Last Wednesday we started our Princes of Middelburg Series by looking at that Merchant League we have all come to know and love. This week we’re changing track and looking at the arbiter of life and death in the city.
This week’s Prince is the Supreme Judge.
A sanctimonious title for sanctimonious men. This position dates back to when Alfresia was still part of the Heavenly Empire of Man, back when the Kings, and later Archdukes, were the sole arbiter of the innocent and guilty in Alfresia.
Along the line, when the system of courts became more structured and unified, the supreme judge in Alfresia became the title “Supreme Judge of Alfresia” that the Archdukes could add to their repertoire of titles and names, to show the world what pious and lawful men they were. Today, however the Supreme Judge is no longer an inherited title, although saying “any man can become Supreme Judge” is stretching it a bit. Like all politics, back room deals are worth more than all the knowledge in the world.
The duty of the Supreme Judge is to ensure the law is carried out in an honest, legal, and dutiful a manner as is humanly possible. It is his role, at least nominally, to oversee every judge in every court in Alfresia. This responsibility comes with great power as the Supreme Judge can overrule any lower judge anywhere on the island.
As well as poking his nose where it may not belong, the Supreme Judge also sits in court and presides over his own cases. Only the most politically valuable cases reach him, of course. Only those that are of great public interest, or politically sensitive is seen to by the Supreme Judge.
Lastly, the Supreme Judge must sign off on every execution on the island. As can be expected, most of this is merely stamped without really looked at, as there are more than enough executions occurring across the nation, but it does put him in an interesting position. Should he so choose, he can commute the death sentence of whatever convicted criminal he desires. There is a very good reason the Supreme Judge is always a very wealthy individual.
Next week we’ll look into the Prince the one who controls all the armies in Alfresia.