==============================  CFJ 1720  ==============================

    in CFJ 1715, the alleged act is illegal but impossible.

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Caller:                                 Zefram
Barred:                                 omd

Judge:                                  root
Judgement:                              FALSE

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History:

Called by Zefram:                       12 Aug 2007 07:36:30 GMT
Assigned to root:                       12 Aug 2007 07:40:33 GMT
Judged FALSE by root:                   14 Aug 2007 16:28:42 GMT

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Caller's Arguments:

comex initiated CFJ 1715 by a message reading in part:

|I initiate the following criminal cases with a defendant of Peekee, and
|request that the CotC perform linked assignments:
|
|* Peekee has violated Rule 754 by sending communication with little
|regularity.

Rule 1504 lists the items that must be present to initiate a criminal
case:

      A criminal case CAN be initiated by any player, by announcement
      which clearly identifies the defendant and specifies the action
      (which may be a failure to perform another action) by which the
      defendant allegedly breached the rules.

The elements, then, are a defendant and an alleged act (the charge).
comex's message clearly identifies the defendant as Peekee, and specifies
the charge by the allegation:

|* Peekee has violated Rule 754 by sending communication with little
|regularity.

Rule 754, being of a definitional nature, imposes no obligations on
anyone, and so cannot be violated.  Clearly Peekee has not violated
the rules here, and should be acquitted in CFJ 1715.  This clarity is
convenient in considering the matter of this inquiry.  The issue here
is which parts of the above-quoted sentence constitute the charge,
and hence in which manner Peekee should be acquitted.

The first possible interpretation is that the alleged act is sending
communication with little regularity.  Peekee may well have performed this
act, depending on the interpretation of "regularity".  (Peekee touched
on this ambiguity in eir defence.)  Supposing Peekee did indeed perform
this act, e could not be found INNOCENT.  E would instead be acquitted
as UNIMPUGNED, because sending communications with little regularity is
not prohibited by the rules.

The second possible interpretation is that the alleged act is violating
Rule 754 by sending communication with little regularity.  Or, putting
it the other way round, sending communication with little regularity in
violation of Rule 754.  In this case, the alleged act is by construction
illegal.  The qualifier "in violation of rule N" or enclosing clause
"violating rule N by" narrows down the allegation to something that
is specifically illegal.  In this case Peekee could not be UNIMPUGNED.
Indeed, e is directly impugned by the allegation that e violated rule 754.
However, as it is not possible to violate rule 754, and in particular is
impossible to violate it by sending communication with little regularity,
Peekee cannot have performed this alleged act, and so is INNOCENT.

The overall effect of the criminal case is the same either way (an
acquittal), but rule 1504 distinguish several flavours of acquittal,
and so the interpretation of the charge is significant.  I suggest that
the second interpretation is preferable, because it matches the charge
as presented by the prosecutor, whereas the first interpretation throws
away a relevant part of that sentence.

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Judge root's Arguments:

Initiator Zefram argues for two possible interpretations of the
alleged act.  To sum up, the first is that the alleged act is "sending
communication with little regularity"; the second is that the alleged
act is "violating Rule 754 by sending communication with regularity."

The first interpretation is not forbidden by the Rules and hence not illegal.

The second interpretation is also not illegal, as the act of breaking
a Rule is not currently, in and of itself, proscribed by the Rules.

Accordingly, I enter a judgement of FALSE for CFJ 1720.

Of course, this judgement fails to set the precedent that Initiator
Zefram is looking for.  My recommendation is that the first
interpretation should always be used in cases like this, at least
until such time as the rules are amended to prohibit their violation.
Under the current rules, the second interpretation should always
result in a verdict of UNIMPUGNED, thus defeating the purpose of
opening a criminal case.

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