City Of Mists: Introduction
Modern City Of Mists is a bureaucratic oligarchy with a tangle of vague and arbitrary laws.
Formally, all the laws should be issues by a legislative assembly—a body composed of "respected citizens", elected by and from the population of the island's citizens. The last legislative assembly gathered during the Presidential Crisis Of The 1958, when the military officers forced the president to convene the assembly using the restrictive criteria favoring the military and their allies as delegates, and resign. The puppet assembly "temporarily" reformed the ministries into Departments headed by newly instituted Commissars, and gave them an array of special prerogatives, including the right to issue executive orders that had the binding legal power of laws issues by the assembly itself, until reviewed by the assembly, canceled by the Commissar, or vetoed by two other Commissars. The commissars are restricted to issuing executive orders concerning only their own department's scope of activity but there are certain overlaps between various departments...
The legal mess could be cleaned by legislative assembly... But it has to be convened by the president, a function currently vacant. In theory any commissar could issue an executive order initiating the presidential election but of course any two commissars could veto it.
Many of the laws, including both the old official legislation and later commissioners' orders are deliberately open and relying on the judgment call of a magistrates or officers of the state involved in application of the law—including the option of not prosecuting a criminal action. The decisions of not prosecuting a crime does not shield a offender from being persecuted by another magistrate or officer of the state of the same or higher rank and right competences.
Majority of the residents are foreign nationals. There is also a very large number of stateless people here. Local citizenship is hard to receive, allowing for purchase of land on the island, voting in presidential and legislative assembly elections, and being elected for either. Citizens can't be arrested without warrant or by officer of the state witnessing them committing a crime. Non-citizens can be arrested without warrant and kept in jail for seven days, but they have the right to contact their legal representative immediately and inform a single person of their arrest after they are processed through the system. Employees of major corporations having their bureaus in the city can count on the leniency of the local law in most cases, going away with anything less than murder, bodily assault against officer of the state, or a crime against their own or another of the local corporations or their employees.
There is a single prison on the island but it is used sparsely. The current laws favor high fines and expulsion of non-citizens guilty of serious crimes. Expelled individuals can't return for one or more years, depending upon specific sentence. Death penalty is formally legal, but currently only mass murder could warrant such sentence. This does not prevent law enforcement from being "less than careful" when apprehending criminals they would deem worthy of execution.
Most vices are not prohibited in the City Of The Mists: prostitution, gambling, alcohol, brutal sports. Narcotics were legal in the past, until USA pressed the local government in early nineties to ban them, partly because of number of USA citizens visiting the island to acquire drugs, and partly because of the drug trade passing through the city. The legislation banning the narcotics was mostly nominal, though—possession of narcotics is subject to forfeiture of the illegal substance, subject to destruction by apprehending law enforcement officer, and possibly fine if, in the officer's sole judgment, the narcotics were intended for sale. The new legislation did little to reduce amount of drugs flowing through the city, except for filling pockets of low and medium rank law enforcement and custom officers.
There is no statutory age of consent. The law makes it up to the court to estimate emotional maturity of the minor and circumstances of sexual contact with one in case of complaint, but due to international pressure, sexual contacts of adults with minors less than thirteen years old are always prosecuted.
Any non-military grade weapons can be owned and kept at homes. Carrying a concealed handgun around the city requires a permit issued by one of the departments—a quick formality involving a yearly fee (citizens are exempt from the fee). Open carry is frowned upon as a breach of public peace and might end with fine or forfeiture of the offending weapon if the owner of the weapon is unable or unwilling to conceal the weapon. Rifles and shotguns formally can't be carried around the city, but there is an exception for carrying them between home, firing range, and weapon shops, unloaded. Corporate security forces can bear long arms on corporate premises according to individual deals between their corporations and the council.
Using a gun while committing a crime is a sure way of attracting heavily armed response from officers of the state, including military gendarmes, and corporate security forces.