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cise of original jurisdiction because the application for the writ is made directly to the higher court, and does not come up on appeal from the superior court. When considering such applications, these courts occasionally summon witnesses before them, - a thing which they never do when hearing cases on appeal, as all necessary facts are then ascertained from the records sent up from the superior courts.
213. The Senate as a Court of Impeachment. — The senate sits as a court of impeachment only on those rare occasions when the assembly decides to impeach some officer whom the constitution declares to be subject to impeachment. When sitting in this capacity, the forty members are to be regarded as constituting a court of forty judges, and not the senate of the state. Their oath of office as senators is not sufficient to cover this duty, and thus they are required to take a special oath when assuming the character of judges of this high court. The concurrence of two thirds of the forty is necessary for a conviction.?
This court has no jurisdiction except in these special cases of impeachment, and a conviction extends only to “ removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit under the state'; but within this limited range, its power is absolute, as there is no appeal from its decision. Even the governor, in the exercise of his pardoning power, cannot set aside or modify such a decision.
1 See sections 17 and 18 of article IV.
2 In 1857 Henry Bates, state treasurer, was impeached and convicted, but resigned before the trial was concluded. In the same year George W. Whitman, state controller, was impeached, but was acquitted. In 1862 James W. Hardy, one of the district judges of the state, was impeached, convicted, and removed from office. See Hittell's History of California, Vol. IV, pages 199, 300, 431.
These are the only cases of impeachment that have arisen in California, although on several occasions the assembly has considered charges against certain judges without taking action. This method of removing men from office served a useful purpose in England long ago in rendering the king's ministers responsible to the representatives of the people; but it is of almost no practical value in our country. A state legislature is a political body, and has neither the time nor the temperament to exercise judicial functions properly,
214. Miscellaneous Matters. — Judges of the supreme court, district courts of appeal, and superior courts may be removed in three ways: by impeachment, by a concurrent resolution of both houses of the legislature adopted in each house by a two-thirds vote, and by the people through the recall. Judges of the inferior courts may be removed by the people, or by the superior court if convicted of “ willful or corrupt misconduct ” in office.
The supreme court, district courts of appeal, and superior courts are called
courts of record.” Until within comparatively recent times, inferior courts did not keep complete records of their proceedings, and were said to be courts “not of record.” They are still so classed, although they now keep complete records. This classification is thus of little practical importance and would not be referred to here except for the fact that it is mentioned in the constitution.
The records of a court are public records. They consist of a court docket in which is entered the title of each case, the date of its commencement, a statement of every subsequent proceeding, and of all fees charged; a complete statement, or a synopsis, of every order, judgment, or decree of the court; and a complete set of indexes.
The written decisions of the supreme court and of the district courts of appeal are compiled by the official reporter appointed for the purpose, and are printed under his supervision. With the approval of the secretary of state and the attorney-general, he awards the contract for the printing to the firm which agrees to print the decisions according to specifications and sell the bound volumes at the lowest price, not exceeding four dollars per volume. Three hundred copies of each volume are purchased by the secretary of state to be distributed to certain officers and libraries as prescribed by law. There were, in October, 1913, 164 volumes of supreme court decisions running back to 1850; and 19 volumes of the decisions of
the district courts of appeal, running back to 1905, the date of the organization of these courts. Each volume contains something more than 700 pages. Many references are made to these volumes in this book. (For example see page 300.)
Any person wishing to practice law before the courts of this state must first obtain a certificate from one of the district courts of appeal. Such certificates are granted on the presentation of similar certificates from other states, and on examination.
The power of the courts is so extensive that our liberties would be endangered if they acted in an arbitrary manner. It is therefore essential that they act at all times according to established laws, rules, and customs, rather than according to the opinions and impulses of individual judges. The judges realize this to a greater extent than their fellow citizens, and it has sometimes seemed as if they were more concerned about the observance of technical rules of procedure than the rendering of justice. This has been especially true in criminal proceedings, because the courts feel that they should be unusually guarded and temperate when they have in their keeping the lives and liberties of men. They have therefore permitted a good many criminals to escape punishment on mere technical points of law. For this reason the voters of California at the special election in 1911 adopted an amendment to the constitution which is intended to prevent such miscarriages of justice. (See section 42, article VI.)
The power of the courts to declare laws and local ordinances null and void when they are shown to be inconsistent with any part of the national or state constitution is well established. This makes the courts the guardians of the people's will, as expressed in their fundamental laws, against any governmental agency which knowingly or inadvertently attempts to put any contrary principle into operation. This is their highest function and constitutes the greatest element of their power.
1. What is the purpose of the courts?
“A” steals from “ B,” why are the people ” injured ? 3. What function has a jury in a civil suit? How many persons constitute such a jury? How many must concur in the verdict ?
4. What is a crime? Is all lawbreaking crime? 5. What is bail? Why is it granted? When is it not granted ?
6. When is a person said to be prosecuted by indictment? By infr mation? What is the difference?
7. What are the advantages of secret sessions of the grand jury?
8. How are grand and trial. juries impaneled? What is a talesman?
A juror ? 9. What is meant by the process of a court?
10. What two kinds of misdemeanors are mentioned in this chapter? What is a felony?
11. What is meant by the jurisdiction of a court ?
13. In what sense is the senate as a court of impeachment our highest state court ?
14. Under what conditions may a case be appealed from the state supreme court to the national supreme court ?
THE CONSTITUTION OF CALIFORNIA
215. The Making of the Constitution. -- Our present constitution was adopted in 1879. Dissatisfaction with the constitution of 1849 was due, in large measure, to the hard times that prevailed after the financial panic of 1873. Many people believed that they were due to extortion on the part of the railroads and to the presence of large numbers of Chinese laborers in California. The demand for the regulation of the railroads became very insistent, especially in the rural districts, where the grangers had a powerful organization. The sentiment against the Chinese was strongest in the cities, where large numbers of men were unemployed. The old constitution had been adopted before either of these problems arose, and all discontented elements, believing that they could be solved only by changing the fundamental law, united in demanding a new constitution. The legislature of 1876, by the necessary two-thirds vote, decided to submit to the voters the proposition of calling a constitutional convention. The proposition was approved by a small majority of the voters, and the legislature of 1878 passed an act providing for the convention.
Times became even harder between 1876 and 1878, and the discontent increased. In 1877 the Workingman's Party was formed in San Francisco, and soon spread to other cities. This new party elected 51 of the 152 delegates