=========================  Criminal Case 3336  =========================

    The Assessor violated Rule 208 by failing to resolve Proposals
    7437-7452 (two distributions' worth) in a timely fashion after the
    end of their voting periods.


Caller:                                 omd
Barred:                                 Murphy

Judge:                                  scshunt
Judgement:                              GUILTY/TIME OUT



Called by omd:                          10 Jun 2013 01:20:27 GMT
Defendant Murphy informed:              10 Jun 2013 01:20:27 GMT
Assigned to scshunt:                    13 Jun 2013 18:34:02 GMT
Judged GUILTY/TIME OUT by scshunt:      16 Jun 2013 09:02:03 GMT


Gratuitous Arguments by G.:

I'd be interested to hear from the judge on the effect of including
multiple independent acts of breach in a single criminal case.  If
found "guilty" here, does a single punishment cover them all (and thus
punishment individually doesn't happen)?  If so, can this be used for a
scam - e.g. if I break two entirely unrelated rules with entirely
unrelated actions, can I do a single case accusing myself of doing both
'X and Y' and thus avoid individual punishments?


Judge scshunt's Arguments:

The only notable point of contention is a point submitted by G. must
include "an action the Accused allegedly performed or failed to
perform"[1] and questions whether or not this case can indeed validly
be called a criminal case.

This Court will first observe that judgment has historically been
given on criminal cases including multiple actions, including failing
to resolve all the proposals of a single distribution---noting that
the concept of Agoran Decisions does not function on a distribution
basis, but a proposal basis. Consequently, any criminal case alleging
the failure to resolve two or more proposals includes two different
obligations being violated. Given the numerous occasions on which
these cases have been accepted, the Court finds that this is permitted
so long as the text of the rules "an action ..." does not preclude
consideration of multiple obligations being violated.

However, it seems quite difficult to generally view an obligation as
being required to perform a specific action. An obligation to perform
an action may sometimes be an obligation to perform any one of a
number of actions. An excellent example is the requirement that the
Ambassador-At-Large inform a foreign nomic of a recognition change,[2]
which could be fulfilled through a variety of actions. As such, since
obligations generally may encompass families of actions, the strictest
interpretation of "action" in Rule 1504 leads to a rule that is
hamstrung from the get-go, and would generally lead to the rules being
inconsistent in their treatment of failure to perform actions.

However, this still does not get us far enough to resolve this case.
Each obligation to resolve an Agoran Decision defines a family of
actions, and it could be interpreted that a criminal case may specify
only one obligation family as having been failed to perform. Here,
however, the Court has identified an inconsistency, however minor, in
Rule 1504, and thus is granted full leeway to consider other aspects,
in particular game custom.[3] Game custom has been that multiple
obligations may be encompassed in a single criminal case, and moreover
this is good for the game as it prevents a barrage of criminal cases
for what are in fact, if not in law, fundamentally the same inaction.
The manner of grouping the actions is best left to the callers of
criminal cases, while the corresponding effect on judgments, in
particular the question of what makes acts substantially similar and
the effects on sentencing, are best left to a future judge for when
they are not hypothetical situations.

Accordingly, this Court finds quite plainly that the Accused is GUILTY
of the charge, the evidence being quite clear to this Court.

This Court is reluctant to find that the Assessor's increasingly often
failure to resolve proposals in time is of small consequence. The
legislative system is the lifeblood of Agora, and if the system grinds
to a halt, then Agora quickly finds itself running into a slump as the
rules are not as dynamics as they need to be during active periods.
This rules out APOLOGY and FINE. On the other extreme, this breach is
not of the highest severity, as the damage is far from permanent and
the resolution easily performed by the deputy, ruling out EXILE. The
Court is not aware of any extraordinary circumstances indicating that
punishment would be unjust, and thus the Court cannot sentence

The remaining sentences are COMMUNITY SERVICE and TIME OUT. TIME OUT
is, by what appears to be an omission, never appropriate, while the
text regarding COMMUNITY SERVICE implies that it should only be
imposed if it is the last option. This Court believes that TIME OUT
not being an appropriate judgment is largely an omission, and that the
sentence likely ought to be appropriate for breaches of moderate
severity, which this appears to be. Moreover, a judgment of TIME OUT
would have the desirable side effect of making the offices of Assessor
and Clerk of the Courts become Assumed, allowing for others to assume
them and perform their important duties without having to resort to
the slow process of deputization. Given the repetitive nature of the
ninny's behaviour, this seems to this Court to be, notwithstanding its
inappropriateness, the ideal sentence. Given the effects that this
sentence would have, and the fact that it is relatively untested, this
Court will exercise caution in imposing the minimum time out.

Accordingly, having carefully weighed and understood the full
implications of this action, the Court sentences Murphy to a TIME OUT
of 7 days.

This Court intends, with two Support, to make this case Notable,
suggesting Rule 1504.

This Court awards itself a Black Ribbon.


[1] Rule 1504
[2] Rule 2369
[3] Rule 217