members. Each member shall see to their duties until they have met an untimely death, dismissal from their position, or chose to step down from their position.
Section III: Each member of The Council shall be compensated with the common currency of the region they govern, under the Tenet of Propriety, to be paid out of the region's Treasury.
Section IV: Each region is subject to the rule of its governing body of a Lower and Higher Court. Regions shall act in accordance with the same structure, laws, and Tenets set forth by The Council.
Section III: Each Magistrate is chosen from a selection process after they have completed fifty years of study at The Council's Academy for law, business, and communications, including an apprenticeship under an active ruling Magistrate or Inquisitor. The selection process is performed by senior leaders on the high court who will review resumes of qualified applicants. After candidates resumes have been reviewed, an interview process will then be held. The panel of Inquisitors will then vote to select the next Magistrate. A majority of seventy-five percent is needed in order for a candidate to be selected. Inquisitors shall be selected in a similar fashion. However, only presiding Magistrates can be considered.
Article II: The Higher Court of Inquisitors shall function above the lower court and provide balance to the system by process of certiorari (an order by which a higher court reviews a decision of a lower court).
Section I: The Higher Court shall have final veto and approval powers for all executive and legislative decisions passed up from the Lower Court of Magistrates.
Section II: They shall rule as the highest judiciary court, overseeing all cases regarding internal affairs, specifically those regarding Inquisitors. In the case that an Inquisitor must be tried in a case, an overseeing panel from a different region is to be selected and approved before a tribunal can take place.
Article III: Common duties of the government shall be upheld by administrative staff. Administrative duties for various departments, including but are not limited to Treasury, Blood Distribution, Internal Affairs, Office of the Registrar, The Academy, IT/Networking, and the assistants of the Lower and Higher Court members of The Council.
Section I: Administrators shall hold no judicial or legislative powers but are responsible for minor duties upholding the structure and processes of The Council.
Section II: Administration staff are permitted to access all of the educational resources of The Academy and are exempt from remuneration.
Section III: Staff responsible for administration duties are not subject to a voting process in order to obtain their position. Applicants will be selected through an interview process by the leading board of the respective section in administration that they are applying to.
Article IV: The citizens under the governing body of The Council, including those who are members of its agencies, shall retain the right to a representative, a fair Tribunal as dictated by the applicable ruling court, and informed of his or her rights under The Tenets, the law, and The Articles of Jurisprudence should they be accused of a crime.
Section I: These rights are not to be construed to deny or disparage those detained to be tried by a court of The Council.
Section II: No governing member presiding over an active Tribunal or Interview shall receive gifts from other members or parties of The Council.
Section III: No person shall be subject to slavery, involuntary, or indentured servitude.
Section IV: Under the Tenet of Creation, capital punishment shall not be invoked unless a Tribunal rules that it is the equivalent exchange for a defendant's transgressions.
Article V: Governing members of both The Lower Court of Magistrates and Higher Court of Inquisitors must pass an annual budget. The revision and writing of each annual budget must take place between September 26th and October 1st.
Section I: The Lower Court Magistrates will acquire statements from the Treasury (departments of Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable). During the budget review, it is necessary that all case revision, tribunals, and legislative duties are put on hiatus until the budget is passed.
Section II: The proposed budget must be assigned by the Lower Court of Magistrates to the High Court of Inquisitors, after revision, for approval. The yearly statement and proposed budget must be weighed, and considered carefully. Errors must be returned to the Lower Court of Magistrates before the budget is allowed to pass.
Section III: In the event the budget does not receive the appropriate approval by the end of the week of revision (October 2nd), the Lower Council of Magistrates will be permanently released from their positions and the budget will be reviewed and passed by the High Council of Inquisitors. If a shutdown of the region's Council is required, one is not permissible for more than a day, defined as twenty-four business hours.
Section IV: In the event a Mass Tribunal is held and conflicts with the dates of the annual budget revision, a break in the Tribunal will be allotted for the appropriate amount of time to review and pass the budget.
Article VI: No person(s) shall challenge the authority of The Council with any accusations of injustice, unless in possession of unadulterated, factual proof of conspiracy, treachery, despotism, or any other form of mistreatment of its peoples.
Section I: Under the definition of Article IV of the Articles of Jurisprudence, in the event that proof of unjustness is found and a supporting case is built, a Mass Tribunal of Inquisitors shall be held to hear out the accusing parties claims.
Section II: A fair Tribunal must be allotted to appropriately review the evidence brought forth. The process of investigation must be undergone by each member to ensure the findings are accurate and the evidence is credible.
Section III: No governing persons shall tamper with provided details, nor shall they have immunity to any consequences in the instance that their misdealings are discovered.
Article VII: Under the Tenet of Separation, no kin shall associate themselves with mortals and must maintain plausible anonymity.
Article VIII: Persons responsible for kin, under the Tenet of Creation, must tend and manage the well being of their progenys. Makers will be held accountable for any fallacies of their progeny(s) for the first fifty years of their being as a citizen under The Council.
Article IX: Dwellings and their population in specific geographic locations shall be considered under the Tenets of Creation and Separtation. It is imperative, for the safety of all kin, that these guides are followed.
Section I: A village shall not have more than one dwelling within its limits of no more than two persons.
Section II: A town shall not have more than one dwelling within its limits of no more than two persons.
Section III: A city with a population between 3,000 and 100,000 shall have no more than one dwelling within its limits, and no more than four persons.
Section IV: A city with a population of 100,000 to 1,500,000 shall have no more than two dwellings at opposite sides of the city. Each dwelling should have no more than three persons.
Section V: A city with a population of 1,500,000 to 9,900,000 shall have no more than three dwellings, each dwelling on opposite sides of the city
Section IV: If a city exceeds 10,000,000 and above, multiple dwellings may be established, but no more than one establishment every one-hundred square miles, holding no more than four persons.
Taxation Proposition of 1740: The Mass Tribunal of 1740 concluded that taxation of the populus ruled by The Council shall not be enacted. The numbered persons of kin are unknown and should be known in order to properly apply taxes. Until such numbers and persons and their whereabouts are known, taxation shall not be enforced.
Populus Records Amendment of 1740: The Mass Tribunal of 1740 concluded that submitting one's record of identity is the sine qua non of all known persons ruled by The Council, under the Tenet of Propriety and Creation. This court herein establishes the Office of the Registrar, and imbues it will the governing power of recording, reporting, and notarizing all known persons identities subject to the rule of The Council.
Regional Rights Amendment of 1866: The Mass Tribunal Assembly of 1866 concluded that regions may not have individualistic rights to rule in accordance with their own findings and must conform to decisions finalized in past proceedings. A challenge to previous findings is allowed if a Court of Magistrates or Inquisitors deems it necessary to revise and revoke previous rulings. This decision must be unanimous in order to call upon a Mass Tribunal to overturn laws or amendments previously written.
Plausible Anonymity Amendment of 1952: The Mass Tribunal of 1952 concluded that persons governed by The Council set forth to further define Article VII and plausible anonymity. Kin may fraternize with mortals in order to maintain the image of propriety. Kindred are not permitted to establish relationships or interpersonal dealings with the mortal populus unless there is an intention to conscript the mortal(s) into the populus governed by The Council.
Foundings of The Council: A Brief History
When the Inner Circle formed in the 1500s, many of the vampires that came together found each other through their travels and agreed that working together would allow for them to have an easier life. Acillius worked alongside Halifax, Zanna, Cara, and several others to organize a group similar to the Roman Senate. As the existence of other vampires was discovered, it was agreed upon to forge a bigger system to govern them. In 1579 The Tenets were written, and the first supporting laws were drafted to support this new system of government.
Taking his knowledge of hierarchy and governmental structure, Acillius helped devise a system with "more efficient checks and balances than the Roman government". He, Zanna, Halifax, Cara, and others from the Inner Circle decided that two courts would reign, one higher court of Inquisitors and another Lower Court of Magistrates. Over time, as their numbers grew, they divided up countries into regions so that their populous could be efficiently governed. During the 1600's The Council's structure underwent a revision and was then simplified to resemble the current system. The Inner Circle, as a function of the government's structure, was dissolved in order to avoid having too much power centralized in a small group. In 1689, the Articles of Jurisprudencce were created as a structure for the new framework of The Council.
Prior to this new structure, during the transitional period of The Council, Acillius and others in the Inner Circle realized that they would need funding for their government and for their well-being. In the 1400s the Inner Circle had already laid the ground work for this and had started to infiltrate royal courts around the world and began to sow seeds of war and discovery. They devised a plan to capture as much funding as they could from each royal nation and capitalized greatly on the Hundred Years' War, along with Spain’s conquests and the riches brought back from the New World. However, most of The Council’s funding was amassed between the 1500's and the 1800’s. These strategies put a leading light on Acillius as many of the schemes put on the table were his ideas. He worked very closely with Halifax, more than any other member of the Inner Circle.
A proposition for taxation was brought forward in 1740, and a Mass Tribunal (all members of both the Lower and Higher courts of each region from around the world met to decide on an overarching law or new structure that would impact future processes of the Council) was held. The proposition did not pass due to insurmountable unknown persons of the vampire populus, creating an inability to appropriately collect taxes. While the tax proposal failed, it did bring about a new system that attempted to collect data on its citizens in order to better govern them. This allowed for the creation of the Office of the Registrar.
As the Council watched the American Civil War unfold between 1861 and 1865, to some members it was a mark against "regional rights" (a proposed addition to the laws at the time that would have given each region the right to govern its citizens without having to consider the rulings of other regions who had passed laws or addendums another region did not agree with). "Regional rights" would have allowed a region to interpret a case without considering the ruling of an identical case in the past that already had a ruling. Some believed that the rulings of courts in one region should not be considered in another because of a difference in interpretation in the governing laws.
Though "regional rights" were not the same as "state's rights" they were similar enough that in the spring of 1866 a Mass Tribunal was held in Ontario, Canada to debate whether "regional rights" could potentially cause civil unrest and if it should be instated. Over the course of two-weeks, members of The Council for each region presented their stance on the issue and discussed counter-points. Eventually, it was decided with a 78% majority that "regional rights" did not have the potential to cause civil unrest, but that it was "an unecessary complication" to their current structure.
In the 1950's, Gerard Silva, who was a new Magistrate in the MidWest American regional Lower Court proposed an Amendment further defining Plausible Anonymity. After a year of the proposal for the amendment undergoing revision, a Mass Tribunal was held. Halifax, a founding member of The Council, along with the majority voted in favor of the Amendment, which passed in 1952.