CONSTITUTION OF 1875


ARTICLE I.

DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.

 

That the great, general, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare:


Section 1. That all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


Sec. 2. That all persons resident in this state, born in the United States, or naturalized, or who shall have legally declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, are hereby declared citizens of the State of Alabama, possessing equal civil and political rights.


Sec. 3. That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit; and that therefore they have, at all times, an inalienable and indefeasible right to change their form of government, in such manner as they may deem expedient.


Sec. 4. That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship, nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate, for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.


Sec. 5. That any citizen may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.


Sec. 6. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable seizure or searches, and that no warrant shall issue to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.


Sec. 7. That in all criminal prosecutions the accused has a right to be heard by himself and counsel, or either; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to have a copy thereof; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and, in all prosecutions by indictment, a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense was committed; and that he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by due process of law.


Sec. 8.
That no person shall be accused, or arrested, or detained, except in cases ascertained by law, and according to the forms which the same has prescribed; and no person shall be punished, but by virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the offense, and legally applied.


Sec. 9. That no person shall, for any indictable offense, be proceeded against criminally by information, except in cases arising in the militia and volunteer forces when in actual service, or, by leave of the court, for misfeasance, misdemeanor, extortion, and oppression in office, otherwise than is provided in this Constitution. Provided, that in cases of petit larceny, assault, assault and battery, affray, unlawful assemblies, vagrancy, and other misdemeanors, the general assembly may, by law, dispense with a grand jury, and authorize such prosecutions and proceedings before justices of the peace, or such other inferior courts as may be by law established.


Sec. 10. That no person shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.


Sec. 11. That no person shall be debarred from prosecuting or defending, before any tribunal in this state, by himself or counsel, any civil cause to which he is a party.


Sec. 12. That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.


Sec. 13. That in prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and that in all indictments for libel, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and facts, under the direction of the court.


Sec. 14. That all courts shall be open, and that every person, for any injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have a remedy by due process of law; and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, or delay.


Sec. 15. That the State of Alabama shall never be made defendant in any court of law or equity.


Sec. 16. That excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted.


Sec. 17.
That all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident, or the presumption great; and that excessive bail shall not, in any case, be required.


Sec. 18. That the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended by the authorities of this state.

Sec. 19. That treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; and that no person shall be convicted of treason, except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or his own confession in open court.


Sec. 20.
That no person shall be attainted of treason by the general assembly; and that no conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.


Sec. 21.
That no person shall be imprisoned for debt.


Sec. 22. That no power of suspending laws shall be exercised, except by the general assembly.


Sec. 23. That no ex post facto law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts, or making any irrevocable grants of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed by the general assembly.


Sec. 24. That the exercise of the right of eminent domain shall never be abridged, nor so construed as to prevent the general assembly from taking the property and franchises of incorporated companies, and subjecting them to public use the same as individuals; but private property shall not be taken or applied for public use, unless just compensation be first made therefor; nor shall private property be taken for private use, or for the use of corporations other than municipal, without the consent of the owner; provided, however, that the general assembly may, by law, secure to persons or corporations the right of way over the lands of other corporations, and by general laws provide for and regulate the exercise by persons and corporations of the rights herein reserved; but just compensation shall, in all cases, be first made to the owner. And provided, that the right of eminent domain shall not be so construed as to allow taxation, or forced subscription, for the benefit of railroads, or any other kind of corporations other than municipal, or for the benefit of any individual or association.


Sec. 25. That all navigable waters shall remain forever public highways, free to the citizens of the state and of the United States, without tax, impost, or toll; and that no tax, toll, impost, or wharfage shall be demanded or received from the owner of any merchandise or commodity, for the use of the shores, or any wharf erected on the shores, or in or over the waters of any navigable stream, unless the same be expressly authorized by law.


Sec. 26. That the citizens have a right in a peaceable manner to assemble together for the common good, and to apply to those invested with the power of government, for redress of grievances, or other purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.


Sec. 27. That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.


Sec. 28. That no standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the general assembly; and, in that case, no appropriation for its support shall be made for a longer term than one year; and the military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.


Sec. 29. That no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Sec. 30. That no title of nobility, or hereditary distinction, privilege, honor, or emolument, shall ever be granted or conferred in this state; and that no office shall be created, the appointment to which shall be for a longer time than during good behavior.


Sec. 31. That immigration shall be encouraged, emigration shall not be prohibited, and that no citizen shall be exiled.


Sec. 32.
That temporary absence from the state shall not cause a forfeiture of residence once obtained.


Sec. 33. That no form of slavery shall exist in this state; and there shall be no involuntary servitude, otherwise than for the punishment of crime, of which the party shall have been duly convicted.


Sec. 34. The right of suffrage shall be protected by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influences from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper conduct.


Sec. 35. The people of this state accept as final the established fact that from the federal Union there can be no secession of any state.


Sec. 36. Foreigners who are, or may hereafter become, bona fide residents of this state, shall enjoy the same right in respect to the possession, enjoyment, and inheritance of property, as native-born citizens.


Sec. 37. That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property; and when the government assumes other functions, it is usurpation and oppression.


Sec. 38. No educational or property qualification for suffrage or office, nor any restraint upon the same on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, shall be made by law.


Sec. 39. That this enumeration of certain rights shall not impair or deny others retained by the people.


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