CONSTITUTION OF 1861


ARTICLE V

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

 

Section 1. The judicial power of this State shall be vested in one Supreme Court, Circuit Courts to be held in each county in the State, and such inferior courts of law and equity, to consist of not more than five members, as the General Assembly may, from time to time, direct, ordain and establish.

Section 2. The Supreme Court, except in cases otherwise directed by this Constitution, shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be co-extensive with the State, under such restrictions and regulations, not repugnant to this Constitution, as may from time to time, be prescribed by law: Provided , that the Supreme Court shall have power to issue writs of injunction, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus , and such other remedial and original writs as may be necessary to give it a general superintendence and control of inferior jurisdiction.

Section 3. The Supreme Court shall be holden at the seat of government, but may adjourn to a different place, if that shall have become dangerous from an enemy or from disease.

Section 4. The State shall be divided into convenient circuits, and each circuit shall contain not less than three, nor more than six counties; and for each circuit there shall be appointed a Judge, who shall, after his appointment, reside in the circuit for which he may be appointed.

Section 5. The Circuit Court shall have original jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, within this State, not otherwise excepted in this Constitution; but in civil cases, only where the matter or sum in controversy exceeds fifty dollars.

Section 6. A Circuit Court shall be held in each county in the State, at least twice in every year, and the judges of the several Circuit Courts may hold courts for each other, when they may deem it expedient, and shall do so when directed by law.

Section 7. The General Assembly shall have power to establish a Court or Courts of Chancery, with original and appellate jurisdiction; Provided, that the judges of the several circuit courts shall have power to issue writs of injunction, returnable into the Courts of Chancery.

Section 8. The General Assembly shall have power to establish, in each county within this State, a Court of Probate, for the granting of letters testamentary, and of administration, and for orphans' business.

Section 9. A competent number of Justices of the Peace shall be appointed in and for each county, in such mode and for such term of office as the General Assembly may direct. Their jurisdiction in civil cases shall be limited to causes in which the amount in controversy shall not exceed fifty dollars; and in all cases tried by a Justice of the Peace, right of appeal shall be secured, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by law.

Section 10. Judges of the Supreme and Circuit Courts, and Courts of Chancery, shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation, which shall be fixed by law, and shall not be diminished during their continuance in office; but they shall receive no fees or perquisites of office, nor hold any other office of profit or trust under this State, or any other power.

Section 11. Chancellors and Judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by joint vote of both houses of the General Assembly; but at and after the session of the General Assembly, to be held in the winter of the year eighteen hundred and forty-nine-fifty, the General Assembly shall provide by law for the election of judges of the circuit Courts, by the qualified electors of their circuits respectively, and for the election of Judges of the Courts of Probate, and other inferior courts, (not including Chancellors) by the qualified electors of the counties, cities, or districts, for which such courts may be respectively established; the first Monday in November in any year shall be the day for any election of such judges by the people, or such other day not to be within a less period than two months of the general election for Governor, members of the General Assembly, or members of Congress, as the General Assembly may by law prescribe; but no change to be made in any circuit, or district, or in the mode or time of electing, shall affect the right of any Judge to hold office during the term prescribed by the Constitution, except at the first election thereof, to be made by the people, after the ratification of these amendments or either of them, which elections shall then, all be had on the same day throughout the State, and the terms of the Judges then to be elected, shall commence on that day; vacancies in the office of Judge, shall be filled by the Governor, and the persons appointed thereto by him, shall hold until the next first Monday in November, or other election day of Judges, and until the election and qualification of their successors respectively; and the General Assembly have power to annex to the offices of any of the Judges of the inferior courts the duties of clerks of such courts respectively.

Section 12. The Judges of the several courts of this State, shall hold their offices for the term of six years; and for wilful neglect of duty, or other reasonable cause, which shall not be sufficient ground for impeachment, the Governor shall remove any of them on the address of two-thirds of each house of the General Assembly; Provided , however, that the cause or causes for which such removal shall be required, shall be stated at length in such address, and entered on the journals of each house; And provided, further, That the cause or causes shall be notified to the Judge so intended to be removed, and he shall be admitted to a hearing in his own defense, before any vote for such address shall pass; and in all such cases the vote shall be taken by yeas and nays , and entered on the journal of each house, respectively; And provided, also, That the Judges now in office may hold their offices until the session of the General Assembly, which shall be held in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, and until their successors shall be elected and qualified, unless removed by address or impeachment.

Section 13. No person who shall have arrived at the age of seventy years shall be appointed to, or continue in, the office of Judge in this State.

Section 14. Clerks of the Circuit and Inferior Courts in this State, shall be elected by the qualified electors in each county, for the term of four years, and may be removed from office for such causes and in such manner as may be prescribed by law; and should a vacancy occur, subsequent to an election, it shall be filled by the Judge or Judges of the court in which such vacancy exists; and the person so appointed shall hold his office until the next general election; Provided , however, that after the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six, the General Assembly may prescribe a different mode of appointment, but shall not make such appointment.

Section 15. The Judges of the Supreme Court shall, by virtue of their offices, be conservators of the peace throughout the State; as also the Judges of the Circuit Courts in their respective districts, and Judges of the inferior courts in their respective counties.

Section 16. The style of all process shall be "The State of Alabama", and all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name, and by the authority of the State of Alabama, and shall conclude "against the peace and dignity of the same."

Section 17. There shall be an Attorney General from the State, and as many solicitors as the General Assembly may deem necessary, to be elected by a joint vote thereof, who shall hold their offices for the term of four years, and shall receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

IMPEACHMENTS

Section 1. The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeaching.

Section 2. All impeachments shall be tried by the Senate; when sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or afffirmation; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.

Section 3. The Governor and all civil officers shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than removal from office, and to disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit under the State; but the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be liable and subject to indictment, trial, and punishment, according to law.


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