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Selection of Jurors. — In scarcely any two States are jurors selected in exactly the same manner, but in all they are selected in a similar manner. Once a year, or oftener, some county official 1 or special jury commissioners, appointed or elected as the law prescribes, prepares a considerable list of persons who are eligible for jury service. In some States any qualified voter of the county in which the court is sitting is eligible, while in others only tax-payers may serve.

In the former States the names can be obtained from the poll books and in the latter from the tax assessors' books. Persons under twenty-one and those over sixty or seventy years of age, criminals, illiterates, and women are commonly ineligible. In most States other classes of persons,

such as State and federal officials, professional men, foremen, firemen, and State militiamen, are not required to serve.

Although a juror receives a small fee for each day he serves, most persons endeavor to avoid jury service. A story is told that in a certain large city every man “ with any brains," other than those exempt from jury service, was found to be an honorary member of the State militia, and in another town the voluntary fire company monopolized the "brains" of the town.

The chosen names are written on slips of paper and placed in a locked jury box, which is usually kept in the custody of the clerk of the court. When the court needs a jury the names are drawn from the box by a designated official, and the sheriff is directed to summon such persons by a writ known as a venire facias. After eliminating the names of those who, for good reason, cannot serve he makes a list of those who can serve and returns it to the clerk. The list is known as the panel of veniremen.

1 This official is usually the clerk of the court, the sheriff, the judge, or county board of commissioners. In the New England States and Michigan names of jurors are selected by township (" town”) officers and sent to a county officer.

2 In New Jersey the chancellor (highest judge) appoints a jury commissioner for each county who is of the opposite party to the county sheriff. These two are commissioners of juries and they select names of eligible persons as in other States, but instead of putting the names in the jury box they are numbered consecutively from one up, and a piece of metal with a corresponding number is placed in the box instead of the name.

8 In North Carolina the names must be drawn from the jury box by a child under ten years of age. In many States the clerk or whatever officer draws the names must be blindfolded.

Grand jurors are commonly selected in the same manner as petit jurors, but in some States a separate list of names is prepared from which grand jurors are selected. Jurors for the justices' courts are commonly selected by the justice himself.

Sometimes a judge, at the request of the parties to a suit, directs a special jury to be summoned to hear a controversy of peculiar importance and difficulty. The members of such a jury are more carefully selected and usually receive a larger fee than ordinary jurors, the additional compensation being paid by the parties to the suit.



BALDWIN, SIMEON E. The American Judiciary. (American State

Series.) 1905.



1. What are the duties of a court ?
2. What two systems of courts are there in each State ?

3. What classes of cases are brought into the federal courts ? Into the State courts ?

4. What three grades of State courts are found in every State ?
5. What is a probate court ?
6. What special courts do cities commonly have ?
7. What is a juvenile court ?
8. How are State judges chosen ? For what terms?

9. Do judges have any duties other than interpreting law and deciding cases ?

10. What is a grand jury? What is the petit jury? How many jurors commonly compose each ? How does a grand jury differ from a petit jury?

11. Does the highest State court have jury trials ?

12. Who serve on juries and how are they chosen ?

13. What is meant by a true bill of indictment? Presentment Foreman ?


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 1. Name the courts in the State in which you live, beginning with the lowest. Tell how the judges for each are chosen. (For the above information consult your State constitution.)

2. Name one or more judges and tell what court each presides over.

3. Is it more important that a legislator, governor, or a judge be chosen for a long term ?

4. Why are citizens never justified in resorting to lynch law?

5. “ The Constitution of New Hampshire provides that when the governor cannot discharge the duties of his office, the president of the senate shall assume them. During the severe illness of a governor recently the president of the senate hesitated to act in his stead; it was not clear that the situation was grave enough to warrant such a

Accordingly the attorney-general of the State brought an action against the president of the senate for not doing his duty. The court considered the situation, decided against the president of the senate, and ordered him to become acting governor. Why was this necessary

? Was it conducted in a hostile spirit? Wherein did the decision help the State ? Wherein did it help the defendant ? Wherein may it possibly prove helpful in the future history of the State?- —“ Civil Government in the United States,” by John Fiske.

6. Most States elect their judges. Why do most students of government think it better to have them appointed by the governor or by the chief justice of the highest court in the State, or elected by the licensed lawyers in the territory in which he serves ?

7. Jury service is so burdensome to business men of cities that some young men refuse to register for voting in order that their names may not be as easily obtained for jury service. Would you favor abolishing juries for civil cases and the less important criminal cases ? An effort is always made to have jurors who know nothing about the case to be tried. In rural communities such persons are usually those who do not read the papers. Is it probable that such men make the best jurors ?

8. In Idaho a prisoner charged with threatening a man with a revolver was tried and found guilty by a jury composed wholly of women. Do you think men should be tried by their peers? Women ?


9. The usual court costs constitute an expense which prohibits. small litigation. Small tradespeople have been forced to the practice of wiping all small claims off their books or selling them at about one half to collecting agencies. And the widow who runs a small lodging-house can hardly afford to sue for a month's room rent. Or, the maid hired at $10 a week who is put off the first week and not paid the second has a valid claim for $20, but often not a dollar in her pocket. In addition to an attorney's fee, she cannot pay court costs because she has not been paid.

In 1913 the attorney-general of Kansas, learning of a washerwoman who was owed $3 by a well-to-do man, whom she could not afford to sue, because she could not pay the necessary fees, was inspired to have a law enacted allowing counties and cities to create small debtors' courts. According to this law a judge is appointed by the board of county commissioners or the mayor. He serves without pay and may hold his court in his own home, office, or some place provided by the county or city. The plaintiff appears before the judge and states his

If the judge believes him, he dockets the case and the defendant is summoned by mail or telephone. No lawyers may intermeddle in any manner, and the judge can consult witnesses by telephone if he desires. Debts not exceeding $20 are adjusted and no fees are charged. Therefore, a newsboy was able to sue a subscriber for 45 cents.

Portland, Oregon, has a Small Claims Department of the District Court. Claims up to $20 are heard and costs are limited to 75 cents. The plaintiff may not appeal; and if the defendant appeals he is liable to the $15 attorney's fee and must give a bond to secure all costs. Attorneys are forbidden to appear without the special consent of the judge. Out of 1828 cases in seventeen months there were only two appeals.

The informality of these courts is illustrated by the Cleveland, Ohio, small claims court which is known as the Conciliation Branch. In this court a claim of $25 was brought by a landlady against a boarder who set fire to the mattress by smoking in bed. The defendant was willing to pay, but disputed the amount. The judge called up a department store, ascertained the price of the mattress, and the matter was settled immediately.

Chicago's small claims branch of the Municipal Court hears cases involving as much as $200 in a prompt informal manner.

Do you suppose the establishment of a small claims court in your community would help to increase respect for law and government?



182. Civil Procedure. - A civil suit is one between two persons' as distinguished from a criminal case, in which the State is the plaintiff against a person charged with a public offence. There are two kinds of civil procedure- law suits and equity 2 suits.

For instance, if one owes you a debt, does injury to your person or property, or violates a contract you can sue him at law for money damages; but if you want to restrain persons from committing wrongs you must get an injunction (an equity writ), which will direct the individuals to refrain from doing the wrong, or, if a person who has property in trust for you refuses to pay you the income, you can sue him in equity.

In cases at law the judge usually has a jury to decide the facts, and the witnesses usually testify in court; but in equity


1 One or both persons may be artificial, i.e. a corporation, such as the Pennsylvania Railroad Company or the U. S. Steel Corporation.

2 Equity is a branch of law which developed along-side of common law. Most of the early English law was developed by courts instead of by parliament. The judges the courts in time became conservative and ceased to create means of obtaining justice as new conditions demanded. They had certain forms, called court writs,” upon which one had to state his case. If he could not state it on one of these forms he could not bring suit in court. Aggrieved persons appealed directly to the king for justice. The appeals became so numerous that the king created a new court, called Chancery Court, to administer justice by deciding in a conscientious and equitable manner cases in which justice could not be obtained at common law. Hence grew up a branch of law known as equity, with a distinct set of principles and writs.

The American States retained these two branches of law, but in all States except New Jersey the same judges hear cases both at law and in equity.

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