Imágenes de páginas




3. The Arraignment." — As soon as possible after the defendant is formally charged with the crime, he is arraigned; that is, he is brought into court, the information or indictment is read in his presence, a copy is given him, and he is asked to enter his plea. In reply, he may try to have the information or indictment set aside on technical grounds, or he may plead guilty or not guilty. If the plea is guilty, the court, either immediately or within a few days, pronounces judgment upon him. If the plea is not guilty, the case is tried at once, or a time for the trial is set.

4. The Trial.? — If the crime is a felony, the trial must be by a jury of twelve; if it is a misdemeanor, it must be by a jury of twelve or a smaller number, unless both the prosecution and the defense agree upon a trial by the judge of the court. A trial by the judge consists of the examination of witnesses, the arguments of the attorneys,and the decision as to the guilt or innocence of the accused; a trial by jury consists of the selection of the jury, the examination of witnesses, the arguments of the attorneys, the judge's instructions to the jury, and the verdict. The verdict must be by a unanimous vote of the jury. If the jury fails to agree, the case is as if it had not been tried; a new jury must be selected, and the whole process repeated, unless the court, on motion of the prosecution, dismisses the case.

5. Judgment and Execution. — The judgment is the sentence imposed by the judge. If the crime is a felony, the penalty will be death or imprisonment in one of the state 1 Penal Code, § 976 seq.

Edward M. Hulme 2 Ibid, 1093 seq. 3 Most misdemeanors are tried without juries.

* The accused is always entitled to the assistance of counsel. If he is unable to employ an attorney, the court will appoint one to defend him.

prisons for a definite time; if it is a misdemeanor, the penalty will be a fine, or imprisonment in the county or city jail, or both fine and imprisonment. If a fine is not paid, the defendant is detained in jail, being credited with two dollars a day until the amount is canceled; or if he has property, the sheriff may seize a sufficient amount to


the fine. The execution of any judgment rests with the sheriff or some other peace officer, with the assistance of the prison authorities when necessary.

202. Appeals in Criminal Cases.? — During the progress of a criminal prosecution, the distinction between the law and the fact must be carefully observed. By “the law" is meant all the rules and regulations which the court must follow in securing a jury, in admitting or excluding evidence, in instructing the jury, and in every other stage of the proceeding; by“ the fact " is meant all facts and happenings leading up to or in any way connected with the crime. In case the trial is held without a jury, the judge must, of course, determine the law and the fact; but if it is by jury, the judge determines the law, and the jury the fact. No appeal as to matters of fact may be taken, but if it can be made to appear that the judge has erred in some point of law, an appeal may be taken. An appeal from an inferior court is to the superior court, and from the superior court to the higher state courts. · The court to which the case is appealed may affirm, modify, or reverse the judgment of the lower court. In case of a reversal, it may render such judgment as it sees fit, or may order a new trial. In case

1 For impeachments before the senate, see $ 213; for prosecutions in the superior court to remove from office, see $ 69.

2 Penal Code, § 1235 seq.

: For the points on which the defense may appeal, see § 1237 of the Penal Code; for the points on which the prosecution may appeal, see § 1238.

the superior court orders a new trial, it conducts the trial itself; but a new trial ordered by a higher court is conducted by the court that originally tried the case. Appellate proceedings in a criminal case, like those in a civil suit, are based on the record sent up from the lower court, and consist mainly of an examination of the record and of the arguments of attorneys representing the defendant and the people.

203. The State Courts. — Our state system of courts includes the following:

1. The Senate as a Court of Impeachment.
2. The Supreme Court.
3. The District Courts of Appeal.
4. The Superior Courts.
5. The Inferior Courts.

a. Township Courts.

b. Municipal Courts. We shall consider these courts in their reverse order.

204. The Inferior Courts.? — There are two kinds of inferior courts : township courts, presided over by justices of the peace, and municipal courts, presided over by police judges and “recorders.”

1. Township Courts. — Each county is divided into judicial townships by its board of supervisors, and each township has at least one justice of the peace. Any township may have two justices, if the board of supervisors so determines. Each justice of the peace is elected by his township at the county election for four years and receives, as his compensation, either a definite salary from the


1 See article VI of the state constitution. 2 Code of Civil Procedure, § 103 seq.

3 Los Angeles township, however, has four justices of the peace, and San Francisco has five. San Francisco may be considered as a township.



county treasury, determined by law, or certain fees which the law allows him to collect.1

2. Municipal Courts. — Municipal or police courts are established either by law or by city charters. Fifth and sixth class charters provide for them under the name of recorders' courts. Any freeholders' charter may provide for a police court and many of them do; 2 but cities whose charters make no such provision have city justices' courts, as they are called, established by law. In such cities, the justices of the peace, or police judges, are elected at the county elections for four years.

3. The Jurisdiction of Inferior Courts. — The jurisdiction of a court has reference to the territory in which cases that may be tried by it originate, and to the kinds of cases that it may try. The jurisdiction of our township and police courts is somewhat difficult to understand for two reasons: first, every person living in a city is subject to the jurisdiction of a township court and also of a police court, for every city either constitutes a township, or is part of a township or possibly two; 5 secondly, some police courts are established by city charters and some by state law, and city charters are not uniform as to the powers they confer



1 After 1914 all will receive definite salaries. See section 15, article VI of the constitution.

2 As may be seen in Appendix D, the charter of San Francisco provides for four police judges, and every other charter, which establishes a police court, provides for one judge. In some cities they are elected and in others they are appointed. The term of office is either at the pleasure of the appointing power or for a definite time, usually two or four years.

3 According to the law Los Angeles has five city justices of the peace; Oakland has two; and other cities, whose charters do not provide for police judges, have one each.

* The authority of a court to summon people before it and to issue other "process" extends throughout the state.

5 Part of Oakland is in Oakland township, and part in Brooklyn township, and each of these townships contains additional territory.


upon such courts, and even the law does not give to them the same powers in all cities. Bearing these difficulties in mind, let us consider the jurisdiction of these courts, first in relation to that of the superior court, and second as to the differences between township and police courts.

First, as to the relation between their jurisdiction and that of the superior court. The inferior courts have concurrent jurisdiction with the superior court in two kinds of cases, as set forth in section II, article VI of the constitution. They have no equity jurisdiction, but have exclusive jurisdiction in cases at law in which the amount of money claimed, or the value of the property involved, is less than $300. Such cases are often called petty civil suits. They have exclusive criminal jurisdiction over misdemeanors that are “punishable by fine not exceeding $500, or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment ”; except that in Los Angeles and Oakland, the police courts have jurisdiction over all misdemeanors, whatever their punishment may be.

Second, as to the differences between the jurisdiction of the township and that of the police courts. Township courts always have the jurisdiction indicated in the preceding paragraph in their respective townships outside of incorporated cities.?

1 The police courts in cities of the first and one half class, and in cities of the second class, have greater criminal and less civil jurisdiction than such courts in other cities. Los Angeles is the only city of the first and one half, and Oakland the only city of the second class. This in reality is special legislation in the form of general laws.

2 The criminal jurisdiction of a township court extends throughout the couniy; that is, any case triable in such a court may be tried before any justice of the peace in that county. The civil jurisdiction of a township court is limited to the township, except that its process extends throughout the county. That is, any petty civil suit must be tried in the township in which it arises, but any summons or writ issued by the court may be served or executed in any part of the county.

« AnteriorContinuar »