CoJ Case 058
DB vs Arvalis Raith was the fifty-eighth case tried by the Chamber of Justice. The sitting Justicar was Jac Cotelin, the Left Hand of Justice was Turel Sorenn, and the Right Hand of Justice was Dacien Victae.
Basic Case Information
- Count 1 - Plagiarism - Plea of Guilty
- Count 2 - Cheating - Plea of Guilty
- GUILTY as to both counts
- Letter of Reprimand
- 3 Months Strict Probation + 3 Months General Probation (Consecutive)
- 3 Month Ban on Placement in Graphics Competitions (Participation still allowed)
- Disqualification from Art 4 Arx competitions
Related News Post
Members of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood -
The Chamber of Justice has convened and issued a verdict in the pending case of DB v. Arvalis Raith. The case involved two charges of plagiarism and two charges of cheating. The Chamber has worked with the member towards obtaining a confession to the charges as permitted by the Covenant. A detailed confession statement and Justicar Opinion for the case can be found in the PDF file linked below. Please note that the written opinion is generally found on the page after announcement of the verdict. I have taken some time to write a detailed account of how confessions work in the CoJ under the revised Covenant as this is the first chance we've had to put it to use. Please familiarize yourself with the process.
The confessed verdict was as follows:
Case #058 - DB v. Arvalis Raith - Opinion PDF
- Count 1 - Plagiarism - Guilty Confession
- Count 2 - Cheating - Guilty Confession
- Verdict - GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS
- Punishment: Letter of Reprimand; Strict Probation for 3 months followed by 3 months General Probation; Disqualification from Art 4 Arx competitions; Ban on placement in graphics competitions for 3 months (may still participate).
Comments on CoJ posts are left open for positive comments and words of encouragement to a member that has just gone through this hard process. Please be kind.
Signed and sealed in Justice,
Jac Ae-Sequiera Cotelin
Justicar and High Protector of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood
Arvalis Raith was set to be charged with knowingly and falsely claiming to have created two images that he submitted for credit in the Art 4 Arx competitions. When he submitted the images, he included the following statements with the entries:
Inspiration: Peruvian Andes & Guild Wars ‘Shiverpeaks’
Wanted to draw an Imperial-style base that would be built into the mountain with a suspended overhang jutting out, but I couldn’t get the geometry down.
The Sephulchrum - based on Fethiye’s Lycian Rock Tombs (Turkey) and the Valley of Kings (Egypt)
Neither entry explained that these images had originally been created by other people, and that he had photo-manipulated the originals rather than creating them from scratch. The member’s statements that the images were inspired by real world locations strongly implied that he had created them. Upon investigation, the original images were identified as “base ‘mountain’” (https://pierrick.deviantart.com/art/base-mountain-48179077) and “070” (https://wanbao.deviantart.com/art/070-697525714), created by two separate artists on DeviantArt.
The member’s failure to properly credit the original artists, while representing these pieces as his work, constitutes plagiarism. Submitting the plagiarized images for credit in an official Dark Brotherhood competition constitutes cheating. The Chamber made note that these images were submitted to a Brotherhood-wide competition, and, had they been selected, would have been used on official Brotherhood mediums as representative images. That fact made the act of plagiarism more substantial in the eyes of the Chamber. It should be noted that the mere failure to attribute credit in a competition submission would not always result in a plagiarism finding. Sometimes members make mistakes and fail to give proper credit to a source. In this instance, however, the statements that the images were inspired by real-world locations seemed calculated to make the event organizers believe that these were originals by the member, and that this was no simple mistake.
This is the first case since the adoption of the revised Covenant in which the Chamber had an opportunity to present the concept of a confession to a member. The procedure for seeking a confession was added to the Covenant as a way of reducing the administrative burdens on the Chamber in cases where the member was admitting fault, and to allow the Chamber leeway in establishing a punishment for a member that realized they made a mistake and admitted to it. That situation was clearly presented when Left Hand discussed the matter with the member.
In real life, there is sometimes a concept of a “plea bargain,” in which a criminal defendant agrees to confess in exchange for a lesser penalty. I write to explain that the confession system in the Covenant is explicitly NOT a plea bargain system. We are not in the business of extracting guilty pleas from members simply to save time and effort. The Chamber goes to great lengths to ensure that it brings cases where there is little doubt about the member’s guilt, and we are not going to bargain with a member’s career if there is a chance that the member is innocent. That is to say, we are not trying to force a member into a confession if that member would not otherwise confess.
I want to be clear about this issue, because to me there is a difference between the statements “If you don’t confess, the Chamber will throw the book at you,” and “If you admit what you did and atone for it, the Chamber may lessen the burden of the punishment.” In the former, the Chamber could be considered as punishing a member more for not confessing. In the later, we are indicating to the member that we have a baseline set of penalties for certain convictions, set over time through precedent and rulings, and that if the member admits fault and atones, we will consider lessening that sentence. The Chamber, to be sure, is under no obligation to offer a lesser sentence, but it will likely come in most cases. In addition, under no circumstances will the Chamber ever inflate the initial charges in order to entice a settlement to a lesser charge. The purpose of these provisions is to reduce the pain and burden of a Chamber of Justice case, with the end goal of preserving the member’s position in the club while still serving justice. Precedent for the charges set forth above would normally result in a demotion. However, in light of this being the member’s first charge over the course of an 11-year career, and the fact that he was sorrowful of what occurred, the Chamber indicated to the member that a confession would result in a penalty without demotion. The member accepted that proposition. I would note that Arvalis showed what I consider to be true remorse; I think he is embarrassed and regrets this happened. As always, we take no pleasure in bringing these cases, but it is necessary to preserve the integrity of our systems. This confession procedure is one that will help the Chamber in the long run from wasting resources and time, and it will help the accused members avoid embarrassment and a long trial process. If carefully administered, the confession system will be a great asset, but the Chamber must always be careful of its approach to settlement, as it can be easily abused or, at least, have the appearance of abuse.
/s/ Jac Cotelin
Points of Interest
This was the first instance of a Section 7.03e being put into use in a Chamber of Justice proceeding. The Justicar saw that there was clear remorse from the defendant and approached the sentence thusly.