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is a writ? How is it served? How is property assessed? What connection has the assessor with elections? With the compulsory school law? Number of assessors? term ? salary? etc. ? What various ways of getting roads made and repaired? Through what officials can a township sue or be sued? Can a township have sidewalks at the public expense? Number, term, salary, etc., of assessors ? Name all the corporate bodies of a township. How is the tax for school purposes laid? What is the nature of the compulsory school law? Chief duties of school directors ? Their term, compensation, etc? What is said of the collector? the overseers of the poor? the township clerk? How does a township learn how its taxes have been expended? Have auditors any other duty than to examine accounts? Number, term, salary, etc., of auditors ? Who holds the elections and how are the duties divided among them? How are the returns made? What is a precinct? Salary, etc., of election officers ? When and how are boroughs formed ? What are the duties of a burgess ? How is a vacancy in his office filled ? How are the laws of a borough made? What do they relate to? What officials are employed by council? What are wards ? Has a borough like officers with a township? What is the difference between a city and a borough? Why do cities have charters? How are cities classified? Why? What difference between the duties of a burgess and a mayor? What ex-officio duties has a burgess or a mayor? Does the school board of Philadelphia lay a school tax? What is the duty of the controller? the solicitor? the treasurer? How are these officials respectively appointed? What is an alderman? a magistrate? Is a State certificate good to teach in Philadelphia ? What entitles a town to a school superintendent? What executive departments in cities of the first and second class ?
County Offices in General.—To be qualified for a county office, a person must have been a citizen and a resident of the county for at least one year before his election. The term of office, as a rule, is three years. The salary, in counties of less than 150,000 inhabitants, consists of fees fixed by law; and in counties of over 150,000 inhabitants, it is a specified amount, the fees being paid into the treasury-either into that of the county or that of the State, as the law may direct. No salary is to be greater than the amount of the fees.
The Judges and Courts. There are two kinds of judges -those learned in the law and those not learned in the law. Whenever a county has 40,000 or more inhabitants it has one judge or more learned in the law, the number increasing with the population. Counties of less than 40,000 inhabitants form joint districts of two or more counties in each. The counties of such a district have each two associate judges not learned in the law; and the district elects one judge learned in the law, who is called president judge. He holds court in the counties of his district in turn.
There are also different kinds of courts-Common Pleas, Oyer and Terminer, Quarter Sessions and Orphans' Courts. In counties and districts having but one judge, all these courts are presided over by one judge. The Court of Common Pleas has jurisdiction in all civil cases. The Oyer and Terminer (“ to hear and determine '') has
jurisdiction in cases of murder, treason, robbery, burglary, arson, and other high crimes. The Court of Quarter Sessions (having four sessions a year) has jurisdiction in cases of petty crimes, such as theft, assault and battery, etc. The Orphans' Court settles the estates of deceased persons and controls the estates of minors. Some counties having two or more judges, elect a separate judge for the Orphans' Court.
The chief duty of a judge learned in the law is to preside at the trial of cases, to conduct the trial impartially, to hear the evidence, to decide points of law raised in the progress of the trial, and to charge the jury with instructions for making up a verdict. Other duties are the issuing of various writs,-of habeas corpus, of mandamus, of injunction, of quo warranto,—the staying of executions, the granting of petitions, the issuing of naturalization papers, the removal of certain officials, the chartering of corporations not for profit, such as, secret societies, hospitals, cemeteries, etc.
Judges not learned in the law, or associate judges, have the same powers that the president judge has, but they seldom exercise any but a few of them. They are mainly advisory members on the bench. They have in a few instances undertaken to hold court, and have even been known to charge juries in opposition to the president judge. They exercise an equal voice in granting licenses and in establishing new roads, etc. They administer oaths, stay writs of execution, issue writs of habeas corpus, etc. As they reside in the county, their services are a convenience in the absence of the president judge.
The term of office of judges learned in the law is ten years; and that of the associates, five years. The salary of the former is $4,000, except in Philadelphia ($7,000),
Allegheny ($5,000), and Dauphin and Westmoreland ($5,000); that of the latter $5 a day when actually engaged.
The Jury. The jury, though really a part of the court, is so important a factor in the government of a county, that it deserves to be treated as of equal rank with a county office. It is distinctively an English institution, though something like the jury system is found in other nations. The principle from which trial by jury has come, is found in the Magna Charta, given to the English people by King John in 1215; it is as follows: “No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseized, or outlawed, or exiled, or anyways destroyed; nor will we go upon him, nor will we send upon him, unless by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.” However, as a mere custom, the jury system is so old in England that “the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.”
There are three kinds of juries, the Grand Jury, the Petit Jury and the Traverse Jury. Twenty-four men are summoned for the Grand Jury, one of whom is excused to avoid ties. The court appoints one of them as foreman. The number of Petit and Traverse Jurors is determined by the court; it consists usually of from thirty-six to sixty each; in smaller counties the same panel is used for both. From this number twelve are drawn to try each case as it comes before the court.
The Grand Jury decides what criminal cases shall be brought before the court. It hears the evidence only for the Commonwealth, that is, the evidence against the accused. If a case is made out against him, the foreman endorses the bill of indictment, which endorsement makes it a “true bill.” Only one witness against the accused is allowed to be before the Grand Jury at one time, and
no one but the district attorney is allowed to be present during its sessions. The Grand Jury inspects annually all public buildings of the county-its prison, poor-house, court-house, etc., and approves of the location of county bridges.
The Petit Jury, which tries criminal cases, after listening to the evidence, the pleas of the attorneys, and the charge of the judge, must retire to a room and make up their verdict without talking to anyone but the judge. Their verdict must be unanimous, whether it is “Guilty" or “Not Guilty;" and in misdemeanor cases and cases of larceny of goods not amounting in value to ten dollars, where the verdit is “Not Guilty,” they have power to put the costs on the prosecutor or the defendant or the county, or apportion them between prosecutor and defendant. If they cannot agree, there has to be a new trial.
In civil cases, the trial by the Traverse Jury is very much the same. The verdict of the jury is either “For the Plaintiff” or “For the Defendant." In case there is any damage, the jury also fixes the amount, which constitutes a part of the verdict. Jurymen get $2.00 a day.
The Sheriff.-The chief officer of the county is the sheriff. He is the executive power in the county. To him we look for the maintenance of the peace. To that end he has power to make arrests; but he exercises it chiefly when ordered by the court. He keeps criminals in the county jail until their trial, and afterwards, if they are convicted and sentenced to the county jail. If sentenced to the penitentiary, they are conducted there by him. If sentenced to be hanged, they are hanged by him. In case of riot or mob, he may arrest without a warrant. If on such occasions he needs assistance, he may call on the citizens of the county to help him, and