Chamber of Ministers Trial Procedure
Right to a Chamber Trial
The Charter of Confederation guarantees the right to trial for Falleen Federation citizens (Art. II, Sec. 2) and provides for the Chamber of Ministers to act as an original hearing body if no other court is duly established (Art. IV, Sec. 2).
When a citizen exercises his/her right to trial before the Chamber of Ministers the procedures contained within this document shall be utilized.
The King, in exercising his supreme judicial authority (Art. IV, Sec. 1), shall appoint a member of the Federation (Art. II, Sec. 3) to serve as Federation Prosecutor. This prosecutor shall represent the government and bring charges against the defendant.
The King, in exercising his supreme judicial authority (Art. IV, Sec. 1), shall recommend a member of the Federation (Art. II, Sec. 3) to serve as an advocate for the defendant. The defendant may accept or reject this recommendation, may choose a replacement, or may represent him or herself.
The King, in exercising his supreme judicial authority (Art. IV, Sec. 1), shall appoint a member of the Chamber of Ministers (Art. III, Sec. 3) to serve as the Presiding Minister. This Minister has the responsibility for ensuring the orderly conduct of the hearing. He/She has the right to terminate questions, and/or dismiss any disruptive parties/persons from the hearing.
When all parties are prepared as reasonably as possible the trial shall begin in a forum designated by the Presiding Minister.
WITNESSES: Hearings are to occur in a manner that is as efficient as possible. The Presiding Minister may exclude evidence, to include irrelevant testimony and/or witnesses for reasons of conduct. Witnesses relevant to the actual incident are permitted; witnesses in support of character are not.
PERSONAL BIAS: Hearing panel members are expected to excuse themselves from a trial if personal bias or conflict of interest would prevent them from rendering an objective decision. Any party may challenge a hearing tribunal member on the grounds of personal bias at the beginning of the hearing. It will be the decision of the individual hearing tribunal member, in conjunction with the rest of the tribunal, to determine if the member should excuse him/herself from the hearing.
RULES OF EVIDENCE: The Presiding Minister is empowered to admit into evidence whatever is deemed as reasonably relevant and material to the issues of the case as well as deny overly redundant evidence.
STANDARD OF EVIDENCE: The Chamber will render a finding regarding guilt based on the evidence using a standard of preponderance; a “more likely than not” standard.
An opening statement by the Presiding Minister introduces the hearing tribunal and indicates the rules of procedure which govern the hearing.
The Federation Prosecutor shall present the charges in the complaint against the defendant to the hearing tribunal. The defendant is then required to admit guilt, deny it, or admit it with an explanation.
A. If the defendant pleads guilty:
(1) The defendant is given an opportunity to make a statement regarding the extenuating or mitigating circumstances, and may then proceed to present relevant evidence to attest to these circumstances.
(2) The hearing panel may then question the defendant, the government and any witnesses concerning these statements. The hearing panel will, at this time, be informed of any prior criminal or disciplinary record of the respondent.
(3) The hearing panel shall then retire to vote on a sanction(s). After deliberation, the hearing panel shall announce its decision in open court and provide a written summary of its decision to the Federation Prosecutor and the King for enforcement.
B. If the defendant does not admit responsibility:
(1) The Federation Prosecutor, followed by the defendant, may make an opening statement.
(2) After the opening statements, the hearing panel members shall have the right to question anyone at any time.
(3) Evidence shall be presented on behalf of the government.
(4) Evidence shall be presented on behalf of the defendant.
(5) The defendant may summarize his/her case and may include a comment regarding sanctioning should the panel find him/her guilty.
(6) At the conclusion of the presentation of all evidence, the Federation Prosecutor summarizes his/her case and may recommend sanctions for the offense should the panel make a finding of guilt.
(7) Parties are excused.
(8) The hearing panel shall retire to a private forum for deliberations.
(9) The hearing panel shall announce its decision in open court and provide a written summary of its decision to the Federation Prosecutor and the King for enforcement.
Procedures for Deliberations
1. Deliberations are held in private with only the hearing panel members.
2. A finding of guilt/innocence is to be decided upon before any sanction is considered.
3. Final decisions of all hearings are determined by a majority vote of the hearing panel. A record of the vote does not have to be made public.
4. The Presiding Minister of the hearing panel prepares a written decision of its findings, which is signed by the hearing tribunal members. The finding and sanction(s), if appropriate, are then forwarded to the Federation Prosecutor and the King for enforcement.