Friday, August 23, 2019

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Vernellia Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

Article Index


ART. II. PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES.


SEC. I. COMMENCEMENT OF PROSECUTION.


24. Tribunal for the trial of free persons of color. -- An act passed at Milledgeville on the sixteenth day of December, eighteen hundred and eleven, entitled an act to establish a tribunal for the trial of slaves within this state; the court therein established is hereby made a tribunal for offences committed by free persons of color, to all intents and purposes, as if the words free persons of color had been inserted in the caption, and every section of the said act to establish a tribunal for the trial of slaves within this state.


25. Arrests and trial of slaves and free persons of color. -- Every slave or free person of color, charged with any offence contained in this act, shall be arrested and tried, pursuant to an act entitled, "An act to establish a tribunal for the trial of slaves within this state", passed the sixteenth dat of December, eighteen hundred and eleven, and the seventh, eighth and ninth sections of this act, and shall receive sentence agreeably to the requisitions contained in this act.(6)


26. Offences, how prosecuted. -- Upon complaint being made to, or information received upon oath, by any justice of the peace, of any crime having been committed by any slave or slaves within the county where such justice is empowered to act, such justice shall, by warrant from under his hand, cause such slave or slaves to be brought before him, and give notice thereof, in writing, to any two or more of the nearest justices of the peace of said county, to associate with hm on a particular day, in said notice to be specified, not exceeding three days from the date of said notice, for the trial of such slave or slaves; and the justices so assembled, shall forthwith proceed to the examination of a witness or witnesses, and other evidence, and in case the offender or offenders shall be convicted of any crime not capital, the said justices, or a majority of them, shall give judgement for the inflicting any corporeal punishment, not extending to the taking away life or member, as in their discretion may seem reasonable and just, and shall award and cause execution to be done accordingly; and in case it should appear to them, after investigation, that the crime or crimes wherewith such slave or slaves stand or stands charged, is a crime or crimes for which he, she, or they ought to suffer death, such slave or slaves shall immediately be committed to the public jail of said county, if any, provided it should be sufficient, or to the custody of the sheriff or said county, or to the nearest sufficient jail thereto.


27. Inferior court to be notified. -- The said justices shall, within three days next thereafter, give notice, in writing, to one of the justices of the inferior court of said county, of such commitment, with the names of the witness or witnesses, and such justice of the inferior court shall, within three days after the receipt thereof, direct the sheriff of said county, whose duty it shall be to summon a jury of twelve free white persons of said county, to be drawn in the manner hereinafter pointed out, to attend in like manner.


28. Duty of justice notified. -- When any justice of the inferior court shall have received notice of the commitment of any slave or slaves, or free person or persons of color, (under the description of a free Negro or Negroes, mulatto, or mustizoe), to jail, in pursuance of the second section of an act entitled, "An act to establish a tribunal for the trial of slaves in this state", passed the sixteenth day of December, eighteen hundred and eleven,(7) it shall be the duty of the said justice of the inferior court, within three days after the receipt thereof, to give notice, in writing, of such commitment, to the justices of the inferior court, or a majority of them, together with the clerk of said court, requiring their attendance at the court house of said county, where such slave or slaves, or person or persons of color, as aforesaid, may have been committed, on a particular day, in said notice to be specified in writing, not exceeding ten days from the date of said notice.

29. Continuance may be granted for cause. -- The said court, so constituted as a aforesaid, shall immediately proceed to such trial, unless it should appear necessary for the said court, either for the want of sufficient proof, or any other sufficient reason, to delay the same, as in their judgement may seem for the furtherance of justice.


30. Clerk of inferior court to act as prosecuting officer. -- In all prosecutions for a capital offence against any slave or free person of color, the clerk of the inferior court shall act as the prosecuting officer in behalf of the sate.


31. Accusation to be preferred by clerk in writing. -- It shall be the duty of such justices, clerk, and jurors, to attend accordingly, and the said court, when so assembled, shall cause the clerk of said court to commit the charge or accusation alleged against such slave or slaves in writing, therein particularly setting forth the time and place of the offence, and the nature thereof.


32. Record of proceedings, subpoenas for witnesses, rules of evidence. -- It shall be the duty of the clerk to make a record of the proceedings against such slave or slaves, separated and distinct from other records of his office, and he shall also issue subpoenas and other writs necessary to procure the attendance of a witness or witnesses, at the instance of either party, and that in all cases respecting the admission of evidence against people of color, the rules shall be the same as heretofore practiced in this state.

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