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In case of the death, absence or inability of any clerk of said court to discharge the duties of his office, or in case the clerk appointed declines serving, it shall be lawful for the chief justice of said court, or in case of his absence from the state, or inability to discharge the duties of his office, it shall be lawful for either of the associate justices of said court, to appoint a clerk thereof, who shall hold his office until the clerk shall have returned, the inability be removed, or until another shall be appointed by the general assembly. And any clerk of said court, before he enters upon the execution of his office, shall take the following oath, viz: I being appointed clerk of the supreme court within and for the county of do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution and laws of this state ; that I will truly and faithfully enter and record all the orders, decrees, judgments and proceedings of said court; and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties of my said office, according to the best of my abilities and understanding: so help me God; or, this affirmation I make and give upon peril of the penalty of perjury.
Sec. 19. A reporter of the decisions of the supreme court shall be appointed by the general assembly, and shall be removable at pleasure.
Sec. 20. He shall be sworn before said court or a justice thereof, to the faithful discharge of the duties of his office.
Sec. 21. He shall make true reports of the decisions of the supreme court, on all legal questions that shall be argued by counsel, and publish the same annually.
Sec. 22. The court shall, when requested by the reporter, communicate to him in writing a statement of their decision or opinion in any case.
SEC. 23. The reporter shall receive an annual salary of one hundred dollars and in that proportion; to be paid to him by the general treasurer on his order, at the expiration of each year of service, or at the time of his removal, together with all profits arising from the publication of the reports.
SEC. 24. The reports shall be entitled “Rhode Island Reports,” and the state shall annually purchase of the reporter, one hundred and twenty-five copies for distribution, at the market price.
An Act establishing Courts of Common Pleas.
SECTION 1. Court of common pleas, to be estab. 14. Writs to be served twenty days before lished in each county.
court, declarations to be filed twelve 2. Jurisdiction of court of common pleas days and pleas and answers six days
extends over all civil actions of twen before court. Defendant may answer ty dollars value, and others commenc on first or second day, on cause shown.
ed by attachment of real estate. 15. Appeal granted to supreme court in 3. Jurisdiction of court of common pleas same county. Appellant to give bond
to grant new trials in cases decided to prosecute.
therein, on appeal from justices court. 16. Special courts of common pleas to be 4. Criminal jurisdiction of court of com holden by any justice of the supreme
mon pleas embraces all crimes not court and one or both of the associate capital or punished by imprisonment justices of the court of common pleas
for life or for a term of seven years. of the county ; judgments rendered 5. Two justices of the court of common therein to be final.
pleas to be elected annually by general 17. Jurisdiction of special courts of com-
six days, declaration to be filed five 6. Oath of justices of court of common days and answers four days before pleas.
court. Execution to issue immediately 7. Courts of common pleas to be holden and to be returnable in fourteen days.
by one justice of the supreme court as 19. If no answer be filed, any justice of chief justice, and the associate justi the supreme court or any justice of the ces of the court of common pleas in court of common pleas of the county each county.
may enter up judgment, and may 8. The chief justice of the court of com adjourn cases where answers are filed. mon pleas to charge juries.
20. Issue in fact being joined in any spe. 9. A clerk of each court of common pleas cial court case, clerk to notify justi
to be appointed annually by the gen ces, and to issue venire to sheriff or eral assembly. Each clerk to give bond officer to summon a jury. and be sworn. Justices of court to fill 21. Clerks to call special courts at request any vacancy in the clerk's office.
of any person affected by any turnpike 10. Compensation of justices of supreme or rail road, and notify adverse party.
court for holding courts of common Such courts to have the same power pleas.
as courts of common pleas, at their 11. Compensation of the associate justices regular terms. of court of common pleas.
22. In case of appeal from report of com12. Court of common pleas authorized to missioners appointed to assess dama
administer oaths,punish for contempts, ges done by laying out turnpikes and make rules regulating practice, and is rail roads, the amount so reported shall
sue all necessary writs and processes. be brought into court. 13. Duty of one of the associate justices 23. No gate to be set up on any turnpike,
to examine the clerk's office, and re nor car to be run on any rail road, port the state thereof to the general until after all damages are paid. assembly, at May session.
It is enacted by the General Assembly, as follows:
Section 1. There shall be a court of common pleas in each county, to be holden as by law appointed.
Sec. 2. Said court shall have cognizance of all civil actions between party and party, which shall be commenced by attachment of real estate, or which shall be of twenty dollars value or upwards, arising or happening within the county, of what kind or nature soever, which shall be legally brought before them ; with power to give judgment therein, and award execution thereon.
Sec. 3. Whenever it shall be made to appear to the sat
isfaction of any court of common pleas, by any party in any suit brought into said court by appeal from a justices court, and which shall have been tried and decided in said court of common pleas within one year previous to such application, that by reason of any accident, mistake or any unforeseen cause, judgment has been rendered in such suit on discontinuance, non-suit, default, or report of referees, or that such party had not a full, fair and impartial trial in such suit, and the court shall thereupon think it reasonable to grant a trial, or in case a trial hath been had in such case, to grant a new trial therein, they shall have power to grant the same, upon such terms and conditions as the said court shall prescribe ; and if the application for such trial or new trial shall be made at the same term in which such suit shall have been tried or decided, the adverse party shall be holden to answer the same, without further notice; but if such application shall be made at any other term of said court, notice thereof shall be given to the adverse party in such manner as the court shall, by general rule, or otherwise, direct : provided, however, that if the application for a new trial shall be made by the plaintiff, no goods or chattels attached or bail given upon the original writ, shall be holden to respond the judgment in such case, unless the application for a new trial be made at the term of said court in which such cause shall have been decided.
Sec. 4. Said courts shall have cognizance of all crimes, offences and misdemeanors, done or committed within their respective counties, the punishment whereof may not be capital, or imprisonment for life, or for a term of seven years or upwards ; excepting such only as shall be declared to be within the exclusive jurisdiction of some other court or tribunal ; and
upon all persons convicted before them of any such crime, offence or misdemeanor, to inflict such punishment as is or shall be prescribed.
Sec. 5. The general assembly annually, in grand committee, shall elect two justices of the court of common pleas in each county, who shall be resident in such county ; to hold their offices until the first Tuesday in May next succeeding their elections. No justice of any court of common pleas shall be a member of the general assembly.
Sec. 6. Before said justices shall excute any of the duties of their office, they shall severally take the following oath: I do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) that I will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution and laws of this state ; that I will administer justice, without respect to per sons ; do equal right to the poor and to the rich ; and that I
will, faithfully and impartially, discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me, as one of the associate justices of the court of common pleas for the county of according to the best of my abilities, agreeably to law ; so help me God; (or, this affirmation I make and give upon peril of the penalty of perjury.)
Sec. 7. Some one of the justices of the supreme court, to be designated by such justices or a major part of them, as chief justice, assisted by one or both of said associate justices of the court of common pleas, shall hold courts of common pleas in each county, at such times and places as are or shall be by law appointed.
SEC. 8. The chief justice shall instruct the grand and petit juries attending in said courts in the law; and may sum up the evidence to the petit juries whenever the court may deem it advisable so to do.
Sec. 9. There shall be, annually, appointed by the general assembly, in grand committee, one clerk for each court of common pleas, to hold his office until the first Tuesday in May next succeeding his election ; who shall constantly attend the sitting of the court of which he is clerk, and furnish stationery for the same, to be allowed by said court ; shall keep the seal of said court, make fair entries and records of all the judgments and proceedings therein, and do and perform whatever else shall come within his office and duty ; and every clerk of said court shall also give bond with sufficient sureties to the general treasurer, to be approved of by him, in the sum of three thousand dollars, faithfully to discharge the duties of his office according to law, and seasonably to record the decrees, judgments and determinations of the said court for which he is clerk; and in case of the death, absence or inability of the clerk of either of said courts to discharge the duties of his office, or in case the clerk appointed refuses to serve, it shall be the duty of the justices of said court to appoint a clerk therefor, who shall hold his office until the clerk shall return, or the inability be removed, or until another shall be appointed by the general assembly; and every clerk, before he enters upon the execution of his office, shall take the following oath, viz: I
being appointed clerk of the court of common pleas for the county of
do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution and laws of this state ; that I will truly and faithfully enter and record all the orders, decrees, judgments and proceedings of the said court; and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties of my
said office, according to the best of my abilities and understanding ; so help me God; or, this affirmation I make and give upon peril of the penalty of perjury.
Sec. 10. The chief and associate justices of the supreme court, in full for their services in holding courts of common pleas, shall receive all the fees and entries heretofore received by the several courts of common pleas, after deducting therefrom the compensation of the associate justices of the court of common pleas, as is herein after provided.
Sec. 11. The associate justices of the court of common pleas shall each receive four dollars per day for each day's actual attendance therein; to be paid them at the end of each term, by the clerk of the court, out of the entries received by him at each term, if sufficient therefor.
Sec. 12. Said courts are severally empowered to administer all necessary oaths and affirmations; to punish, by fine and imprisonment, all contempts of authority in any cause in hearing before them, to make rules and orders for said court, directing the returning of writs and processes, the filing of pleadings, the entering and making up of judgments, and other matters, in vacation or otherwise, in a manner not repugnant to law; to regulate the practice before said courts, as shall be fit and necessary, for the advancement of justice, and especially to prevent delay in proceedings; to do all such other acts, and to issue such writs and processes, as may be necessary or proper to carry into full effect all the powers which are or may be given them by the laws of this state.
Sec. 13. It shall be the duty of one of the associate justices of said court in each county, to examine the state of the clerk's office thereof, and to ascertain that the judgments rendered by said court have been regularly and seasonably recorded; and the justice making such examination shall annually report to the general assembly at May session, whether the said judgments have been recorded as aforesaid.
Sec. 14. All writs and processes for bringing any civil cause or suit to a trial in any court of common pleas, other than a special court of common pleas, as is herein after provided, shall be returnable to the term of said court which will commence next after twenty days or more from the date thereof; and shall be served twenty days before the return day thereof, except in those cases in which special provision shall be made to the contrary. The plaintiff shall declare thereon and file his declaration in the clerk's office of said court, twelve days before the sitting thereof; and the defendant shall file his plea or answer six days before the sitting thereof with the clerk,