Beginning. When a person wishes to bring a civil action in a justice's court, he delivers, to the justice of the peace, a statement of his cause of action. The statement may be very brief. If he sues on a promissory note he may deliver the note, or the statement may say that it is on a promissory note, giving its date and amount and when due. If it is for money, but not on a note, the statement states the amount of money that is due and when due. The person who sues is called a plaintiff and the person sued is the defendant.

   The Summons. The justice then writes a notice to the person sued. The notice is called a summons and states who sues, for what and for what amount, and what date the defendant must be in court to answer. The summons is delivered to the constable who delivers a copy to the defendant, and reports in writing, what he has done, to the justice. If the defendant has a defense to the action, that is, if he thinks that he ought not to pay all the claim of the plaintiff, or a portion of it, he will be at the court at the time set. If both parties are ready for trial at the day set, the trial may then be had. If either one is not ready, he may have the case adjourned for thirty days, or less, by making a proper affidavit. A day is then set for trial and each party gets ready.

   Jury. Either party may demand a jury. If one does, the justice writes down the names of eighteen vot-





ers of the county, and each party strikes off six names. There are then six names left, and the justice sends a notice to each of the six men named, to come to his court, on a day named, to sit as a juror. The constable reads this notice to each one.

   Subpoena. If either party wants any witnesses, the justice writes a notice to each witness wanted, requiring him to come to the court and testify in the case. This notice is called a subpoena, and is delivered by the constable. Subpoena means "under penalty." The notice requires the witness to come to court, under penalty of the law.

   Trial. When the day that was set for the trial comes, the six jurors are sworn to render an impartial and just verdict, and the witnesses are sworn to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Usually each party has a lawyer, who does his talking to the court, witnesses and jury for him.
   The plaintiff, or his attorney, then tells the jury what he expects to prove, and examines his witnesses concerning the matter in issue, and the defendant follows in the same way with his statement to the jury, and his examination of his witnesses. After a party has examined a witness for himself, the other party may also examine him to see if he will tell the same story under a different set of questions, and to find out if he has told all he knows about the case. It often happens during a trial that one party will try to have a witness tell things that do not have anything to do with the case, or to tell what outside parties have told him. As it is not right that he should do either, the justice of the peace, when appealed to by the other party, will stop the witness and exclude such testimony. After the witnesses have told their facts, the parties, or their lawyers, make arguments to the jury and may repeat the testimony of the witnesses, and show its goodness or badness, and may read the law to the jury.




   Verdict of the Jury. The jury are then placed in charge of a constable and sent into another room where they decide what kind of a verdict they will give. The jury may find that the plaintiff is right; it may decide the defendant to be right, or it may decide that both are partly right. When the jury decides, that decision is written out and is signed by one of the jury, as foreman, and brought into court. It is then read and entered in the justice's book, and the justice of the peace renders judgment. The party that is beaten has to pay the costs; that is, the fees of the justice, the constable, the witnesses and the jurors. If the defeated party does not like the judgment of the court, he may appeal to the district court, by giving a bond that, if beaten there, he will pay the judgment.

   Execution. If he does not appeal nor pay the judgement, the justice issues an order to the constable to seize and sell the personal property of the defeated person, and from the proceeds of that sale to pay the judgment and costs. This order is called an execution--because it executes the judgment of the court.


   In the county court, when the action is within the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace, the manner of proceeding is about like that already described in actions before a justice. In cases that are larger, the proceedings are more like those in the district court, which will be described in the next paragraph. The sheriff, or his deputy or any constable, may serve papers for the county court and may execute its judgments, in the same manner that constables do in justices' courts.


   In this court the proceedings are more dignified, and proceed with more decorum and mechanism than in the




county court or justices' courts. They are similar in character, but more deliberate. The court has a term at stated intervals; in most of the counties there are two terms a year--some counties have more, and some less.

   Beginning. In this court, the plaintiff begins the action by writing out the matter of his claim or complaint, in detail and with all the particulars, and swearing to its facts. This paper is called the "petition," because it is a request to the court for a judgment. The petition may be delivered to the clerk of the court, at any time, who thereupon issues a summons to the defendant, as the justices do, stating who sues, the nature and amount of the claim, and when the defendant must appear and answer. Unless a party to a suit is a lawyer, it is seldom that any one conducts his case, either as plaintiff or defendant, in person. Usually all the papers are prepared by a lawyer, who acts for the party both in preparing for trial and in the trial.

   Defense. As in justices' courts, if the defendant admits the claim of the plaintiff, the plaintiff takes judgment from the court, by proving his claim. But, if the defendant does not agree that the claim of plaintiff is just, he comes to the office of the clerk, or into court, and files his answer.
   (There are motions and demurrers that each party may file, but an explanation of them is unnecessary in this manual, as is also a description of their use. They belong to the technical machinery of the courts and are fully understood by the profession, only.)
   In his answer, the defendant may deny the truth of each statement of fact in the petition, or may deny any one fact therein, or more than one. The case then goes to trial to ascertain if the statements of fact are true or not.

   Counter Claim. If the defendant has a claim against the plaintiff that grows out of the matter of the




suit, or that arises out of any contract between the parties, he may set up that in his answer, and do it as fully and in detail as though he were suing on that claim. As to the counter claim, the defendant becomes the plaintiff, and the plaintiff becomes the defendant. The plaintiff in the action must answer the counter claim just as he would have to do if he were sued upon it. He may deny it all, or a portion of it, or he may set up a claim counter to that. When the parties are through with their answers, they are ready for trial.
   Parties prepare for trial in this court just as they do in the inferior courts. The clerk issues, and the sheriff serves, subpoenas for witnesses that are asked for by either party.

   The Jury. A few weeks before each session of the district court, the county board selects a list of sixty jurors for that term. The jurors must possess the qualifications of voters, and must be of sound mind and discretion.

   Exemptions. The following classes of persons are exempt from jury service:
   1.  Judges of the supreme court.
   2.  Judges of the district court.
   3.  Judges of the county court.
   4.  Sheriffs.
   5.  Coroners.
   6.  Jailers.
   7.  Those possessing a bodily infirmity amounting to a disability for that service.
   8.  Persons convicted of a penitentiary offense.
   9.  Persons over sixty years of age. When persons reach that age they are presumed to come under the terms of No. 7, without proof.
   10. Ministers of the gospel.
   11. County commissioners and supervisors.
   12. Licensed attorneys.




   13. Practicing physicians.
   14. Postmasters and mail carriers.
   15. Persons in the active militia.
   16. Members of fire companies.
   17. No person can be compelled, nor will be permitted, to serve on a jury in this court more than one term in two years.

   These sixty names must be distributed among the precincts or townships of the county in the proportion of their voters. This list is delivered to the clerk of the district court. At a reasonable time before each term of the court, the clerk and the sheriff select from this list, by lot, twenty-four names as a petit jury. The persons whose names are drawn are duly notified by the sheriff of their selection and of the time when they must attend the court. When so ordered by the judge of the district court a grand jury of sixteen is drawn at the same time.
   At the opening of each term of the court, these petit jurors are called, are put upon oath and questioned as to their competency to serve as jurors, and as to any excuse which they may have for not serving. Those found to be incompetent, or to have a good excuse, are excused by the court, and the sheriff fills their places in the panel, by calling others from the attendants at court, or he may go out into the body of the county and call other voters. These twenty-four names are written, by the clerk, each on a separate piece of paper, and placed in a covered box. When a case is called for trial, be draws from the box twelve names for a jury for that case.

   Examination of the jury. When these twelve men are placed in their seats they are sworn to answer truly all questions that may be put to them. Each party then states to the jury what the case is about and so much of its details as he chooses. Then he examines each juror as to his knowledge of the facts of the case, and whether




he has formed or expressed an opinion concerning it. Those who have formed and expressed an opinion about the facts of the case are not allowed to sit at the trial.

   Challenging jurors. When the parties have finished the examination of the jury, each party is allowed to challenge three jurors, and to have them excused from service, without giving any reason. This is called a "peremptory challenge." This is allowed in order to meet cases of prejudice against a party by any of the jurors, and yet whose answers are such that be cannot be challenged for any statutory cause. Where a juror is excused under a challenge either for cause, or without cause, the clerk draws another name from the box and the person whose name is so drawn is subjected to the same inquisition as were the others. If the whole twenty-four names are exhausted, the sheriff calls others in the same manner that be filled the regular panel.

   The Trial. When the jury is formed it is sworn to give a just and impartial verdict. The parties then usually make statements to the jury, giving the facts in as great detail as they choose, enough to give the jury some idea of the issues. The plaintiff then produces his witnesses and examines them and the defendant cross-examines. The defendant's witnesses are then called and examined in the same way. The attorneys then make their arguments to the jury. The court charges the jury in writing; that is, states to the jury the law bearing on the case, and directs it as to its duty. The jury retires to a room in charge of an officer. The process is the same as that described in trials in justices' courts. The verdict of the jury is recorded by the clerk and the judgment of the court usually follows the verdict. In some cases the court may set aside the verdict and grant a new trial, but this is not often done.
   Parties who are dissatisfied with the verdict of a jury




and the judgment of the court may transfer the case to the supreme court in one of the methods already stated.
   (There are other proceedings in the district court, which do not require a jury, in which the court makes orders affecting property or persons, but these are of no particular interest to any but lawyers or officers of the courts, and need not be described here.)


   In either appeal, or writ of error, to this court, the party takes all the testimony and all the papers in the case, in order to show the supreme court that the district court has committed an error in interpreting the law, or in applying it so that he has been deprived of justice. For this purpose, he shows to the court the law, and the facts as shown by the testimony and the papers. The only trial in this court is the arguments of the attorneys and the examination of the papers and the law by the judges. Both parties, of course, are heard here, as they always are in all courts. After arguments of the attorneys and the examination of the papers and the law by the judges, the court renders its judgment. The opinion that accompanies the judgment is published in the reports of the court.
   It has been stated, already, that this court has original jurisdiction of five kinds of cases; that is, that these cases may be begun in the supreme court, and need not go through the district court. See page 113. In some of these cases the parties may have a jury. In all these cases, the proceedings are the same as are ordinary cases in the district courts.


   1. How is an action begun before justices of the peace?
   2. What is a summons and how is it used?
   3. How is a jury obtained?
   4. What is a subpoena?




   5.  Describe the trial.
   6.  What is said about the verdict of a jury? and the judgment?
   7.  What about appeal? about execution?
   8.  What is said about actions in the county courts?
   9.  What is the difference between proceedings in district courts and those in county courts?
   10. How are actions begun in the district court?
   11. What is said about the defense?
   12. What may the answer state?
   13. What is said about the counter-claim?
   14. Who selects the jury?
   15. Who are exempt from service on a jury?
   16. How is the jury for a term selected and obtained?
   17. What is said about the examination of the jury?
   18. What challenges of jurors are allowed and why?
   19. Describe the trial?
   20. What is said about appeal and other proceedings?
   21. Describe the method of procedure in the supreme court in ordinary cases.
   22. How are the cases tried that may be brought directly to this court?


   Police Courts. This court tries persons charged with violating the ordinances of the city. When a person is suspected, or known, to have violated an ordinance, a police officer, or any other person who knows the facts, makes a complaint in writing, and under oath, to the police judge. The complaint sets forth the crime committed, and the person suspected, or known, to have committed it, and the time and place of its commission. The police judge then issues a warrant; that is, a paper setting out the facts stated in the complaint, and directing the officer to arrest the person named, and bring him into the court. When the person is in court, the complaint is read to him and he is asked if he is guilty or not guilty, and this is called an arraignment. If he answers "guilty," he is fined or imprisoned, or both, as the ordi-




nance directs. The fine cannot be more than one hundred dollars, nor the imprisonment more than three months. Most of the cities also provide that, for some offenses, the prisoner may be sentenced to labor on the streets. If the prisoner pleads "not guilty," the case goes to trial very much as the civil cases do, as already described in justices' courts. A jury of six men may be called, or the case may be tried by the police judge, and the prisoner be convicted and sentenced, or acquitted.
   All offenses against the state laws, and committed inside the limits of the city, may be heard, in the same manner, and to the same effect that such cases are heard by justices of the peace.

   Justices of the Peace. A crime under the state laws, and for which the punishment cannot be more than a fine of one hundred dollars, and an imprisonment for three months, is triable in justices' courts. Complaint is made to a justice of the peace, in the manner and form described in cases before the police judge. The warrant is served by a constable or sheriff, and the accused is brought into court and arraigned. The process is the same as that already described in police courts.
   If the crime of which the person is accused is beyond the jurisdiction of the justice; that is, if the punishment may be more than a fine of one hundred dollars, and an imprisonment beyond three months, the justice hears all the testimony that may be offered by the state and by the prisoner. If the testimony shows that the accused is innocent, he is discharged. But if the testimony shows that the crime has been committed and that it is probable that the accused committed it, the justice binds him over to the district court. The justice fixes the amount of the bond, and if the accused can procure a bond in the amount named, signed by responsible persons, providing that he will appear at the next term of court to




answer the complaint and abide its judgment, then he may go at liberty till that time. If he cannot procure such a bond, the sheriff takes him to jail until the meeting of the district court. The amount of the bond is usually high enough so that the accused will be bound to stay. If he runs away, the men who sign his bond, have to pay the amount named in the bond, to the state.
   Appeals. Persons who are convicted in police courts or in justices' courts, of any crime, within the jurisdiction of that court, may appeal to the district court by giving a proper bond, very much as parties in civil cases may appeal.
   The County Court has jurisdiction in criminal cases where the punishment cannot exceed imprisonment six months, and a fine of five hundred dollars. The proceedings in this court are the same as those taken in justices' courts, and appeals are taken in the same way as from justices.


   Grand Jury. We have already seen how juries are drawn. At the beginning of the session the persons who are drawn as grand jurors are sworn to examine into crimes committed within the county, and to make charges against those who are believed to be guilty. This body consists of sixteen voters of the county. It has a room by itself, one of its members is its foreman and another is its clerk. The grand jury hears all the evidence against the prisoner that is produced. This evidence is obtained by means of subpoenas issued by the clerk of the court, and served by the sheriff as described in civil trials. These witnesses are found by persons who have been damaged by the crime, or by any one interested in the punishment of crime.

   Indictment. When twelve of the grand jurors are satisfied from the testimony that a person is guilty of a crime, they. so vote. The prosecuting attorney then




draws up the indictment; this is a paper, formally charging the crime in all its particulars. This indictment is signed by the foreman of the grand jury. If the prisoner has had a preliminary examination before a justice of the peace, or a police judge, or judge of the county court, he is already in court, and does not have to be arrested. If not, the clerk issues a warrant for the arrest of the person indicted, and the sheriff makes the arrest, it the accused can be found.

   Information. Unless the judge of the district court orders a grand jury, the prosecuting attorney files an information, in similar form to an indictment, and the accused is tried upon that information. When there is no grand jury, the accused must have a hearing before a justice of the peace or other magistrate before he can be tried on the information of the prosecuting attorney. In this way, the prosecuting attorney may find out if the accused has any valid defense; and if he has, the public may be saved the expense of a trial.

   Arraignment. The prisoner must be supplied with a copy of the indictment, or information, at least twenty-four hours before he can be tried, and must have time to consult with a lawyer, and to send for his witnesses. Before the trial, the accused is arraigned. He may plead "guilty" or "not guilty," or he may stand mute, in which last case the court directs that a plea of "not guilty" be recorded for him, and the case goes to trial.

   The Jury. The process of selecting the jury is the same as that in civil cases, except that the accused is allowed more challenges without cause than the state is; about twice as many. This is done on the theory that most people are anxious to punish criminals, and that a large class is so thoughtless as to take it for granted that a person is guilty when the grand jury has indicted him. This feeling is always prejudicial to a person accused, and he should have the right to challenge such men.




It is doubtful if this theory has any foundation in fact. Many lawyers think that the sympathies of most people lead them to be favorable to persons accused of crime.

   The Trial. The trial is conducted in much the same manner as other cases in this court. The verdict of the jury is recorded and the sentence of the court pronounced. The prisoner must be present in court, in person, while any of the proceedings is had, and all witnesses against him must testify in his presence.


   All persons convicted in the district court have a right to appeal to the supreme court, and to have every process of indictment and trial examined by that court. During the trial in this court, the sentence of the district court is suspended. The papers and testimony go up to this court and the trial is the same as in civil cases.


   The Impeachment. Any member of either house of the legislature has a right to present a resolution to impeach any state officer. When such a resolution is presented, that house at once notifies the other house of the fact, and a time is set for both houses to meet in joint session, to consider the resolution. The time must be within three days of the notice. A majority of all the members elected to both houses is required to pass a resolution of impeachment.

   The Court. When a member of the supreme court is impeached, the secretary of state notifies the judge of the district court in whose district the capital is located, and that judge notifies all the judges of the district court of the state, to meet at the capitol within thirty days. When assembled, these judges constitute the court of impeachment, and elect one of their number to preside.
   If any state officer, other than a member of the supreme court, is impeached, the supreme court constitutes the




trial court, and the chief justice receives the notice from the secretary of state, and is the presiding judge.
   The clerk of the supreme court is clerk of the court of impeachment, and records its proceedings. The court may also appoint a short-hand reporter. The decisions of the court are published in the reports.

   The Trial. The trial proceeds without a jury in about the same manner as does a criminal trial in the district court.
   A person cannot escape impeachment by resigning his office, or by the expiration of his term of office.
   In case of conviction by the court, the sentence must be removal from office, if he still holds the office; or disqualification to hold any office of honor, profit or trust in the state, or both removal and disqualification.
   The business of this court is considered to be so important that, whenever it interferes with the sessions of any other court, everything else must give way to it.


   1.  Describe the proceedings of a criminal trial in a police court.
   2.  What jurisdiction have police judges?
   3.  Describe trials before justices of the peace.
   4.  What is said about hearing cases in justices' courts that are above the jurisdiction of the justices?
   5.  What about appeals?
   6.  What is said about the grand jury In the district court?
   7.  What is the indictment and how obtained?
   8.  Describe the arraignment.
   9.  What is said about the selection of the jury?
   10. Why does the accused have more peremptory challenges than the state?
   11. How is the trial conducted?
   12. May convicted persons appeal, and to what court?
   13. What is the method of trial in the supreme court?
   14. Who may impeach an officer?
   15. Describe the method of impeachment.
   16. Who constitute the court of impeachment?
   17. How is the trial conducted?


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