First Act of the Territorial Legislature, 1822

From:Acts of the Territorial Legislature and Acts of the Legislature, 1822-Present, Series S222

Full Transcript

(Chap. I.)
An Act
to regulate the Counties
and establish Inferior Courts
in the Territory of Florida
Passed 6th August 1822
August 12th: 1822 Approved

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1. Be it enacted by the Governor and
Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida,
That the aforesaid Territory shall be divided into four counties,
two in that part known as West Florida, and two in that part
known as East Florida, as follows, to wit, in West Florida all that
part of the Territory west of the Choctohacha river, shall constitute
the County of Escambia—all that part of the Territory East of the
said river to the Suwaney river shall constitute another county, to
be called Jackson—and that part of East Florida, lying north
of the river St. Johns, and north of a line, commencing at a place
called the Cowford, on said river, and terminating at the mouth of
the Suwaney river, shall constitute a County by the name of
Duval, and all the remaining portion of East Florida, shall be
constituted a County by the name of St. Johns.

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2. Be it further enacted, that, there shall be established two
Inferior Courts, to be called the circuit Court, and be composed of one
Judge each, who shall be appointed by the governor, and hold his office during
good behavior, subject however, to be removed by the Governor and Legis-
lative Council, or a majority thereof, and who before he enters upon the
duties hereafter assigned him, shall take an oath to support the Constitu-
tion of the United States, and faithfully execute the duties of his
office, without partiality, favour or affection.

3. Be it further enacted, that, the Inferior Courts so established,
shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction, over all sums above Twenty, and under
One Hundred Dollars, and appellate jurisdiction over, sums under Twenty
Dollars, and concurrent jurisdiction in all Civil Cases arising, under the
laws of this Territory over One Hundred Dollars, with the Superior Court,
both in law and equity—saving to all persons the right of appeal, or

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writ of error, from the Inferior to the Superior Court.

4. Be it further enacted, That if either party may desire to appeal
from the judgment of the Inferior Court he may file his bill of
exceptions to the opinion of said Court, praying that it may be signed,
sealed and made a part of the record, and it shall be the duty of
the Inferior Judge to inspect the said bill, and if it contain[s] the
evidence or point decided correctly and precisely, he shall sign, seal and
certify the same to the Superior Court.

5. Be it further enacted, That, should the party neglect to take an
appeal, he may at any time thereafter, before the final execution of the
judgment, procure a copy of the record, and if there be any error in
the proceedings, he may assign said error, and present it to the super-
ior court and should the Judge of said court be of opinion that
injustice had been done, or that there was an error in the proceeding,

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he may award supersedias, to stop the operation of the judgment,
until the matters thereof could be heard in the said Superior Court, the
supersedias shall be issued by the clerk of said Court, and be obeyed by
the clerk and sheriff of the Inferior Courts respectively.

6. Be it further enacted, that, the Superior Court shall have pow-
er to award a certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition which shall be obeyed
by the Inferior Courts respectively.

7. Be it further enacted, that, there shall be appointed by the
governor in each County a well qualified clerk, whose duty it shall
be to record all decrees, orders, judgments, and other papers required by
Law and to preserve all papers appertaining to suits in said Courts, and
to Docket all causes as required by Law, and who shall take an oath
faithfully to perform the duties which have and may hereafter be assigned
him, and execute bonds in the Secretary's office of the Territory, or such
other place as the Governor shall direct, in the penalty of Five Thous-

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and Dollars with approved security, conditioned for the performance of the
duties of their said offices.

8. Be it further enacted, that, the Inferior Courts shall be
the offices of original records, for deeds, mortages, and other instru-
ments, required by law to be recorded within their respective Counties.

9. Be it further enacted, that, the Inferior Courts shall
have power to fine and imprison for contempts of their authority,
provided the fines do not exceed Twenty Dollars, or the imprison-
ment six days.

10. Be it further enacted, that there shall be appointed a
Sheriff for each County, who shall perform all the duties required
by law, and before entering upon the duties of his office, shall take an
oath faithfully to execute the duties required of him, without respect

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of persons, and execute Bond in the office of the Secretary of the Terri-
tory in the penalty of Five Thousand Dollars, with approved security,
conditioned for the performance of his said office, or at such other
place as the Governor shall appoint, which shall not be void upon
the payment of the penalty, but remain in full force; and the
Sheriff and his securities shall be liable to the suite of any person
upon failure or neglect of his said duties.

11. Be it further enacted, that, all causes now depending and
undetermined in any of the Courts in this Territory, shall be trans-
ferred at the election of the Plaintiff or Complainant, to either the
Inferior or Superior Court-and it shall be the duty of the Clerk
of any of the existing Courts to deliver over all papers relating to said
causes, to the clerks of the aforesaid Courts, by the direction of the
Plaintiff or Complainant, his or her agent or attorney and take
their receipt therefor.

12. Be it further enacted, That, it shall be the duty of the

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Judge appointed in West Florida, to hold four terms in each year,
in Pensacola, and two terms at the Big Spring, on the Chipola, and the
Judge in East Florida, to hold four terms in St. Augustine-and at
Jacksonville near the Cowford on St. John's river, two terms-to com
mence at Pensacola on the first Mondays of September, December,
March and June, and at the Big Spring, on the Chipola, in Jackson
County, on the third Mondays of October and April-and at St. Augustine
on the first Mondays in December, February, May and August-and
at Jacksonville near the Cowford, on the first Mondays in March
and November.

13. Be it further enacted, that, the said Inferior Courts shall
have criminal jurisdiction, over all offences, against the Territory, in the
Counties of Jackson and Duval-and that whenever any question of

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Law shall be involved, of difficulty, it shall be certified and adjourned
over to the Judge of the Superior Court, after verdict and the sentence
of the Inferior Judge, respited until the opinion of the next Superior
Court shall be given, and the prisoner detained in custody, until it shall
be made known to that Court.

14. Be it further enacted, that there shall be appointed two
Solicitors, one for each of the Circuits aforesaid, who shall act as Attorney
for the Counties and Circuit Courts, and shall receive each Three hundred
Dollars as a compensation annually, and Five Dollars for every judgment upon an
indictment for crimes, and misdemeanors and motions, to be collected out
of the judgment against the Defendant, and should it not be recovered
of the Defendant, to be paid by the Territory.

15. Be it further enacted, that the Judges aforesaid, shall
receive for their Salary, Twelve Hundred Dollars, to be paid quart-

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erly, out of the Treasury of the Territory upon a
warrant from the Governor.

[Left]
Test,
John Coppinger Connor Clerk of the legislative Council

[Right]
J.C. Bronaugh
President of the Legislative Council
August 12th: 1822 Approved
Wm. P. Duval
Governor of the Territory
of Florida