Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 1874/Article 1

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Article 1: Declaration of Rights

That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, WE DECLARE THAT -

Section 1: Equality and rights of men.

All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.

Section 2: Political powers inherent in the people. Their right to reform government.

All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper.

Section 3: Natural right of conscience and freedom of worship.

All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship.

Section 4: Religious opinions not to disqualify for holding office

Section 4. No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.

Section 5: Freedom of elections.

Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.

Section 6: Trial by jury.

Trial by jury shall be as heretofore, and the right thereof remain inviolate.

Section 7: Freedom of the press.

The printing press shall be free to every person who may undertake to examine the proceedings of the Legislature or any branch of government, and no law shall ever by made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. No conviction shall be had in any prosecution for the publication of papers relating to the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or to any other matter proper for public investigation or information, where the fact that such publication was not maliciously or negligently made shall be established to the satisfaction of the jury; and in all indictments for libels the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

Section 8: Searches and seizures limited.

The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things shall issue without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation subscribed to by the affiant.

Section 9: Rights of defence and privileges in criminal prosecutions.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath a right to be heard by himself and his counsel, to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to meet the witnesses face to face, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and in prosecutions by indictment or information, a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the vicinage; he cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor can he be deprived of his life, liberty or property, unless by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land.

Section 10: Criminal information. Twice in jeopardy. Appropriation of private property to public use.

No person shall, for any indictable offence, be proceeded against criminally by information, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war or public danger, or by leave of the court for oppression or misdemeanor in office. No person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall private property be taken or applied to public use, without authority of law and without just compensation being first made or secured.

Section 11: Administration of justice to be free. Suits against the Commonwealth.

All courts shall be open; and every man for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial or delay. Suits may be brought against the Commonwealth in such manner, in such courts and in such cases, as the Legislature may by law direct.

Section 12: Limitation upon suspension of laws.

No power of suspending laws shall be exercised unless by the Legislature or by its authority.

Section 13: Excessive bail or fines and cruel punishment forbidden.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted.

Section 14: Prisoners bailable; Habeas Corpus.

Section 14. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses when the proof is evident or presumption great: and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

Section 15: No commission of oyer and terminer to issue.

Section 15. No commission of oyer and terminer or jail delivery shall be issued.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 16: Imprisonment of insolvent debtors limited.

The person of a debtor, where there is not strong presumption of fraud, shall not be continued in prison after delivering up his estate for the benefit of his creditors in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.

Section 17: Laws ex post facto or implied contracts, irrevocable grants, forbidden.

No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, or making irrevocable any grant of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed.

Section 18: No legislative attainder of treason or felony.

No person shall be attained of treason or felony by the Legislature.

Section 19: Attainder shall not work corruption of blood or forfeiture beyond life. No forfeiture for suicide or in case of death by casualty.

No attainder shall work corruption of blood, nor, except during the life of the offender, forfeiture of estate to the Commonwealth. The estate of such persons as shall destroy their own lives shall descend or vest as in cases of natural death, and if any person shall be killed by casualty there shall be no forfeiture by reason thereof.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 20: Right of meeting and petition.

The citizens have a right in a peaceable manner to assemble together for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.

Section 21: Right to bear arms.

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

Section 22: Subordination of the military to the civil power.

No standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up without the consent of the Legislature, and the military shall in all cases and at all times be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Section 23: Quartering of troops in houses.

No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Section 24: No title of nobility to be created, etc. or office tenure beyond good behavior.

The Legislature shall not grant any title of nobility of hereditary distinction, nor create any office the appointment to which shall be for a longer term than during good behavior.

Section 25: Emigration permitted.

Emigration from the State shall not be prohibited.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 26: Everything in this Article excepted from the powers of government.

To guard against the transgressions of the high powers which we have delegated, we declare that everything in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government and shall forever remain inviolate.

Amendment of May 16, 1967