In the matter of The City-state of New Babbage v Yoyo Underby
Motion before the court to dismiss, based on the status of the alleged victim. Defense counsel claims that under the law, murder charges cannot be brought against the defendant because the law specifically states that the victim must be a human being. The victim, one Pip Steamer, resident of New Babbage was determined medically to be an autonomous self aware construct of uncertain origin.
The issue before the court on its face is a simple one, can you by the letter of the law commit murder if the victim is not a human being. The larger, and thornier, issue that will take up the majority of this decision is how that phrase will be defined. While in the murder chapter itself it makes mention of the words “Human being”, in other places the word “person” is used interchangeably. Persons are granted the power to hold property, to be allowed to be members of juries, to have wrongs redressed in the court, and a myriad of other things that are specifically notated under the law. It is the feeling of this jurist that “person” as described by the law does infer a biological origin, so I feel quite safe in saying that any sentient flesh and blood creature would enjoy that protection under law where denoted as “person” or “human being”. Further study shows that the law does recognize “artificial persons” for the purpose of legal codification, such artificial persons being loosely named as corporations and other business entities. Under your laws, these artificial persons are accorded many of the same rights and privileges as a biological person. The problem before is one that the original framers of the law could not have foreseen, an age of technological wonder that allows creations from the hands of men to rise to a level of being that equals those of the builders. There was a time, under a similar legal structure, that people of one nation said that people who came from another continent were not the same as they were that somehow a place of origin determined who had reason. Thankfully those rulings were struck down, because the measure of a man is far beyond just that of his origin. I have had the opportunity to see some of the wondrous beings that are rightly asking if they are protected under the law, if they have the same fundamental rights as their biological citizens. I can say that in many ways they do, but the law does differentiate between flesh and steel. While the law needs to change the matter before this court must be decided based upon the body of the law as it stands.
The law is specific as to how an artificial person is to be treated, and that they cannot be improperly disbanded or ended. It lays out a specific set of rules that say how the assets of those entities must be disposed of on a legal dissolution. In this matter, it can be said that the victim in this matter was indeed improperly disbanded, and the assets were improperly dissolved.
In this matter, the charge of murder is amended to improper dissolution of a corporate entity, whose assets are less than 20 dollars. The defendant is hereby found guilty, sentence credited to time served, and the fine shall be levied in the sum of 500 Dollars or an equal sum in the local currency to be paid to the city.