The Tribunal for Mandatory Homicide

This is something I’ve been playing with for a number of years now, but it may be almost ready for prime time. Hope you enjoy it.

As you undoubtedly know, homicide is a state offense unless it is committed on Federal lands, so we will only discuss the states here. Someday, we hope, the law will become enlightened enough to extend the legal theory of Mandatory Homicide to the Federal government.

Depending on the state, the law recognizes various types of homicide: first, second, third degree; voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, and so forth.

The issue is that there are some individuals who, while having committed no absolute crime, are nonetheless so disruptive and annoying to their fellows, and downright inimical to the peaceful conduct of a just society, that they must be brought to justice. However, we abide by the Rule of Law, and this new legal theory must not outrage that Rule. Therefor it is obvious that the workings of Mandatory Homicide must be carefully crafted to preserve the rights of all concerned. They are.

Requesting the Writ. When dealing with regular homicide, our society is pretty much kill-now pay-later. This will not work for Mandatory Homicide, which must strive to protect all involved. Therefore, if Complainant feels aggrieved enough, Complainant must appear before a Tribunal, with his or her paperwork in order, to request a Writ for Mandatory Homicide. The three judges will review the paperwork and hear testimony, confer amongst themselves, then issue a preliminary verdict.

The Preliminary Verdict. This verdict could be that the offenses are not serious enough to warrant a court appearance, and the Complaint is denied. The Complainant is free to try again, but subsequent complaints must be persuasive or the Complainant can be judged to be a Litigious Complainant and no further complaints will be heard for a period of time, the length of which is at the judges’ discretion.

However, if the verdict is that the Complaint is valid, the Tribunal will issue a formal Writ for Mandatory Homicide, to be served by an officer of the court on the Defendant. The Writ will list a specific time and date for the hearing; should the defendant not appear, an automatic verdict is legal sanction to “Go For It” (described hereinbelow). This should guarantee that the proceedings are taken seriously.

The Hearing. No lawyers are allowed at the hearing. At that hearing, the Complainant states the case for issuing the Writ for Mandatory Homicide and can present evidence and/or testimony. The Defendant is then allowed to testify as to why he or she should not be killed, and may also present evidence and testimony. Both sides are then allowed closing statements, and the Tribunal retires to confer.

The Verdict and Administration of Justice. The judges can return one of three possible verdicts. In the first, they declare that the Defendant may be an objectionable asshat but not so much as to warrant further punishment. The Defendant is seriously warned and allowed to leave.

The second verdict is that the Defendant is indeed a reprehensible, lily-livered, low-down excuse for a human, a veritable snake who gives snakes in general a bad name, an abomination in the eyes of society and a stench in the nostrils of the Lord. The Complainant and Defendant are escorted in to a courtyard where a firearm is presented to Complainant and he or she is formally charged to “Go for it.” Complainant gets enough ammunition to carry out the sentence.

But there are always cases where the Defendant is indeed adjudged to be a reprehensible, lily-livered, etc., but not sufficiently so to merit death. In this case Complainant and Defendant are escorted to a courtyard, where Complainant is issued a firearm and ammunition, and told to “Wing ‘em.”

It is believed that such a legal avenue, with its protections of the parties and its requirement for a sober and knowledgeable tribunal of practiced judges, would vastly expand our society’s emphasis on civil discourse and care of one’s neighbors. The Legislature is urged to give this proposal the attention it deserves.



Author: Marta Randall

I was born in 1948 in Mexico DF, Mexico, but have lived in the United States since infancy. I have taught in several sf writing workshops and served in Science Fiction Writers of America as vice-president 1981-1982 and president 1982-1984. My first story was published in New Worlds 5 (1973).

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