THE TRIAL CODE
Chapters 90 through 102 of this CODE shall be known as, and may be cited as, the Trial Code.
The primary purpose of Masonic discipline is to preserve the good repute and integrity of the Masonic institution by the prosecution and punishment of a lodge whose acts or omissions tend to injure the Craft as a whole, or of a brother whose acts or omissions tend to injure the Craft as a whole, or which have inflicted injury upon a brother Mason or any other person.
1. Masonic discipline is not intended for the determination and settlement of private disputes whether religious, political, or secular, or of differences growing out of business transactions, unless such differences result from willful action or omission by the accused by means of, or amounting to, fraud or misrepresentation, or amounting to larceny, as defined by the law of the United States, or of the state in which the transaction took place. [43-3.5].
2. Masonic discipline may be applied to conduct prior to the conferring of any degree, especially if such conduct was heinous or involved moral turpitude. [Chapter 86].
The method by which Masonic discipline may be invoked and Masonic offenses prosecuted, tried, and punished shall be regulated by this Trial Code. Prosecutions pending at the time of the adoption of the 1995 General Revision shall continue under the provisions of THE CODE previously in effect. [Chapter 100].
The Grand Lodge shall have original exclusive jurisdiction to try and punish for Masonic offenses all Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts, Master Masons, nonaffiliated and unaffiliated Masons residing or sojourning within its jurisdiction, without reference to the place where the offense was committed, or to the jurisdiction in which they held membership except such cases as are provided for in Chapter 100. [2-6.6; 90-7; 90-8; 91-9.5].
1. The Grand Lodge shall have original exclusive jurisdiction over all controversies between lodges in its jurisdiction, or between a lodge in its jurisdiction and a member of another lodge.
2. The Grand Lodge shall have original exclusive jurisdiction to try and punish for Masonic offenses a member of any of its subordinate lodges residing or sojourning in another grand jurisdiction, provided no disciplinary action has been begun against the member for the same offense in the other jurisdiction.
If an Entered Apprentice or a Fellow Craft, or a Master Mason, who is a member of a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, shall make his residence or establish permanent business in another grand jurisdiction, the lodge nearest such residence or place of business may take penal jurisdiction over him by preferring charges against him before formal accusation for the same offense has been brought against him in this state, and may reprimand, suspend, or expel him, according to its findings and sentence, after due trial has been had in accordance with the laws of the Grand Lodge under which the trial lodge is holden, and shall give to the North Carolina lodge of which the accused was a member prompt notice of the action taken. This privilege shall apply to such grand jurisdictions as shall accord to North Carolina lodges the same rights and privileges over their members who may come to the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge. [101-10].
No subordinate lodge shall try any officer of the Grand Lodge, the Master of any lodge, or any District Deputy Grand Master while he continues to be an officer of the Grand Lodge, or the Master of a lodge, or a District Deputy Grand Master.
2. Any Master of a lodge, any officer of the Grand Lodge or any District Deputy Grand Master who has been removed or suspended from office or whose commission has been revoked or suspended by the Grand Master, shall be amenable to the provisions of the Trial Code in the same manner as any other brother. [13-2.10; 13-3.5; 58-1; 59-5.4; 90-9; 90-12.1].
A Mason excluded, or under suspension, or nonaffiliated may be tried and expelled in the same manner as if he were in good standing. A brother while under the sentence of expulsion cannot be tried. [90-5]
Charges may be preferred against the Grand Master for abuse of his powers, violation of THE CODE or other laws of the Grand Lodge, or for unmasonic conduct, by any five Masters of subordinate lodges of this Grand Jurisdiction, and the charges shall be in writing over their signatures and shall conform to the requirement in Chapter 91 for a complaint. The procedure shall be as provided for in this Trial Code except as follows.
1. The Trial Commission shall consist of seven members, three of whom shall be Past Grand Masters of this jurisdiction, and four shall be Masters or Past Masters, each of the seven having the same qualifications required for a trial commissioner. [91-8].
2. The Grand Secretary shall serve as clerk or secretary to the Trial Commission and shall record the proceedings and judgment, all of which shall be filed in his office and shall be presented at the next annual communication of the Grand Lodge.
4. When deprived of his office by the Trial Commission, or after the expiration of the term of his office, he may be tried for unmasonic conduct under the Trial Code, in the same manner as any other brother. [13-1; 13-4; 90-12.1].
Masonic offenses which subject an individual Mason to trial and punishment are of five kinds which are generally stated as follows:
1. Acts or omissions tending to impair the purity of the Masonic institution, or to cause scandal, or to degrade it in the estimation of the public, or those which are in any way contrary to its principals, teachings, and obligations. [Chapter 86].
2. Any violation of the Constitution, Regulations, laws, rules, or edicts of the Grand Lodge, or failure to observe the same.
3. Disobedience to lawful Masonic authority.
4. Disobedience to process, authorized by any law of Masonry, including this Trial Code.
5. Contemptuous, disrespectful, or provocative language or conduct toward any lawful Masonic authority at a time and place when such authority is acting as such.
Masonic offenses which subject an offending lodge to trial and punishment are of four kinds as follows. [91-6].
1. Departure from the original plan of Masonry and its Ancient Landmarks.
2. Violation of the Constitution, Regulations, laws, rules, or edicts of the Grand Lodge, or a failure to observe the same.
3. Contumacy to the authority of the Grand Master or other authorized brother or to that of the Grand Lodge.
4. Disobedience to process authorized by any law of Masonry including this Trial Code.
1. A prosecution for official misconduct against any Masonic officer may be commenced only during his term of office or within two years after the expiration of the term in which the offense was committed.
Upon receipt of the complaint by the Grand Secretary he shall enter it in a book to be kept for the purpose of giving the complaint a docket number, which series shall begin with No. 1 and continue consecutively. This record shall contain no other details than the following. [23-2; 91-13.6; 95-5.8].
1. The name and mailing address of the complainant, and the name, number, and location of his lodge.
2. The name and mailing address of the accused and the name, number and location of his lodge.
3. Date of complaint.
4. Date received in the office of the Grand Secretary.
5. Final disposition of the case and the date thereof.
6. Date restored to membership.
7. The said book record shall show neither the charges, or specifications, nor the nature of the offense. [23-2].
8. The final judgment in the case and such other details as pertain only to the receipt and transmission of documents in the case by the Grand Secretary.
A Masonic trial shall be the proceeding by which a brother or a particular lodge charged with a Masonic offense is accused and prosecuted before a Trial Commission appointed pursuant to the provisions of this Trial Code, whether or not an issue of law or fact, or both, shall have arisen by reason of an answer interposed by the accused, or it may be a proceeding under Chapter 100 for contempt, or under Regulation 91-13, or under Regulation 91-12.
The date of service of any paper shall be deemed to be the date of the personal delivery thereof, or if it be served by mail, the date of mailing. [91-11].
In computing the time within which an act must be done, the first day shall be excluded and the last day included except where the last day falls on a Sunday or a legal holiday, in which case it shall also be excluded. When an act is required to be done in two days and a Sunday or a legal holiday intervenes, it must also be excluded. [91-11].
Except in the case of the complaint and notice to accused required by Regulations 91-13, 91-9 and 91-12, any paper or notice required by this Trial Code to be served on the accused or any other party to the cause, may be served by ordinary mail on him or on an attorney who has appeared for him or who has been appointed by him. [91-9.6; 94-7].
Words in the singular number include the plural, and in the plural number include the singular. This Trial Code provides for trials of lodges as well as for individuals. In all cases in which one or more lodges are parties, the context of the law may require that the words, he, him, or his, include also the words it and its, and they, them, or their.
A lodge or a Mason interested in or affected by a Masonic controversy, the subject of a Masonic trial, but not a party thereto, may apply to the Judge Advocate at any time before or after judgment, on such notice to the parties to the controversy as the Judge Advocate shall prescribe, for permission to intervene therein and be made a party thereto. [98-4].
1. In the event an application for intervention is granted, the Judge Advocate shall make and file with the Grand Secretary an order to that effect.
2. At the same time he shall serve by mail a copy of his order on all parties to the controversy, the Chairman of the Trial Commission, or on the chairman of the Committee on Appeals.
3. Thereafter the intervener shall be deemed for all purposes a party to the proceedings. [Trial Forms 22, 23, 24].
All unwritten work of Freemasonry shall be omitted from any written document or record in a trial and it shall be given orally at all times whether on trial or on appeal.
In any case in which a profane is involved, his or her name may be given in written documents as John Doe or Mary Doe, as the case may be, and the true name communicated and reported orally to the accused or other party interested in due time.