The Judicial System

The judicial system in the city of Bridges is much as you might expect in a city controlled by four crime families.

But how did it come to be this way?

History of the judicial system, post-Coup

After the Alcatraz Coup in 1799 AC (After the Catastrophe), the alliance between the former palace guards and the first Acevedo Spadros continued as a way to bring order to the smoking ruins of Bridges. This had to be done immediately, before the Federal Oversight Authority stepped in to take control of the city.

It’s not exactly clear what deal was brokered, but on October 17, 1799, Xavier Alcatraz was sworn in as first mayor of Bridges. At this point, the Diamond Family already had control of the Prison, and shortly thereafter the Hartmann clan agreed to stop looting in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

At this point, the police, lawyers, and judges (most of whom had fled at the start of the Coup but were unable to leave the city due to the zeppelin station being held by the Clubbs of Justice) were coaxed to return to duty by any means necessary.

Those unwilling to cooperate were blackmailed and/or tortured into compliance, or they were shot. Almost all of those who did re-join were forced to rely on the Spadros and Diamond Families for protection in the early days of the recovery.

And their help was desperately needed if the city was to survive. Gangs roamed the streets taking what they wanted, when they weren’t taking up their old turf disputes. Those in the Pot of Gold who survived the rapine and pillage during the early days after the Coup – many seriously injured – hid in their burnt-out homes, often shooting anyone who approached.

The relatively few wealthy members of Bridges with the foresight (or advance notice) to leave in the early hours of the Coup did the best during this time. Some had summer homes in the countryside, where they brought their considerable wealth to ride out the storm with their servants who survived. These servants, armed and wary, became the basis of the private constabulary, which in later years merged with the police force.

But while the gangs and the Families used the judicial system, they despised the men who took their bribes, calling them weak. Corrupt (or corruptible) men flocked to the police force, seeing it as an easy way to make money. Those who weren’t involved with a powerful gang or Family were sent to the Prison, and the officers, lawyers, and judges involved would all receive kickbacks. This had the added effect of forcing people to choose sides in the gang wars, to apply to the most powerful gangs, find a crime family to pay protection to, or face a knock on the door by the police for some minor infraction.

The people involved in this farce believe they keep the peace, that the current system – especially now that the Four Families have brought stability to Bridges – is best for the city. They protect each other, they protect the Family that pays them, they protect their homes. The keep the "Pot rags" out of the way of their "betters". They survive.

There have always been honest men who have tried to change the judicial system of Bridges. Some have had a few years of success. Most have failed. All eventually died.

Will things change?

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