CoJ Case 049

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This article is part of the series:
Chamber of Justice
Cases


DB vs Seraphol Ceartas was the fourty-ninth case tried by the Chamber of Justice. The sitting Justicar was Jac Cotelin, the Left Hand of Justice was Montresor, and the Right Hand of Justice was Halcyon Taldrya.

Basic Case Information

Defendants Name

Charges

  • Falsifying Matches

Verdict

  • Not Guilty

Sentence

None

Related News Posts

Posted in DJB News by Grand Master Jac Cotelin on 04/03/2015 @ 6:44 AM


Members of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood -

The Chamber of Justice has convened in its last pending matter, a charge of match falsification brought against Seraphol Ceartas. The Chamber has issued a detailed verdict and Justicar Opinion for the case which can be found in the PDF file linked below. Certain matters of CoJ policy and Covenant interpretation are incorporated from the opinion in DB v. Delak Krennel. I direct you attention to that opinion first. Please note that the written opinion is generally found on the second page of the following documents, after announcement of the verdict.

The verdict was as follows:

Case # 49 - DB v. Seraphol Ceartas - Opinion PDF •Count 1 - Falsifying Matches - Plea of not guilty

Verdict: NOT GUILTY



Justicar's Opinion

Facts: Between December 19th and December 21st , 2014, the Defendant participated in a scheme to earn as many Clusters of Fire (CFs) utilizing Diablo 3 as possible. The scheme involved a loophole within the game itself, allowing one member to host their game as a Level 1 character, yet playing the game itself on the highest difficulty. As punishment for exploiting the loophole in the game, and violating the spirit of competition, the Defendant was punished by the Fist of the Brotherhood, Valhavoc.

It was also revealed that some of those who had participated in the above took turns in being the Level 1 character. Allegations were leveled against multiple members that their characters did not participate in the actual game, but instead stayed in camp, which is a safe zone where one can rest and not be an active participant in the game without formally leaving the game itself. During the time in which a player stayed at camp, that player did not participate in the activity that was reported. Allowing gaming activity to be approved in which one or more members did not fully participate is in violation of the Rites of Combat, specifically Falsifying Matches. The question before the Chamber was whether the Defendant here participated in any match that fell under the definition of falsification.

Opinion: Certain general principles of Covenant interpretation and Chamber policies are set forth in the Opinion on DB vs. Delak Krennel, Case 0042, which is incorporated by reference.

The first issue I will address is the known evidence. Seraphol has objected to the inclusion of certain evidence as hearsay. In particular, Seraphol has objected to statements made by Egregious and Turel in relation to the actions of the playing group.

The evidence of Egregious's statements will not be considered as part of the evidence. In his statements, he attests to what certain third parties have done. It is, at its core, hearsay, that is, it is a series of statements of a third party offered for the truth of the matter asserted. Egregious's statements as to what third parties did or did not do are not admissible under the Covenant.

However, the statements of Turel are admissible.Turel was not stating anything that a third party did. He instead was stating what he did himself, a matter of which he has personal knowledge. This is by definition not hearsay, because Turel was directly involved. I will note at this point that Seraphol submitted no evidence of his own, but mentioned that he could have. He instead relied on attempting to remove from the Chamber’s purview both the Egregious and Turel statements and claim there was no evidence. He was only half successful. As a general practice, it's not good to just rely on knocking out the other side's evidence. That doesn't always work. Aside from Turel, I believe it is appropriate to consider the guilty pleas of the other gamers. Delak and Rod plead guilty to the falsification charges. However, they were involved in multiple matches, and there is no specific indication that they were falsifying the matches involved with Seraphol. That is, it is plausible that the one match in which Seraphol was involved was not falsified. Further, Delak's admission was as to small exits from the games to help his child, not to deliberately staying in town.

So we turn to the evidence that actually implicates Seraphol. We first have his admission that he engaged in the exploit. However, engaging in the exploit is sufficiently different from engaging in match falsification. The exploit could be completed with all people involved in the act of actively playing. But it is only the act of having one or more people sitting in town and earning CFs while others play for them that turns the act from an (at the time) legal exploit into illegal match falsification. Seraphol's admission of using the exploit is not the same as admitting to falsification. He has not admitted to either he or the other match participants staying in town during play. We then turn to the match submission itself. The submission shows an large amount of CFs earned during a playing session. It shows a large amount of elites killed. It does not give us any data regarding the length of the play session, or what characters were used.

We may be able to extrapolate certain information from the number of CFs awarded. If the level 1 character was actively traveling with the remainder of the group and receiving experience as they killed monsters, the character would have leveled very quickly. As the low character leveled, the monsters would get harder, resulting in slower progress and earning fewer CFs. Based on this, it could be reasonable to infer that due to the large number of CFs earned, the level one character was not traveling with the group. That is, unless the play time was very long, or unless new level 1 characters were rotated in, the only thing that can explain the large CF award is having a level 1 in town, IE falsification.

But we don't have any evidence that allows me to pick between the three alternatives. This could have been a very long match. This could have been an instance where the members rotated level ones. It could have been a combination of the two. On those fronts, our investigation is incomplete and is now too late to buttress.

I am left with the statement of Turel, which is vague as to which matches were falsified, and the statements of Seraphol. The Turel admissions do not go far enough in identifying Seraphol as one of the level one characters sitting in town. He identifies himself, Delak and Shorurra as the level one hosts, but says that the level one character was sometimes running and sometimes in town. That is not clear enough evidence to find that in the specific instance where Seraphol was playing, that the level one characters were in town. It is for this reason that I can’t summarily state that because Seraphol played with people known to falsify matches, that he also falsified. The evidence cannot clearly pin him to that charge, as the others may have actually been active in the game with Deraphol.

As to his statements, I find Seraphol to be credible. Seraphol is a fourteen year veteran of the club. He has no blemishes on his record and is generally well known as a good member. I have no reason to discredit his testimony. His good record lends weight to his position. He states that all of the players in his match were actively playing. I will give him the slight benefit of the doubt, despite some significant reservations.

In the end, I have to choose what is more likely based on the admittedly incomplete record above. And in the end, though it is an extremely close call, I give the edge to the member. If I had to value the preponderance of the evidence, this would be 51% to 49% in favor of the member.

It may very well be that additional investigation may have resulted in different facts which could have led another way. To that end, the Chamber will redouble its efforts to make sure it is thorough in these matters. But I won't go back after charges have been levied and briefs submitted to try and buttress the prosecution.

Moreover, even if this is a wrong decision, I view the harm as minimal. The exploit has been closed. Those involved were punished administratively with a loss of medals and GMRG progress. At this point, given Seraphol's record and the record before the Chamber, I am satisfied with this result and that, if Seraphol is actually guilty, he has sufficiently learned his lesson even if no LoR is placed on his dossier.

One last item I will comment on: some members will take this decision as meaning that it is as simple as hiding the evidence and denying all charges to escape prosecution. They may even say the other defendants that were prosecuted should have taken their chances. I do not think either of those ideas is true. For example, I said there was a possibility that there was no match falsification here because Seraphol only played in one match and the others could have been referencing other game sessions. The same cannot be said in reverse, where Delak and Turel had multiple suspicious matches. Moreover, the idea of asking for a guilty plea is, at its core, asking a member if he is guilty. They pled guilty. Finally, it is never a good idea to hide the ball from the Chamber during an investigation. Often the coverup is punished harsher than the crime.

Based on the foregoing, I find the Defendant NOT GUILTY. He is INNOCENT of the charge against him.

Signed and sealed in Justice,
Jac Ae-Sequiera Cotelin
Justicar and High Protector of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood

Points of Interest