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III. THE COUNTY.
Q. What political division of the State is larger than the town?
A. The county.
How large is it? If so, give the Give its bounds. Name its seat.
Q. In what county do you live? Is it under township organization? names of its towns.
What is a county seat?
A. It is the city or village where the court-house and county offices are, and where the county business is done.
COUNTY OFFICERS-THEIR TERMS OF OFFICE.
Q. Name the officers of a county and give the term of each.
A. County clerk, clerk of the circuit court, recorder, county judge, probate judge, State's attorney, sheriff, superintendent of schools, treasurer and coroner; term, four years. In counties under township organization, supervisors; one or more from each town, and one or more from each city in the county (the number from cities being determined in the same way as in towns); term, one year.
In counties not under township organization, instead of supervisors there are three commissioners, elected by the whole county for a term of three years.
THE COUNTY BOARD-POWERS AND DUTIES.
Q. What officers constitute the county board?
Q. How many meetings do the supervisors hold in a year?
A. Two regular meetings, namely, on the second Monday in July and the second Tuesday in September; and special meetings whenever one-third of their. number ask for such meetings.
Q. How does the county board organize for business?
A. The first meeting of the year is called to order by the county clerk, when the supervisors proceed to elect one of their number chairman for the succeeding year.
Q. What are the duties of the chairman ?
A. To appoint the committees and preside over the meetings of the board.
Q. What can you say about the committees ?
A. A committee consists of three or more members of the board, whose special duty it is to look after some branch of the county business. Thus, the members of the committee for the poor see that the county farm for the support of the county's paupers is properly managed, and that the paupers are properly fed, clothed and housed. They also examine and allow or disallow bills for the support of the poor. This is called "auditing bills." Nearly all the county business is divided among the committees of the board, but each committee must report all its proposed acts to the board for its approval before the acts can be done.
Q. What are some of the duties of the whole board? A. To erect and furnish a court-house, jail, and other necessary county buildings. To levy special taxes for this and other purposes.
To fix the pay of county officers, which can not be changed during the term for which the officers are elected.
To take measures for prosecuting and defending the lawsuits of the county.
To select grand jurors, and prepare a list from which the circuit clerk may draw petit jurors.
To examine all bills against the county, and see that none are paid except those that are just.
To examine the accounts of the county treasurer and count the money in the treasury twice a year.
To publish in a paper of the county after each meeting a full report of all their acts.
The supervisors must hold their meetings with open doors, and, if possible, in the court-house.
They can not levy a tax of more than 75 cents on $100 valuation for ordinary county expenses, nor more than 100 cents on $100 valuation to pay a county debt, existing at the time of the adoption of the present State constitution, nor contract a bonded debt for the county, without first submitting the question of such tax or debt to a vote of the people.
Q. Why is the county board required to hold its meetings with open doors, and to publish accounts of its proceedings?
THE GRAND JURY.
Q. What can you say about a grand jury?
A. A grand jury consists of twenty-three men. their duty to examine evidence against those accused of crime, and if the evidence is strong enough, to advise the court to put the accused on trial. The grand jury's advice in such a case consists in giving the court a paper called an "indictment," in which the criminal is named and his crime is described. A majority of the grand jury must vote in favor of an indictment before it can be presented to the court. The grand jury hears no evidence in defense, and its meetings are not open to the public.
It is their
Q. What can you say of a petit jury? A. A petit jury consists of twelve men. duty to hear the evidence on both sides of brought before them, and to decide the case according to the weight of the evidence and the law that applies to that particular case. The law is explained to them by the judge. Their decision is called a "verdict." A verdict can not be given unless all the jury vote for it.
COUNTY AND PROBATE COURT.
Q. Are the offices of county judge and probate judge filled by one man or two men in your county?
Q. In what case are these offices separate?
A. In counties of 50,000 inhabitants two men may be elected to fill these offices. In counties of less than 50,000 inhabitants, one man is elected to perform the duties of both offices. In this case he is called simply the "county judge," and his court is called the "county court."
Q. What jurisdiction have probate courts?
A. They have original jurisdiction in matters relating to wills, the settlement of estates of deceased persons, apprentices, guardians of minors, and conservators of the insane and the imbecile.
Q. What is meant by "original jurisdiction?" By "exclusive jurisdiction?"
A. When a court has original jurisdiction in any matters, suits about those matters may be commenced in that court.
When a court has exclusive jurisdiction in any mat
ters, suits about such matters must be commenced in that court alone.
Q. What jurisdiction have county courts?
A. They have exclusive jurisdiction in suits for the collection of taxes by sale of real estate, and concurrent jurisdiction with circuit courts in civil matters, in all cases like those brought before justices of the peace, if the amount in dispute does not exceed $1,000, and in criminal matters, if the punishment may not be imprisonment in the penitentiary or death. County courts have also concurrent jurisdiction with circuit courts in cases appealed from justices of the peace and police magistrates.
Q. What is meant by "concurrent jurisdiction?"
A. Matters in which two or more courts have concurrent jurisdiction can be brought before either of such courts. If A gives me a note for any sum less than $200, and when it is due refuses to pay, I can sue him before a justice of the peace, or in the county, or the circuit court, for all these have concurrent jurisdiction in such a case.
Q. What are civil and criminal matters?
(See the chapter on The Town.)
Q. What is it "to appeal" a case?
A. It is to carry it, after trial, to a higher court for a new trial. The higher court, in such an event, is said to have "appellate jurisdiction."
COUNTY AND PROBATE JUDGES.
Q. What are the duties of county and probate judges?
A. To preside over the county and probate courts in their respective counties.