The Federation Constitution regulates the brand of justice meted out by the United Federation of Planets. The interplanetary organisation takes care to respect the inalienable rights of every member race.
As an interstellar nation governed by a charter of laws and regulations, the United Federation of Planets and its citizens are guaranteed a number of inalienable rights as listed in the Federation Constitution. This historic document, created in 2161, sets out the means by which members of the Federation are to govern. police, and protect their worlds it also provides for a number of important individual civil liberties, such as those listed in the Seventh Guarantee, which protects a Federation cit1zen against self incrimination The Constitution is the concrete foundation on which the greater moral principles of the Federation stand. Foremost among those principles is the right to swift and clear equity; this is spelled out in the wording of the Federation Code of Justice, which promises (along with several other provisions) that all criminal suspects are to be considered innocent of misdeeds until proven guilty, and if proven innocent, are to be set free and absolved of all charges against them.
The Federation's view of what does and does not constitute Justice is quite liberal when compared with for example the greed orientated codes and laws of the Ferengi Alliance, or the bureaucratic nature of the Cardassian judiciary. Cardassia's legal system works from the assumption that any defendant is already guilty, and has no choice but to surrender themselves to predestined magisterial proceedings. Ferengi law, when not concerned with trade legislation and business practices, is flexible to a degree dependent on how much latinum the accused possesses Both of these legislatures govern their societies to greater and lesser degrees, and show a markedly different approach to morality and ethics than the Federation. In a Federation courtroom. the defendant cannot be oppressed because of their weakness, prejudged or allowed to influence the judiciary system It is the rule of law and that alone by which they are judged. Federation law makes provision for a number of levels of legal justice, from the planetary courts and individual laws of its member worlds. up to the higher courts for crimes of great import or interplanetary and interstellar interest These judicial forums include the Federation Grand Jury, a body of independent figures who appraise legal cases to ascertain if indictments are required, and at the highest level, the Federation Supreme Court The Federation encompasses all its citizens under the umbrella of its Justice system, including those serving aboard Starfleet vessels. Military courts therefore follow a model very close to the civilian one, where a court comprises a learned judge, a prosecutor. and council for the defence as well as a jury and an impartial computer
The Federation's laws as wet as its moral and ethical considerations. sometimes come into conflict with diverse alien species who consider them to be invalid or Objectionable. On occasion, Federation citizens under criminal charges are placed on a demand of extradition to a foreign power and the Federation's set laws must be interpreted 1n accordance with the situation at hand. In 2369, on Stardate 46910.
Jadzia Dax a Trill Starfleet officer and Federation citizen, 1s remanded to a Bajoran court on space station Deep Space Nine to answer charges of murder Jadz1a. the then-current host of the Dax symbiont. 1s held responsible for crimes alleged to have been committed by a former host, Curzon Dax stands accused of the murder of General Ardelon Tandro. The partisan Bajoran judgement of the case assists the situation, whereas a Federation court might have inflamed it, but also places the burden of proof squarely on the accused. Later. in 2372, Jadz1a's colleague Chief Miles O'Brien falls victim to an alien judicial system. According to Cardasian law, O'Brien is found guilty of espionage and sentenced to a 20-year virtual reality prison sentence
The wrath of a God
The Federation's consideration of what constitutes justice has come under severe tests on several occasions In 2366, on Stardate 43152. the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D encounter the being known as Kevin Uxbridge, a near omnipotent Douwd life form masquerading as a human and living on Delta Rana IV In a fit of anger, after an attack on the planet by the Husnock that left his human wife Rishon and the other residents dead, the Douwd used his powers to completely annihilate the entire Husnock species. For a crime of such incalculable magnitude. Captain Jean Luc Picard remarks that the Federation has no means by which to judge him - or indeed, by which to enforce any judgement. At other times. the Federation has been faced with brutal crimes that force incarceration, but the sentence of death is morally abhorrent to the nature of the Constitution, except 1n the most extreme cases. Instead. criminals representing a clear and present danger to the Federation are imprisoned 1n secure penal colonies, including Elba II, while less critical prisoners serve their time at such facilities as the New Zealand Penal Settlement on Earth