Our current system of justice does not lend itself well to legal rp. At present, cops arrest... a certain amount of time is on the books before the perp is released awaiting trial (essentially arraigned)... and then the trial never occurs. There are lawyers on sim who would love the trial RP, and a dedicated DA that would as well. There's a ton of RP that can be had after arrest leading up to trial that we are missing out on. The good news is, almost everything we need to facilitate court style and legal rp is already present, it just has to be properly exploited. The system im proposing encourages corrupt PD play, legal play that doesn't require much legal knowledge, and provides ongoing rp around criminal offenses.
In my mind, the biggest obstacle to getting court rp is that court, 99 percent of the time, only has a downside for the defendant. Nostly, perps in DE are caught in the act. The testimony of a cop "as we arrived on scene he was choking her, her lips were blue, and he was engaging in sexual intercourse with her aat that time corpse" is pretty much going to sink a defendant. That particular player would end up with decades in prison. There's an incentive for that player then to always be "awaiting trial" and never actually resolve his case. This is compounded by the fact that there's no negatives at all to being out awaiting trial in DE. Once you've done your 24 hours, you can get bail and never be impacted by that old rp again. The key to encouraging court rp is to encourage players to clear up their outstanding charges.
There are two roads to encourage the disposition of cases. As in all good systems, there's a carrot and a stick. The carrot could be a slight uptick in street cred for closing out your open cases. I'm not sure this is possible given how it works, but if it could be implemented it gives players a positive for taking their case through the court system. The other component of course, the stick, is more rp oriented.
Post release, criminals awaiting trial are either out on bond, or personal recognizance (bail without cash down). Being on bail in real life is not a picnic. There are restrictions on who you are allowed to associate with, you cannot commit new crimes... you cannot DRINK ALCOHOL.In addition, judges have broad latitude in conditioning further restrictions as long as those restrictions are designed to ensure the defendant shows up for trial. That might include home visits by probation staff for instance. In other words, the cops should be using that "bailed" status to harrass people... legally. "oh you're in a bar? arent you waiting trial on that assault?" violation of bail conditions could be a few hours in the cells again.the key is to make sure that this extra hassling... searches and whatnot... are tied into that awaiting trial status. anyone who wants to avoid the harassment can settle up by going to trial, or working out a deal.
This is where the possibility of increased corruption comes into play. For minor offenses, perps could bribe the cops to make their small time stuff "go away". Right now there's no incentive to do so. You spend a few hours in jail... never think about it again. If you have this prospect of increased police presence in your life though suddenly it becomes advantageous to bribe a cop to let you go.
For bigger stuff, you can get into corrupt DA rp, or trial rp. This gives your defense lawyers a chance to shine. A lot of pretrial legal stuff is more about negotiation than law. Sure you have to have a grasp of what the charges are and stuff, but for the most part its about deal making. "my client has no priors, how about probation?" or... "my client has lots of priors. how about we plead this to a summary offense, no probation no jail time. he pays a fine. We would also make a generous donation to the District Attorney Student Loan Forgiveness fund as well"- of course, that being the bribe. District attorneys could make all sorts of crazy plea bargains if they are corrupt. Additionally, for DA's that want to play the straight and narrow, they could offer no jail time in exchange for giving up criminal compadres. Tired of the hellcats blowing up your office? how about a sweet deal to one in exchange for information on their leader?
Finally, for those poor innocents caught up in something where they really weren't guilty or there's a chance of getting off at trial we could have actual trials. Again, there's an incentive for them there to clean out their records. Additionally, you could have corrupt judges so a high profile case could be in the papers with the shocking not guilty verdict. Or a person looking to retired a character no longer has to kill them off. they could lose the trial.
Additionally, the bribes don't even have to be money, or necessarily paid by the defendant. A sweet young ingenue with a ne'er do well boyfriend might offer herself to the corrupt sadist DA for a weekend of whatever, in exchange for a favorable deal.
In conclusion i think if we make it clear to people that were arrested that there are long term repercussions (not boring jail time but ic hassling) for their arrest, and there's a chance to get rid of those repercussions in a way that encourages more and better rp then people will rise to the occasion and avail themselves of the opportunity. In doing so, they will create rp for lawyers and DAs, and increase the corruption element that's a little lacking right now.
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