The Manta Carlos Legal System

The Legal system on Manta Carlos is handled entirely on-island as an isolated system. Its largest focus is on crime prevention, followed by rehabilitation, rather than punishment of criminals. Due to the island's status as a place of refuge for the supernatural, it has faced and continues to face unique legislative challenges. Laws are constantly being modified or replaced to accommodate or limit the use of supernatural powers. A large degree of accommodation for the wants and needs of supernatural interests is enshrined in law. Even so, the undead, demons, and other so-called 'horrors' have been historically treated poorly. Recent pushes for equality have removed the majority of discriminatory laws.

Laws are enforced by The Manta Carlos Police Department. When convicted of a crime, citizens are entitled to access to free legal counsel, though they may forgo this privilege and pay for alternative legal representation. Court cases are brought before judges familiar with the relevant sphere of law, and decided by them.

Those who are convicted can face a variety of punishments, the most significant being their confinement in the Behavioral Corrections Facility. Fines are another common punishment, with values being adjusted based on the means of the citizen in order to ensure they are punitive to the rich without being devastating to the poor.

Mundane Law

As a general rule, for most laws regarding mundane situations, the laws on Manta Carlos tend to follow a European standard. If it's illegal in most of the EU, it's probably illegal on Manta Carlos. If it's legal in the EU, it's probably legal in Manta Carlos. This will cover most laws related to murder, assault, theft, and property damage. There are several noteworthy peculiarities to the Manta Carlos legal system, which are described below.

Citizens are capable of getting a learners permit (allowing them to drive when in the car with someone who has their full license) at the age of 15, but full permits are only available to those 16 and up. The majority of Manta Carlos citizen's do not possess a drivers license, simply because public transit is so cheap and accessible it makes driving an unnecessary expense.

Pardon System

For crimes committed off-island, Manta Carlos has a detailed pardon system for accommodating those who had committed crimes before arriving on the island. The full details can be found here.

Recreational Substance Use

Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are all legal. For humans and most other humanoids, the legal age to purchase or partake in any of these substances is 18 (for other cases, see below, on “Age”). Individuals who are younger than 18 (or below the legally equivalent age for their species) may also partake in these substances, but only on private property with the supervision of a parent or legal guardian.

Some substances, while not intoxicating to humans, can have impairing effects on some types of non-humans. Manta Carlos law does not legislate the possession of these substances, but does make it illegal for someone under the age of 18 to partake in them. It is extremely easy to get away with this sort of 'crime' due to issues with tracking, and is generally only considered an issue if someone provides the substance knowingly.

This rule also qualifies for any other law that would effect drugs or alcohol.

Contracts with Minors

Contracts with minors on Manta Carlos are treated similarly to contracts in real life. Minors can make contracts freely, without a guardian present. This includes things like deals (demonic or otherwise), but also things like opening a bank account or getting a loan (assuming they qualify). However, there are two special conditions that come along with this: One, their legal guardian must be notified (normally via mail), and two, at any point before they turn eighteen, the contract can be rendered void by the minor or their legal guardian. In that case, the minor is no longer bound to the terms of the contract, but must also return what they gained from the contract in the first place.

Incest Laws

Manta Carlos, like most places on earth has strict rules against sexual relations or marriage between family members. However, the focus on Manta Carlos is very firmly about the unhealthy power dynamics between these couples, not the possibility of inbreeding.

Relationships between a child and their guardian (whether biologically related at all) are always banned. If a sibling is the legal guardian, they fall into this category. In situations not between the legal guardian and their ward, the allowances are based on the age gap between the two parties, not their actual relationship. For those with more than a five year age gap, the relationship is forbidden until all parties are more than 25 years of age (or the supernatural equivalent). For those where the age gap is less than five years, the relationship is forbidden until all parties are more than 18 years of age.

While the law is clear on this matter, incest remains a strong social taboo among humans and other earth-based lifeforms, with more allowances being made for aliens and extra planar lifeforms.

Weapon Carry and Ownership

Given the prevalence of deadly supernatural powers, regulating firearm ownership seems like a moot point. All small arms may be legally and openly carried without a license in most places on the island. Concealed firearm carry is illegal without a special license, though this law is extremely difficult to enforce due to the existence of extradimensional storage magics and technologies. Ownership and carry of bladed and bludgeoning weapons is similarly unregulated. Weapons of mass destruction are, for obvious reasons, strictly illegal to own.

While adults may purchase, own, and carry weapons freely, those who are not of legal age operate under a different set of laws. The purchase or ownership of guns or other weapons of comparable danger is restricted to legal adults only. Those who require weapons for power-related, religious, or ceremonial purposes are almost always given specific exemptions. Possession of a non-exempt weapon under the age of 18 is considered a serious crime, and depending on the circumstances can result in anything from time in the Behavioral Corrections Facility to expulsion.

Bladed weapons and other weapons of a similar level of danger are restricted in a similar matter, but to a much less severe degree. The purchase or ownership of such weapons is limited to those of the age 16 and up, save when exempted for power-related, religious, or ceremonial purposes. Similarly, while criminal, this offense is considered much less severe then ownership of a more powerful weapon, and tends to simply lead to confiscation or temporary suspension depending on circumstances.

It is illegal for a private citizen to carry firearms or other weapons in city hall or on Starlight Academy campus. Weapons needed for power classes are kept in weapons lockers for use during power classes.

Sex Work

Prostitution is legal on the island, though it is heavily controlled and regulated by the government. Prostitution is only legally permitted through brothels, which are only allowed to exist in the red light district of the city. Most labor laws that apply to other kinds of employees also apply to sex workers. The employers are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their employees, prostitutes must be paid for overtime hours, and slavery or indentured servitude is not tolerated.

There are a number of laws unique to sex work. Due to labor laws, all sex workers must be 18+ years old, or legally an adult for their species, and must be legally capable of consenting to sex (see below sections on “Age” and “Consent”). It is illegal for those with incurable sexually transmitted diseases to work as prostitutes, and prostitutes cannot legally work while sick. Similarly, it is illegal for those with untreated sexually transmitted diseases to have paid sex with a prostitute. Similar laws also apply to individuals involved in pornography.

All sex workers reserve the legal right to terminate a sex act at any time, or to refuse to engage in sex. Except in cases of assault or other business-specific rule violations, the customer will be entitled to a refund. In cases where the rules of the business or the laws of the island are not violated by the customer, an employer is permitted to dock the pay of prostitutes who exercise this legal right, or to fire such prostitutes.

Supernatural Legal Considerations

Several laws exist specifically targeted at the supernatural. Most of them are relatively common-sense. For example, while eldritch horrors exist on the island, driving a sapient being into insanity is strictly outlawed, because that qualifies as a form of telepathic assault. Similarly, the consumption of human flesh or blood is illegal without prior written consent. Magic is legal and a daily part of life on the islands. Laws only tend to interfere where magic can cause serious harm.

There are other, more unique legislative challenges that have been posed to Manta Carlos over the years. Several of these issues and the relevant laws are discussed below.

The Veil of Secrecy

Attempting to intentionally reveal the existence of the supernatural to normies is, in many cases, strictly prohibited and severely punished. These attempts virtually always fail, or else the information is contained very efficiently. More information can be found in the main article about The Veil of Secrecy.

Unnatural Creation of Sapient Life

The creation of sapient life forms has been a difficult legislative issue for as long as the island has had a government and magic users. Laws have become progressively more respectful of these life forms since the homunculus revolts of the 1920s, and more restrictive of the practice ever since the synthesis flower incidents of the 1940s.

Currently, all created sapient life forms are considered full citizens of the island, unless they are so dangerous that they must be destroyed to preserve the safety of the island.

A possible exception to the above rule (if it can be considered as life-creation) is the act of summoning a life form from another realm. Matters of jurisdiction in other planes of reality, as well as contract law with respect to demonic deals, make regulating what can and cannot be done to a summoned beings extremely difficult to legislate. The demon lobby has done a good job so far of preventing any major reform in that particular area.

What Qualifies as "Unnatural Creation?"

The answer to this question is, in most cases, pretty clear-cut. Infants that result from sexual intercourse are generally considered “natural,” while all creatures created purely through magic rituals or high technology are considered “unnatural.” Most forms of asexual reproduction which are not magically induced are considered natural.

The distinction becomes more ambiguous when sexual intercourse and magic/technology are involved at the same time. For procedures directly comparable to in vitro fertilization as performed in the narrow reality, a special application does not need to be filled out. However, when technology or magic is consciously used to modify an otherwise natural child before its birth, an application is required.

Some supernatural or alien species may only reproduce through means which are not strictly considered natural. Some creatures, for example, may only reproduce when one or both partners dies or loses his/her individuality in the process - this requires an application for the sake of ensuring that all involved parties consent to the process. If a corpse is required for the creation of the new life form, that individual must have explicitly consented prior to death, unless it was/is not a sapient being, in which case the process must still otherwise be approved.

What is "Sapience?"

For the purpose of this law, a being is “Sapient” if it has a human-like capacity for rational thought.

Applying to Create Life

Citizens interested in creating sapient life forms through any sort of supernatural means (“Creators”) are required by law to fill out several legal documents, pay a $50 fee to the government, and discuss the matter with a trained government official whose job it is to handle these situations. The official will ask a number of questions of the creators to make sure that the life form will not be a danger to public safety, that its rights will not be violated, that it will be well cared for, and that nobody else's rights will be violated in the creation process. For any application, the official may choose to accept it outright, to accept it conditionally and to require that certain things about the process and the life form be changed, or to deny it, based on the previously described criteria.

A creator whose application is denied or accepted conditionally may pay an additional fee to have their application considered by a second official. If the appeal fails, the creator must substantially modify their application and associated factors before attempting to apply again. In extreme cases, the bureaucracy can decide to blacklist an individual who repeatedly applies to create abominations.

Unapproved Creation

Creation does not always go through proper channels. Sometimes, whether by accident or by design, an intelligent life form is created unnaturally without prior approval. When this is discovered, the life form may suffer one of two fates:

  1. If it is capable of being a productive and/or otherwise harmless member of society, it becomes a full citizen. Its creator(s) will be punished according to the discretion of a judge in accordance with various laws that may or may not have been broken, through heavy fines and possibly time in the correctional facility. The creator must ensure the new creature is taken care of, whether by taking custody of it or paying a sort of child support to it or whichever legal guardians the state provides for it.
  2. If the creature is categorically a danger to society beyond the possibility of rehabilitation, it will be killed. If the creation was intentional, the creator will always face time in the correctional facilities.

Hunting Laws

With shapeshifters who tend to walk around the island, hunting is stricter than most places in the narrow reality. Many predatory creatures such as Dragons, werewolves, and the like still have instincts that tell them to hunt and find their food. Because of this, Manta Carlos requires that all shapeshifters wear some form of identification tags (a collar, wristband, etc.)

Killing a shapeshifter while they're in any animal form is still considered murder and dealt with like any other killing. If for some reason, the shapeshifter wasn't wearing their tags, the perpetrator is usually tried for manslaughter.

Hunting in city limits is strictly forbidden. Any hunting is required to be down on the outskirts of the island or the forest to further prevent the possibility of a shapeshifter being harmed.

Pet Laws

Due to the nature of Manta Carlos, rules on pets are more clearly defined. Sapient beings cannot be counted as 'pets', and doing so falls under laws against slavery. While perfectly legal, there is a portion of the population who campaigns against the keeping of supernatural non-sapient creatures as pets, especially non-sapient dragons (occasionally known as 'drakes', although the terminology hasn't quite stuck).

Laws Governing Auras

Age Laws

Substance Use

Humans and quasihumans are permitted to consume alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana when 18 years old or older. Quasihumans are defined as those who develop mentally and physically at roughly the same rate that a human would. This is a legal definition which only applies to age-related laws.

Laws related to the legal age for recreational substance use have been most compellingly justified by the impact of substance use on development, with ancillary arguments about the basal ability of an average person of a certain age to exhibit good judgement. For each species which has been sufficiently well-studied, the relevant legal age for using each substance has been determined by by experts within an efficient bureaucratic system. In most cases, the threshold for each substance is the same for a given species. These thresholds are decided by determining when, roughly, a species stops developing to the same degree that an eighteen-year-old human has stopped developing.

In the case of unnaturally created sapients or previously unstudied species, a short medical examination is performed to determine whether drinking and smoking may harm them or turn them into a public risk.

Alien visitors who are considered adults on their home planet may enjoy these substances at their own risk.

Magically Stunted Development

It is sometimes the case that an individual will live long enough to be considered an adult, but their body will remain in a child-like form either for an abnormally long time or permanently. This is common with vampires who were “turned” at a young age, as well as for some other forms of undeath. It is also observed in certain types of immortals. The technical term for all such conditions is “magically stunted development.” Although this is a misnomer, it has remained in the medical and legal literature for most of a century and is currently unlikely to be replaced.

Adult individuals with magically stunted development may receive special ID cards which have “MSD” in big letters to show that they should be considered legal adults. To qualify for such a card, they must undergo physical tests to confirm that they do in fact have such a condition. They must also either supply a birth certificate or undergo a psychological evaluation to ensure that they have the baseline emotional and mental capacities expected of an adult.

Such individuals may also choose to wear special wristbands which signify their status as legal adults.

Identification

Due to the wide range of possible ages at which substances are allowed, citizens are issued photo identification cards with magical stamps. Business owners and police officers have access to magical crystals, which will cause any nearby stamps to reveal how different age laws apply to the owners of the card. A glowing symbol will appear on the front of the card. The symbols and their meanings are as follows.

  • Green circle: drinking and smoking is legal.
  • Yellow star: too young.
  • Red X: a counterfeit stamp and/or ID is being presented.

The crystals cannot easily be tricked. Comparable tests exist for whether one can legally operate certain vehicles.

The age of consent for humans and quasihumans is 16 years. (The legal definition of a “quasihuman” is described above, under “Substance use”)

There are set ages of consent for all sufficiently studied sapient species. These ages are based on two criteria:

  1. Average emotional maturity for an individual of that species at a given developmental stage.
  2. Physical fitness to engage in reproduction at that developmental stage.

These ages are determined by experts for each sufficiently well-understood species, just as the ages for recreational substance use are decided.

For unstudied or uniquely created individuals, there is no legal age of consent, but it is still possible for such individuals to be considered incapable of consent. An individual can be considered legally incapable of sexual consent if they can be shown not to have the mental and emotional capabilities required to properly provide consent to sex, especially if it can be argued that sex act(s) cause some form of mental and emotional harm. These court cases are guided largely by court precedent and are occasionally highly contentious.

An individual is legally recognized as consenting to an activity if any only if

  1. The individual has positively communicated their willingness to engage in the sexual act, verbally or nonverbally
  2. The individual is not affected by any consent-inhibiting substance or influence
  3. In cases of sexual consent, the individual is legally recognized as being able to consent to sex (see “Age of Consent” section above)

Non-sapient creatures are considered, by default, to be unable to consent. Sexual involvement with a non-sapient creature falls into laws against bestiality, even if the creature is not a 'beast' by traditional definitions.

An influence is defined as inhibiting an individual's ability to consent if it hinders the individual's normal ability to rationally consider the results of engaging in the activity being consented to. Apparent affirmations of consent made under the influence of such a substance are not legally admissible.

On a related note, a consent-overriding influence is one which makes a positive affirmation of consent categorically impossible. Penalties for utilizing such influences are generally even more severe.

Large enough doses of alcohol are universally recognized as a form of consent inibition. The same applies to some types of “love potions.” Consciously directed mind control, body-puppeteering, and mental suggestion are instances of consent-inhibition or consent-overriding, unless exposure to these influences and how they will be used is given explicit prior approval. Such forms of influence may result in charges of telepathic assault as well. \

Love Potions

Love Potions on Manta Carlos have been divided into two types. Type 1 love potions create a feeling of love where one did not exist to begin with. Type 2 love potions enhance already existing feelings to varying degrees.

Previously unregulated, the 90s introduced new restrictions on love potions of all types. Type 1 love potions are completely banned on Manta Carlos, and there are stiff penalties for their creation, sale, or use. Type 2 love potions are treated similarly to alcohol, and must be created with safeguards in order to ensure that a person cannot be repeatedly dosed with love potions.

Aphrodisiacs

Aphrodisiacs and supernatural powers which mimic them fall into two categories.

Category 1 aphrodisiacs includes those influences which may mildly increase libido or affect sexual stimulation, but do not substantially impact cognition. One may still be prosecuted for lacing a person's food or drink with a category 1 aphrodisiac without that person's knowledge or consent, as is the case with any mind-altering substance. However, positive consent given while under the influence of a category 1 aphrodisiac is still legally recognized as consent. Furthermore, exposing an individual to a telepathic influence with the properties of a category 1 aphrodisiac without the consent of that individual does not constitute a form of telepathic assault. It may, however, qualify as a form of sexual harassment.

Category 2 aphrodisiacs include influences which increase interest in sex to such a degree that it overrides rational thought. An individual is not considered to be giving consent when under the influence of a category 2 aphrodisiac, though consent given prior to exposure to such an aphrodisiac is permissible. Unwanted, consciously-directed exposure to influences that mimic category 2 aphrodisiacs is legally considered a form of telepathic assault.

Which substances qualify as category 1 or category 2 is determined by experts. Which kinds of supernatural influence are considered category 1 or category 2 are argued in court cases, often by citing relevant court precedents from similar cases.

Consumption of Humans

Some supernatural beings who live on the Manta Carlos islands require the flesh or blood of other sapient beings to survive. As a result, eating human flesh or blood is explicitly legal and heavily regulated. The island contains plenty of legitimate restaurants and specialty grocers that provide human flesh and blood for their patrons.

There are few legally permissible methods for acquiring human flesh and blood for sale.

  1. Artificial flesh and blood: Scientists on the islands have learned how to create vats of artificial human flesh and blood, which is in all ways chemically identical to human flesh and blood and made from live human tissue. However, while (as rumor has it) the vats of humanity taste just as good as human flesh and blood to human taste testers, those who must consume human parts often claim that this “artificial humanity” tastes at best mediocre, and at worst disgusting. In some way that has yet to be fully understood, many flesh-eaters and blood-drinkers do not get all of the nutrition they need from such sources, though this is not always the case. Some flesh eaters can subsist happily on the human-vats.
  2. Post-mortem Donation: Humanoid citizens may volunteer to have their corpses sold to flesh-eaters, once they have died. Humans who do this have a special marking on their ID cards, much like with organ donors, and they must also be listed as “Do Not Resuscitate” in order to avoid the possibility of lawsuits. Individuals who volunteer for this and accept this risk receive tax credits. This policy has roundly condemned by some, and argued as a necessary evil by others, who say that the human flesh supply is barely high enough to support the island's residents as is.
  3. Donation or Selling: As in the narrow reality, processes exist for safely extracting blood from a human, and humanoids may either donate or sell their blood to those who need it. Less common is the practice of donating flesh. Aside from the adipose tissue sometimes provided by weight loss clinics on the island, those with regenerative abilities, proper permits, and clean bills of health may donate or sell parts of themselves. Flesh and blood extracted directly from live humans is much more expensive and highly sought-after than that from artificial or dead humans, but it is also rarer and more expensive.

While the above legal options exist, anything other than vat-humanity is very expensive, even after government subsidies to ameliorate the issue. Criminals have turned to numerous practices, ranging from corpse theft to practices as abhorrent as you can imagine and worse, to procure low-cost human flesh for island consumers.

Consensual Murder

Anything that can be done directly to an individual may be consented to, up to and including murder. In the specific case of murder, both the 'victim' and the killer must sign a notarized legal document, and the 'victim' must be thoroughly examined to determine that they are of sound mind and truly consenting to this activity. This process is generally expedited in the case of immortals who don't actually “die” from these incidents.

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