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Jurisdiction and Structure of Noahide Courts
(11-26-2012, 08:52 AM)amenyahu Wrote: Does the commandment for Dinim ["Judgments"] include the prohibitions against adding commandments and the establishment of a new religion?

The commandment of Dinim includes an obligation for the courts to deal with these general issues, but not as a capital offense, since these foundational prohibitions are not in the category of one of the specific "7 Laws". Therefore:
(1) The courts themselves are subject to these prohibitions, just as individuals are. Thus, a court or a government is also forbidden to add a commandment or establish a new religion for the people who are under its authority.
(2) The court or government may exercise its authority to establish civil laws that prohibit such things as civil matters, but not as capital offenses.
(3) Within their obligation to educate the population about the Noahide Code, the courts should chastise a person who transgresses those foundational prohibitions, and inform the person that he is sinning and liable to death by the hand of G-d.
(4) If a new religion arises which involves transgression of any of the specific "7 Noahide Commandments" (for example, acts of idol worship), those strictly forbidden actions are subject to judgment within commandment of Dinim, if the court system has been empowered to do so.

(11-26-2012, 08:52 AM)amenyahu Wrote: If not, where do those prohibitions come from (are they part of the basic categories of the 7 Commandments)?

Those prohibitions were taught by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai as part of the Noahide Code, within the Oral Torah. Thus, they are recorded and discussed in the Talmud, and that is the source for Rambam including them as precepts for Gentiles in his "Laws of Kings", ch. 10.
In the written Hebrew text of the Torah, these prohibitions are hinted to homiletically in regard to in-depth Torah study that is not related to the Noahide Code (Deut. 33:4), and in regard to establishing a day of "Sabbath"-like rest (Gen. 8:22). By extension this principle applies to any other things that a Gentile might establish for himself as a new religious observance, in the mode of a Divine commandment that is not part of the "7 Laws" (as opposed to what is permitted, which is taking on an action or a mode of conduct as a logical obligation or for a practical benefit - such as giving charity, honoring parents, returning lost objects, etc.).

(11-26-2012, 08:52 AM)amenyahu Wrote: Is there any place for a jury in the commandment for Dinim, in the way that even capital crimes are judged by a jury of peers?

No. Within the Noahide Code, a person on trial should only be judged by one or more experts who are highly trained as judges for the legal system.

(11-26-2012, 08:52 AM)amenyahu Wrote: Is a witness necessary, mandatory to convict of a capital crime? Or is it possible to convict a person of a capital crime only using circumstantial evidence (fingerprints, DNA, witnesses that do NOT see the suspect committing the crime but see other things like the suspect going into the murder house at a certain time or falsifying an alibi, murder weapon, etc)?

If a court is judging as an empowered Noahide court, over a case in which a person is accused of transgressing a capital offense within the Seven Noahide Commandments, the court is *obligated* to apply capital punishment *only* if guilt is established based on the testimony of at least one person who is a valid witness for a capital case (based on the standards for such witnesses within the Noahide Code). The testimony of the valid witness(es) must be investigated with great care and detail by the judge(s) and determined to be truthful. If there is no such valid witness, or his testimony is not upheld or not sufficient under examination, then the court is *permitted* to release the accused person without conviction and without punishment.

(Note: judges who pervert their judgment of guilt or innocence, and witnesses who give false testimony in court regarding one of these capital transgressions, are liable to capital punishment based on the Noahide commandment for Dinim.)

However, if there is only one or more invalid witnesses who can testify against the accused person, or if there are other types of evidence (e.g. fingerprints, video tape, DNA, etc.) that may show that the person is guilty, the court is *permitted* to rule within its authority that it will accept that evidence and use it as a basis for determining if the person is guilty. If he is found guilty in this manner, the court is *permitted* to assign a punishment that is lesser than, or up to and including, capital punishment, to the degree that it is empowered to do so.

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RE: Jurisdiction and Structure of Noahide Courts - by Director Michael - 11-28-2012, 11:28 PM

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