Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

be

District Attorneys are appointed for four years, but may removed at the pleasure of the President. Their compensation depends on the amount of business to be done in their respective districts. When important ports of entry, such as New York or Boston, lie in their districts, their duties are very numerous, and they receive a corresponding compensation.

CHAPTER LXIII.

UNITED STATES MARSHALS.

1. United States Marshals are the ministerial officers of the United States courts. Their duties and responsibilities are very similar, and nearly identical with the duties and respon sibilities of sheriffs in the courts of the several States. They are appointed by the President and Senate, for a term of four years. They appoint their own deputies, and their compensation consists of fees instead of a salary; and depends entirely проп the amount of business they have to transact. There is a Marshal in every Judicial District in the United States, and there are fifty-nine of these districts in all. Every State forms at least one district, while the larger States are divided into two or three.

2. A District Court is held in every district; and it is the Marshal's duty to attend the sittings of these courts, and also those of the United States Circuit Courts, when they happen to sit in his district. The Marshal for the District of Columbia must also attend the sittings of the Supreme Court, and execute its precepts. We have said that they are the ministerial officers of the United States courts; for it is their duty to serve all writs and precepts emanating from them, whether of a civil or criminal character; and to execute the judgments and decrees of these tribunals; and for this purpose they are authorized by law, (if necessary,) to command such assistance as they may need in the execution of their duties. Before they enter upon the duties of their office, they must be bound

to the United States for the faithful performance of them, and must solemnly swear to do them, without malice or partiality; and that they will take only lawful fees. They are also held answerable for the delivery to their successors of all prisoners who may be in their custody at the time of their removal, or at the expiration of their term of office.

3. They also have the custody of all vessels and goods seized by any officer of the revenue. It is their duty also to summon, and to pay jurors and witnesses in behalf of any prisoner to be tried for a capital offense, under the laws of the United States. In the remarks made under the head "Census," we stated that it was made the duty of the Marshals to superintend and direct the enumeration of the people; and to collect such statistical facts as the law requires. This they do through deputies, whom they appoint for that special purpose.

The United States Marshal is also required, on the first day of January and July of each year, to make a return of all the fees and emoluments of his office to the Secretary of the Interior; and if they amount to more than $6,000 per year, he must pay the surplus into the Treasury of the United States.

CHAPTER LXIV.

GRAND JURY.

1. By turning to the fifth article of the amendments to the Constitution, you will find these words: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury; except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war or public danger." This constitutional provision makes a Grand Jury a very important agent or instrumentality in the execution of the laws, and also a safeguard of the liberties and rights of the people. It secures every person from the expense and disgrace of a trial for infamous crimes, unless a Grand Jury of his countrymen

shall find upon inquiry and investigation, that there are good reasons for believing that the person so charged has committed the alleged offense.

2. This provision not only protects those who are charged with these crimes against the laws of the United States, but those also who may be charged with such offenses against the laws of any State; for no State can arrest and try any person for a capital or infamous crime without these preliminary proceedings of a Grand Jury; and should it do so, the United States Supreme Court would set its laws aside, as contrary to the Constitution of the United States. Here we see that the government is just as careful to protect its citizens from injus tice by hasty judicial proceedings as it is to punish them after a fair and impartial trial.

3. A Grand Jury, when called to take cognizance of violations of the laws of the United States, to find indictments against those who are charged with them, is summoned by a judge of a United States court in the circuit or district where the alleged crime has been perpetrated; and it must take notice of all crimes against the laws of the United States, which may be brought to its knowledge, within the circuit or district in which it sits. Hence, if ordered by a Circuit Judge, its powers extend over all those States which lie in that circuit. But when ordered by a District Judge, its powers extend only to that district in which it sits, and a district never embraces more than one State, and in many cases a State is divided into two or three districts.

4. This shows us how much more extensive is the jurisdietion of a Grand Jury, when acting under the laws of the United States, than when acting under State laws. In the former it extends generally all over a State, and sometimes over several States. But in the latter it is confined to the county in which it sits.

GRAND AND PETIT JURIES.

A Grand Jury never acts but in criminal cases. A Petit Jury acts in both criminal and civil cases. The finding or

conclusion arrived at by a Grand Jury is called a presentment, or an indictment. The finding of a Petit Jury is called its verdict.

5. Second, a Grand Jury sits alone (not in the presence of the court), and deliberates upon such matters of a criminal character as it possesses knowledge of, or which may be brought to its notice by the court or by other persons; and when it finds that great evils exist, and wrongs have been perpetrated, it presents them to the court, and calls the attention of the law officers to them; which is equivalent to a recommendation that judicial proceedings should be commenced to abate the evil, or to punish the wrong-doer. This is called a presentment of the Grand Jury.

And when they find, upon such evidence as they have, that a great crime has been perpetrated, or that they have good reason so to believe, and that it has been perpetrated by some person specified, they report their finding or conclusion to the Court. This is called an indictment by the Grand Jury; after which the person so charged is arrested, if at large, and can be found, and is either imprisoned or held to bail for his appearance at court to stand trial.

6. A Grand Jury never tries a case. It only says to the court by its presentment or indictment, that the case presented, or the person indicted, ought to be brought before the court, and tried for the alleged wrong or crime.

A Petit Jury sits with the court, hears the pleadings and arguments of counsel on both sides, listens to the evidence of witnesses; and then hears the charge of the judge, as to the law applicable to the case; after which they withdraw and deliberate alone upon the case, and if they agree in a criminal ease, their verdict is "Guilty," or "Not Guilty;" if in a civil suit, they say how much one party is indebted (if any), to the other.

7. The object aimed at in that article of the Constitution which stands at the head of this chapter, is to protect persons from false charges of crime, and hasty adjudication of such

charges; for it substantially amounts to a declaration that no person shall be punished for a capital or infamous crine, unless one jury, before trial, shall, upon information and belief, charge him with the offense; and another, after trial, shall find him guilty of the alleged crime.

The above remarks are as applicable to Grand and Petit Juries, acting under State, as those which act under the United States laws.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

1. The Supreme power in the United States is lodged in the general government, with its three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The authority of this government, however, is restricted to the powers expressly conferred on it by the Constitution; all other power being reserved to the States, or the people. The States also are sovereign in their own limits, over all questions not expressly assigned to the General Government. Instead of conflict of authority there is true harmony. The people elect the members of both the classes of legislators and executives, and both are equally employed in attending to the interests of the people confided to their care; the first to General, the second to Local interests. All the members and officers of each are the servants of the Sovereign People.

2. As soon as the general government was organized under the Constitution, there arose two parties. One wished to ren der the General Government prominent in order to secure concentration of strength and vigor of action; the other desired to exalt the State governments in the fear that the general government might prove ambitious of too much power, and disregard the welfare of the people. As in almost all party platforms, both these seemed to take too narrow a view. Washington was held to sympathize more with the first, Jefferson

« AnteriorContinuar »