Prayer by Rev. S. R. Brockunier, of the M. E. Church.
Minutes read and approved.
MR. PAXTON offered the following:
RESOLVED, That voting by ballot is the mode best calculated to secure at all popular elections an independent and untrammeled expression of the people's will, so essential to the maintenance of free government.
MR. STEVENSON of Wood, the following:
ARTICLE 1. - On Elections.
Section 1. In elections by citizens, every white freeman of the age of 21 years, having resided in this State one year, and in the election district where he offers to vote, ten days immediately preceding such election, and within two years paid a state or county tax, which shall have been assessed at least ten days before the election, shall enjoy the rights of an elector; but a citizen of the United States, who had previously been a qualified voter of this State, and removed therefrom, and returned; and who shall have resided in the election district, and paid taxes, as aforesaid, shall be entitled to vote, after residing in the State six months: Provided, that white freemen, citizens of the United States, between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-two years, and having resided in the State one year, and in the election district ten days, as aforesaid, shall be entitled to vote, although they shall not have paid taxes.
Sec. 2. All elections shall be by ballot, except those by persons in their representative capacities, who shall vote viva voce.
Sec. 3. Electors shall in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on elections, and in going to and from them.
MR. DERING, the following:
RESOLVED, That the legislature shall not pledge the faith of the State for the payment of any bonds or contracts, or obligations, for the benefit or use of any person or persons, corporations or body politic whatever.
RESOLVED, That the Committee on Education inquire into the expediency of inserting a provision in the Constitution for the establishment of a general free school system throughout the Commonwealth.
RESOLVED, That no capitation tax shall be imposed upon, or collected from, any citizen of this State until they shall have attained the age of twenty-one years.
MR. BATTELLE, the following:
RESOLVED, That the Committee on Fundamental and General Provisions be requested to inquire into the expediency of requiring all elections by the people to be by ballot.
MR. POWELL, the following:
RESOLVED, That the Committee on the Executive Department, be requested to inquire into the expediency of fixing the salary of the governor at a sum not exceeding $2,500 per annum.
MR. PARKER, the following:
Every white male citizen of the United States, of the age of twenty-one years, who has been a resident of this State for one year, and of the county, city or town where he offers to vote for six months next preceding an election, and who shall have previously paid or tendered all annual capitation taxes, due and payable, of two dollars each, (the one-half thereof to be applied to the support of public free schools, and the balance towards the construction and maintenance of public highways, the latter to be paid in money or labor, at the option of the person paying) and who shall have taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and of this State, and no other person, shall be qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, and other officers elective by the people. And no person shall have the right to vote who is of unsound mind, or a pauper, or who is guilty of having given or tendered, or aided in giving or tendering to any person any money, intoxicating liquor or other thing, except counsel and advice, with intent to influence votes at any election held under this Constitution; and the person accepting any such bribe shall also be disqualified from voting thereafter; and no person who shall be in actual rebellion, committing treason against the government, of this State, or the government of the United States, or who shall have been convicted of treason, committed against either of these governments, or of any other infamous, offence, shall be allowed to vote at any election held under this Constitution.
MR. HERVEY, the following:
ARTICLE III.- Qualification of Voters
Sec. 1. Every white male citizen of the Commonwealth, of the age of twenty-one years, who has been a resident of the State for one year and of the county, city or town, when he offers to vote, for six months next preceding an election, and no other person, shall be qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, and all officers elective by the people; but no person in the military, naval or marine service of the United States shall be deemed resident of this State by reason of his being stationed therein, but if any such person shall have been a resident of this State at the time he entered the service of the United States, and one year next preceding the time he offers to vote shall have expired, then any such person shall be considered a citizen within the meaning of this section and entitled to vote as herein provided. And no person shall have the right to vote who is of unsound mind, or a pauper, or who has been convicted of bribery in an election, or of any infamous offence.
Sec. 2. The general assembly, at its first session after the adoption of this Constitution, and afterwards as occasion may require, shall cause every city or town, the white population of which exceeds five thousand, to be laid off into convenient wards, and a separate place of voting established in each; and thereafter no inhabitant of such city or town shall be allowed to vote except in the ward in which he resides.
Sec. 3. No voter, during the time for holding any election at which he is entitled to vote, shall be compelled to perform military duty except in time of war or public danger, to work upon the public roads, or to attend any court as suitor, juror or witness; and no voter shall be subject to arrest under any civil process during his attendance at elections, or in going to and returning from them.
Sec. 4. In all elections, votes shall be given by ballot, and not viva voce.
MR. BROWN of Kanawha, the following:
RESOLVED, That the Supreme Court of Appeals, ought to consist of three eminent jurists, to be elected by the legislature, and continue in office during good behavior.
MR. HAYMOND, the following:
The banks of this Commonwealth, shall have the right to issue notes of any denomination less than five dollars.
And said banks shall be prohibited from receiving foreign notes or bills of exchange for collection; and all notes discounted by said banks shall be made payable at their counter.
MR. WILSON, the following:
RESOLVED, That all appropriations made by the state legislature, for internal improvements, shall be submitted to the legal voters of the State, and if sanctioned by them, shall then be returned to the said legislature, and be sanctioned by them before it becomes a law.
All which were appropriately referred.
MR. VAN WINKLE. I am instructed by the Committee on Fundamental and General Provisions to ask permission, if they shall have a partial report prepared before another meeting of the Convention, to have it printed without first submitting it to the Convention. It will save time, sir, because otherwise we shall have to come here tomorrow with nothing to do but lay the report on the table and wait for it to be printed. If we have it printed it will give some time for consideration.
The motion was agreed to.
MR. PARKER offered the following:
The judicial power of the State shall be vested in a superior court, and such inferior courts as the general assembly shall by law establish and justices of the peace.
The superior court shall have jurisdiction in cases of law and equity throughout the State, to be defined by law, provided it shall be the court of last resort for the State, shall decide all questions of law arising therein, or coming thereto by appeal from any inferior court, or justice of the peace: shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all capital cases, at the trial of which, at least three of the justices thereof shall be present, and shall also have exclusive jurisdiction of writs of habeas corpus, mandamus; prohibition and quo warranto. Some one of the justices of said court shall hold, at least, two terms a year in each county of the State, for the trial of equity cases and questions, of fact to be tried by a jury; and five, at least, of the justices thereof shall hold a term once a year at the seat of government, for the purpose of deciding matters of law and shall cause reports of their decisions to be published annually. The times for holding terms in the respective counties, and at the seat of government, shall be prescribed by law. The superior court, shall consist of a chief justice and such number of associate justices, as the general assembly shall by law prescribe, to be elected by the qualified voters of the State, for the term of twelve years, to receive competent salaries, to be determined by law, which salaries shall not be reduced during their continuance in office, and they shall be ineligible thereafter; provided that the person receiving the highest number of votes at the first election held for the purpose, under this Constitution, shall be the chief justice and hold his office for the term of twelve years, unless sooner removed in the manner prescribed in this Constitution; the persons receiving the two next highest number of votes shall be associate justices, and hold their office for the term of ten years; the persons receiving the two next highest number of votes shall also be associate justices, and hold their office for the term of eight years; and if more than four associate justices shall be prescribed by law, such additional justices shall be the persons receiving the next highest number of votes, and shall hold their office for the term of six years, subject always to removal in the manner prescribed in this Constitution. If at such election two or more persons shall receive an equal number of votes, it shall be determined by lot to which class they shall belong; all justices of the superior court, chosen afterwards to fill any vacancy that shall occur, or to fill any additional office of associated justice, which the general assembly shall prescribe the jurisdiction and duties of the several courts and of justices of the peace, subject only to the limitations contained in this article; also the mode of electing or appointing the judges of the inferior courts that shall be established, and justices of the peace, with their respective compensation, terms of office and qualifications, provided no judge of any inferior court that shall be established, shall be re-eligible, and provided further, that no inferior court shall be established, which shall be constituted on the plan of the present existing county courts of the State of Virginia.
There shall be an attorney general, and such other attorneys for the State, as shall be prescribed by law, who shall be chosen by the qualified voters of the State, and hold their office for the term of four years, and to be re-eligible. Their respective duties, qualification and compensation, shall be prescribed by law.
MR. WILLEY, the following:
1. There shall be a Supreme Court of Appeals and circuit courts. The jurisdiction of these courts, and of the judges thereof, except so far as the same is conferred by this Constitution, shall be regulated by law.
2. The State be divided into circuits, as follows:
3. The general assembly may, from time to time, re-arrange the said circuits; and after the expiration of ten years from the adoption of this Constitution may, from time to time, increase the number of circuits, so as the whole number shall never exceed
4. For each circuit a judge shall be elected by the voters thereof, who shall hold his office for the term of years, unless sooner removed in the manner prescribed by this Constitution. He shall, at the time of his election, be at least thirty years of age. During his continuance in office he shall reside in the circuit of which he is judge, and shall not be re-eligible to the same office during the next term.
5. A circuit court shall be held at least four times a year by the judge of each circuit, in every county and corporation thereof, wherein a circuit court is now or may hereafter be established. But the judges may be required or authorized to hold the courts of their respective circuits alternately, and a judge of one circuit to hold a court in any other circuit.
6. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall consist of three judges, who shall be elected by the voters of the Commonwealth, and shall, at the time of their election, be at least thirty-five years of age. They shall hold their offices for the term of twelve years, unless sooner removed in the manner prescribed in this Constitution.
7. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall have appellate jurisdiction only; except in cases of habeas corpus, mandamus and prohibition. It shall have no jurisdiction in civil cases when the matter in controversy, exclusive of costs, is less in value or amount than $ except in controversies concerning the title or boundaries of land, the probate of a will, the appointment or qualification of a personal representative, guardian, committee or curator; or concerning a mill, road, way, ferry or landing, or the right of a corporation or a county to levy tolls or taxes; and except in cases of habeas corpus, mandamus and prohibition, and cases involving freedom or the constitutionality of a law.
8. When a judgment or decree is reversed or affirmed by the Supreme Court of Appeals, the reasons therefor shall be stated in writing and preserved with the records of the case.
9. Special courts of appeals, to consist of three judges, may be formed of the judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals and of the circuit courts, or any of them, to try any case or cases which may come before the Supreme Court of Appeals, in respect to which any of the judges of said court may be so situated as to make it improper for him to sit on the hearing thereof.
10. Judges shall be commissioned by the governor, and shall receive fixed and adequate salaries, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. The salary of a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals shall not be less than $ , and that of a judge of a circuit court not less than $ per annum; and each shall receive a reasonable allowance for necessary travel.
11. No judge, during his term of service, shall hold any other office, appointment, or public trust, and the acceptance thereof shall vacate his judicial office; nor shall he, during such term, or within one year thereafter, be eligible to any political office.
12. No election of judge shall be held within thirty days of the time of holding any election of electors of President and Vice- President of the United States, of members of Congress, or of the general assembly.
13. Judges may be removed from office by a concurrent vote of both houses of the general assembly, but a majority of all the members elected to such house must concur in such vote; and the cause of removal shall be entered on the journal of each house. The judge against whom the general assembly may be about to proceed shall receive notice thereof, accompanied by a copy of the causes alleged for his removal, at least twenty days before the day on which either house of the general assembly shall act thereupon.
14. The officers of the Supreme Court of Appeals shall be appointed by said court, or by the judges thereof in vacation. Their duties, compensation and tenure of office shall be prescribed by law.
15. The voters of each county or corporation in which a circuit court is held shall select a clerk of such court and an attorney for the Commonwealth, whose term of office shall be years. The duties and compensations of these officers and the mode of removing them from office shall be prescribed by law; and when a vacancy shall occur in said offices the judge of the court held in the county or corporation where it occurs shall appoint a clerk or attorney for the Commonwealth (as the case may be) pro tempore, who shall discharge the duties of the office until the vacancy is filled.
16. At every election of a governor, an attorney general shall be elected by the voters of the Commonwealth for the term of years. He shall be commissioned by the governor, shall perform such duties and receive such compensation as may be prescribed for by law, and be removable in the manner prescribed for the removal of judges.
17. Judges (and all other officers, whether elected or appointed,) shall continue to discharge the duties of their respective offices after their terms of service have expired until their successors are qualified
18. Writs shall run in the name of the Commonwealth and be attested by the clerks, of the several courts. Indictments shall conclude: Against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth.
Which were referred.
The Convention then adjourned.
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Chapter Eleven: First Constitutional Convention of West Virginia