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THE STATE JUDICIARIES.
690. Vesting the Judicial Power. Every State has a completely developed judicial system. Sometimes the constitution creates all the leading features of the system, sometimes this is partly left to the Legislature. The kinds of courts are very similar in the different States, but the names show many variations. The several kinds will be briefly described.
691. The Justice's Court.-—This has a limited jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases. In Ohio no civil case can originate in this court if the sum in controversy exceeds $300.00. Many States make the limit still smaller. The justice administers penalties, as fines and imprisonment for petty offenses, and binds over for trial in the court above, or commits to jail, persons charged with crimes beyond his jurisdiction. The city police magistrate has a criminal jurisdiction similar to that of the justice of the peace. In some States the justice is appointed by the Governor, but in most he is elected by the town or township.
692. The County Court.—This is sometimes called the Circuit Court, sometimes the Court of Common Pleas, and sometimes by other names. In respect to the amount of business that it does, it is the most prominent court in the system. It has an appellate jurisdiction from the court below, and a wide original jurisdiction both civil and criminal. Some cities have a municipal court of the same grade as the county court, which does for the city what the other does for the county. A few cities have a complete system of courts within themselves. The county and
municipal courts meet, as a rule, four times a year, and so are called Courts of Quarter Sessions in some States.
693. The Probate Court.—This also is a county court. Its principal duties relate to the settlement of the estates of deceased persons. It appoints administrators and guardians, and sometimes has a jurisdiction in condemning property for public use. In some States it issues marriage licenses. Some States have no Probate Court so-called, but intrust probate business to some other tribunal.
694. The Superior Court.-This court is also known by different names.
Sometimes it is called the District Court, sometimes the Circuit Court. The district or circuit includes commonly two or more counties. Sometimes this court is composed of the county judges of the counties embraced in the district or circuit, sometimes of special judges. In some States the supreme judges sit in this court, just as the National justices sit in the National Circuit Court. The Superior Court has an appellate jurisdiction from the county courts, and an original jurisdiction as well. The original jurisdiction of the Circuit Court of Ohio is the same as the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court itself. Some States have still another class of courts intermediate between this one and the Supreme Court.
695. The Supreme Court.-As the name imports, this is properly the highest court of the State. It stands to the State system in the same relation that the Supreme Court at Washington stands to the National system. It sits at certain prescribed times at the State Capital, and in some States at other places. Its original jurisdiction is very narrow, but its appellate jurisdiction is very wide.
In 18 States the Supreme Court consists of 3 judges, in 12 States of 5, in I of 6, in 4 of 7, in 2 of 8, in 1 of 9. Their salaries range from $2,000 in Delaware to $8,000 in Pennsylvania ($8,500 for the Chief Justice).
696. Courts of Appeals.-In several States the Supreme Court in name is not such in fact; there is still a higher court that has been styled “the supremest court. In New York this is called the Court of Appeals, in New
Jersey the Court of Errors and Appeals, and in Kentucky
697. Appointment of Judges.-At first the judges
698. Tenure of Judges.-Early in the history of the Republic, the common rule was during good behavior. Now, the Supreme judges of New Hampshire and Delaware may serve until they are seventy years of
in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the term is life or good behavior; in the other States, the terms vary from two years in Vermont to twenty-one years in Pennsylvania.
699. Officers of Courts.—The constable who serves the processes of the justice's court, the sheriff who serves those of the county, district, and circuit courts, and the clerks of the several courts are commonly elected. The law officers of the several counties, variously called States' attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, and county attorneys, are also elected. It is the business of these officers to look after the legal business of the county, and especially to see that violations of the criminal laws are duly punished. They are also the law-advisers of the county authorities.
700. Jurisdiction. — The jurisdiction of the State courts, in both civil and criminal cases, is co-extensive with the State constitution and laws. Cases arising in these
courts that involve Federal questions may be carried to the National courts, as previously explained; but with this exception, the judiciary of any State is independent, and its determinations are conclusive and final.
701. Trial by Jury. - In discussing the National Judiciary, some remarks have been made concerning this right, so dearly prized by all English-speaking men. The State constitutions and laws differ more or less in details in relation to this subject ; but all of them have preserved the grand features of the jury system first built up in England, and then transplanted to the Colonies in the seventeenth century. Restrictions, limitations, and guarantees similar to those found in the National Constitution and Amendments had been incorporated into the State constitutions before the Convention of 1787 sat, and they are found in all of them to-day.
SUFFRAGE, ELIGIBILITY TO OFFICE, AND ELECTIONS.
702. How Fixed.-Every State regulates the qualifications of voters and office-holders in its constitution and laws, except that Amendment XV. of the National Constitution provides that, as respects voting, no discrimination shall be made on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Formerly, property qualifications were imposed upon the voter; these have now been swept away, Rhode Island, the last State to take such action, having done so in 1888. Several States, however, require the payment of a poll-tax as a condition for voting.
703. Common Rule of Suffrage.--This is what is sometimes called manhood suffrage. That is, the vote is given to every male person twenty-one years of age and upwards, unless he has some prescribed disqualification. These disqualifications are summed up in rules the principal of which are mentioned below.
704. Citizenship.-A majority of the States demand citizenship of the voter. Fifteen States, however, give the suffrage to every male person of foreign birth of the required age who shall have declared his intention to become a citizen a prescribed time before the election at which he offers his vote, the time varying from thirty days to one year. In some States it is given to every male inhabitant of voting age.
705. Residence.-In a majority of the States the citi. zen must have resided in the State a certain time before he can become a voter. This period varies from three months