Frederick Rugby Football Club
Abiding Laws and Procedures
The Short Explanation: The accused will choose his/her own representation, face "The Prosecutor," be judged by his/her peers, and ultimately either walk away unpunished or pay the penalty invoked by "The Judge." Submit your charges now!
Perhaps it is because Laws and not Rules govern the Rugby Football Union; perhaps it is because we believe in Justice and Fair Play, or maybe it is just because we love to give our friends a hard time.
Each year the Frederick RFC will hold a Club Court at the Winter Banquet to deal with any transgressions that may have been committed by members of the Club throughout the previous season.
Selection of the Judge
In making the choice of a judge, one should seek a person who is both honest and understanding. If such a person does not appear to be present on the Club roster, a second choice might be a person who is devious and disdainful. The appearance of fairness may be more important than actually being fair, especially when you are pressed for time as you often are at the Winter Banquet.
Selection of the Court Prosecutor
As the court lawyer, the prosecutor should obviously be chosen from the large pool of bullshit artists on the roster. This should be a player who would be able to bluster, sputter, question, and cavil, and present an argument intricate enough to confound the court. A guilty finding by the court is of utmost importance. All else is secondary.
Selection of the Jury
It is useful to have the whole party act as the jury in all cases, because everyone knows drunks make the best jurors.
Selection of the Clerk of the Court
As the Clerk is the member of the Court that will ensure the Punishment is dealt and carried out, he/she should be able to exhibit a foreboding demeanor. The Clerk will also bring the defendants and witnesses to the floor, and will ensure that the judge, the attorneys, and all those presenting testimony will swear an oath to the court.
Recording of Charges
Throughout the season, members of the Club will enter charges against their teammates on the Frederick RFC website. They will detail the individual’s egregious acts of misconduct, and suggest a fitting punishment.
It is also of benefit if those laying allegations are able to produce concrete evidence that can be produced at the Court in support of a particular charge (i.e. photographs, documentary evidence, witness statements, etc..). This is particularly effective if the accused is denying the charge and is gaining some misguided sympathy from the jury.
These charges will be compiled two weeks prior to the court by the Webmaster, and sent to the Court Prosecutor for review. The Prosecutor will weigh the severity of the charge, the evidence presented, and the probability of a favorable court decision (i.e. guilty). If the case is found worthy, he/she will formally issue a Court Summons to the accused.
The Clerk of the Court will recite the case number, call the defendant(s) to the floor of the court, and state the case at hand. At this time the judge will ask the defendant how they plead to the stated charges. If the defendant pleads guilty, the judge will then hand down the sentence. If the defendant has retained counsel and pleads innocent, we will proceed with the case. The Clerk will ensure that each defendant swear on the IRB Rugby Law book that they will “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me Rugby Gods.” The accused will present their defense and submit their evidence to the court.
Defense of a Charge
It is, of course, only fair that a Club member accused of an act of misbehavior be given an opportunity to offer a defense (as these are often entertaining fabrications). Defenses can also be useful in that they entrap others who were involved but not seen, or they may lead to the laying of additional charges by the prosecution, such as contempt of court. All defense witnesses and evidence must be presented before the Judge when the Clerk of the Court calls your case number to the floor.
The accused will be encouraged to hire a defense attorney to appear with them and speak on their behalf at Court. In selecting a defense attorney, look for one that you feel would be skilled in circumvention of the law (perhaps you have witnessed them commit many unnoticed penalties on the pitch, perhaps they have a history of talking their way out of traffic tickets…). The accused will also be allowed to represent themselves, however:
The prosecution will follow with their case against the defendant. They will present before the court a direct and concise argument, the chronology of events, and their supporting evidence (including documents, eye witness accounts, and photographs). The Prosecutor will then present the suggested sentence to punish the accused, and/or to recompense any victim of the crime.
The Clerk will call for the decision of the jury, and will record the majority ruling (‘yea’ for guilty, or ‘nay’ for innocent). The judge will then weigh the merits of the case, the arguments of the defense and prosecution, and the ruling of the jury. The judge can either uphold the decision of the jury, or overturn the decision – specific reason to do so must be provided.
During the trial, the Judge will have ultimate control of all court proceedings. If a member of the Court engages in conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar of this Court, the Judge (with approval from the Jury) will take disciplinary action against this member, the form of punishment will be at the Judge’s discretion
If the accused is found guilty, the judge will then specify his/her sentence (which may or may not be the punishment that the prosecutor recommended). This sentence must be immediately carried out. The Clerk of the Court is responsible in seeing that the sentence is completely fulfilled, and the guilty party will not be excused until the Clerk is satisfied.
The Court cases, rulings, and sentences will be recorded on the FRFC website for public consumption for all eternity (names will be withheld to protect the innocent, and the not-so-innocent), and for fodder for future Kangaroo Courts.