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the nature of the setting really changes the sort of person you're often representing
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"Can we talk about the crime boss thing now?"

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"...I think there's still more to say on the topic of the alleged blackmail."

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"Do you, in fact, have any case law supporting your position -- I'm not condoning misrepresenting the facts of a case, but Khonsu seems to be good law." Probably. He's only actually read the case summary on the first page but he's not about to stop the trial just to read it.

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There have been billions of trials just of souls in Golarion. There's precedent somewhere to support just about any bizarre argument you can come up with, it's just a matter of finding it. Even once you get past the standard citations there are cases that come up more often and cases that come up less often -- it wasn't sheer luck that he knew the details of Otaro -- but there's a reason most trials don't just turn into a competition of who can cite the most similar case.

He still came prepared, though. If you can't manage to truthfully cite cases that support your argument, what are you even doing?

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"Your Honor, the obvious analogy is In re Rantella from 1213 -- the petitioner had discovered two attempted murders by another member of his household, deliberately chose not to report them, and took steps to supervise and redeem the would-be murderer. He was judged Neutral Good. Beyond that, you also have cases like In re Greenhilt from 1184, where the petitioner was judged to be Lawful Good even though he wasn't even succeeding at preventing the other person from killing people." He can go on for a while. He has physical copies.

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He skims them as fast as he can to make absolutely sure the judge realizes Nirvana's argument is unreasonable.

"In re Rantella isn't analogous, the petitioner was the primary target of the murder attempt. Not reporting wrongs committed against you is substantially different from denying justice for wrongs committed against someone else."

It's not a good argument. It doesn't cut to the heart of why Nirvana is wrong. But the judge asked for fewer "abstract arguments" about the "'proper' role of mercy," and he's not stupid enough to ignore him.

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"Cool, they both have some cases on their side, now can we talk about about the crime boss thing? I really want to talk about the crime boss thing."

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"Yes, we can talk about, as you put it, the 'crime boss thing.' We'll return to the blackmail later if it ends up being decisive."

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"Awesome! Criminal organizations: pretty Evil! Maybe not as much as murder, but still pretty bad. Like, we've got threats, we've got violence, we've got all kinds of things that hurt other people. The, uh, the annoying human god dude who lives in Heaven for some reason, he's Neutral Evil. Even though he doesn't live in Abaddon. Don't ask me how that works. Anyways, they're also Chaotic -- like, you are literally breaking the law, and usually you are also lying to people or breaking promises or other things like that that Lawful people care about for some reason. So, the crime boss thing makes her Chaotic Evil. Hell and Nirvana have barely touched this because they know I'm right and don't want to admit it."

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There are so many things wrong with that but for some reason the one he's stuck on is the fact that the demon knows Norgorber's realm is not in Abaddon but inexplicably thinks he lives in Heaven.

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"Wouldn't that make her Neutral Evil? If Norgorber is Neutral Evil? Just saying."

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"I'm fine either way, I think she'll choose the Abyss if she gets the chance. But she's obviously not Lawful."

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She's been trying to avoid thinking about it, actually.

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"...do either of you have anything to say about the Abyss's assertion that you, quote, 'have barely touched this because they know I'm right and don't want to admit it'?"

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(An advocate's state of belief about the merit of their arguments has no bearing on the outcome of the proceedings, Hell v. Heaven, -8301. But that's the sort of argument that this judge is likely to take as  concession of the point.)

"Your Honor, Hell's position, which I have repeatedly stated, is that her position as the leader of a criminal organization was in fact Lawful Evil, and the fact that she violated local regulations in so doing is not dispositive. We earlier mentioned In re Kuzuryu, but that's far from the only case of relevance here -- for instance, even restricting ourselves to common cites, the court held in In re Borje that 'the mere act of being part of a criminal organization must be weighed against factors such as the organization's or petitioner's adherence to a regimented code, the structure of the organization, and the nature of the organization's activities.'"

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"In re Borje is a stupid case anyway, just saying. Like, yeah, the petitioner really didn't do himself any favors at trial, but he did tons of good in his life! You can be in charge of an evil conspiracy and still be a good person."

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"...The Maelstrom's opinions on whether In re Borje was improperly decided aside, the opinion of this court was that the petitioner in that case was Lawful. So, too, is the petitioner here: the organizational structure and activities are strongly reminiscent of that in Kuzuryu and Borje — far from the wanton Lawlessness that other representatives in this court might ask you to believe."

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"I bet Nirvana agrees with me."

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(Y...es... but also he would much rather pick a fight about whether running a criminal organization is somehow evidence of lawfulness than about whether a widely-cited case from several centuries ago was improperly decided. Can the Maelstrom maybe go back to pointing out flaws in Hell's arguments.)

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"In bringing up Borje, Hell inadvertently raises an important point. Just what sorts of criminal activities are we talking about? In Borje, the petitioner's organization was not merely involved in petty theft or minor blackmail, but in far more serious crimes, such as child slavery and even, frequently, murder. In contrast, the petitioner's organization was primarily focused on financial gain—"

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"Blah blah blah, 'focused on financial gain.' Why don't you tell us how they were, uh, gaining financially? You can make money from child slavery, it doesn't make the petitioner in the Borje case you guys were talking about not evil!"

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"...To start with, I want to make it abundantly clear that the petitioner's organization was not engaging in child slavery." There, that's unambiguously true and unambiguously better for the petitioner than the alternative.

"With that being said, Nirvana does not dispute that some of the actions of the petitioner's organization were perhaps not entirely Good. We do, however, dispute the Abyss's implication that this should be dispositive on its own."

"It's true that the petitioner's organization sometimes committed financial crimes, and often relied on threats to keep their activities from the eyes of the law. But that does not, in and of itself, make the petitioner evil. There are nigh-innumerable examples of people engaging in similar activities being judged Neutral or Good, despite or even because of their theft — In re DismasIn re ValjeanIn re Robin Hood, just to name a few. Now, to be clear, we're not trying to say that the petitioner's organization was Good — the circumstantial factors present in In re Valjean can hardly be said to apply — but it is Nirvana's position that merely leading a criminal organization is insufficient to render someone automatically Evil. Besmara herself, the Pirate Queen of the gods, is chaotic neutral, and I doubt anyone in this courtroom would argue that She doesn't steal or threaten others."

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"Cases involving petitioners stealing for the benefit of others, as two of your citations were, are irrelevant to the question of whether it is ethical to steal purely for personal profit. Likewise, cases primarily turning on the question of 'repentance' for one's misdeeds have little bearing on this case — unless our petitioner wishes to tell us that she sincerely regretted her life of crime and sought to mend her ways in her final days?"

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She would love to be able to say that but unfortunately it's not even arguably true. Is there anything else she can say without making it obvious that she absolutely did not regret it while she was alive.

 

"I don't think it's right to say that I only wanted personal profit, sir." (Is she supposed to call devils "sir"?) "I was doing it to help my theater troupe, not just for myself. We'd have gone under a dozen times over if it hadn't been for me."

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