United States Statutes at Large/Volume 3/13th Congress/3rd Session/Chapter 98
Act of April 29, 1816, ch. 154.
Illinois territory to be divided into three circuits.Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Illinois territory shall be divided into three circuits in the manner and for the purposes hereinafter mentioned.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the counties of Madison and St. Clair shall compose the first circuit, the counties of Randolph and Johnson shall composeCounties composing each circuit. the second circuit, and the counties of Gallatin and Edwards shall compose the third circuit.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the judges heretofore appointed, or which may hereafter be appointed for the Illinois territory, under the authority of the government of the United States, shall, previous to the time prescribed by this act for holding the first court in the said territory,Allotment of circuits. proceed to allot amongst themselves the circuit in which they shall respectively preside, which allotment shall continue in force for and during the term of one year thereafter; and such allotment shall be annually renewed, and which allotment, in writing, signed by the said judges, or a majority of them, shall be entered of record in the said courts, respectively, by the clerks thereof, at the commencement of the term next after such allotment shall have been made.
Two terms to be held annually in each county.Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the said judges respectively to hold two terms annually in each county in their respective circuits, in conformity with the preceding sections of this act, which shall commence at the times hereinafter mentioned, that is to say, in the county of Madison on the last Mondays in May and September, in the county of St. Clair on the second Mondays in June and October, in the county of Randolph on the third Mondays in June and October, in the county of Johnson on the fourth Mondays in June and October, in the county of Gallatin on the first Mondays in July and November, and in the county of Edwards on the second Mondays in July and November, in each year, and the said courts shall be styled circuit courts for the counties in which such courts shall be held respectively.
Where courts are to be holden.
Extent of jurisdiction.Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the said courts shall be holden at the respective courthouses of the said counties, and the said judges respectively shall in their respective circuits have jurisdiction over all causes, matters or things at common law or in chancery, arising in each of said counties, except in cases where the debt or demand shall be under twenty dollars, in which cases they shall have no jurisdiction.
Authority of the judges.Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That the said judges shall be conservators of the peace, and the said circuit courts, in term time, or the judges thereof in vacation, shall have power to award injunctions, writs of ne exeat, habeas corpus, and all other writs and process that may be necessary to the execution of the power with which they are or may be vested.
Circuit courts empowered to try felonies, &c.Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the said circuit courts respectively shall have power to hear and determine all treasons, felonies, and other crimes, and misdemeanors that may be committed within the respective counties aforesaid, and that may be brought before them respectively, by any rules or regulations prescribed by law.Suits to be tried in counties where they originate.Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That all suits shall be tried in the counties in which they originate, unless in cases that are or may be specially provided for by law.
Circuit judges not attending, &c., courts to be adjourned.Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That if the circuit judge shall not attend on the first day of any court, or if a quorum of the court hereinafter mentioned shall not attend in like manner, such court shall stand adjourned from day to day until a court shall be made, if that shall happen before four o’clock in the afternoon of the third day.
Undetermined causes may stand continued until next term.Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That if either a circuit court, or the court hereinafter mentioned shall not sit in any term, or shall not continue to sit the whole term, or before the end of the term shall not have heard and determined all matters ready for its decision, all such matters and things depending in court, and undetermined, shall stand continued until the next succeeding term.
Temporary impediments after the courts are opened, not to prevent sittings to the end of the term.Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That if from any cause either of the said courts shall not sit on any day in a term after it shall have been opened, there shall be no discontinuance, but so soon as the cause is removed, the court shall proceed to business until the end of the term, if the business depending before it be not sooner despatched.
Term to consist of six days.Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That the judicial term of the said circuit courts shall consist of six days in each county, during which time the court shall sit, unless the business before it shall be sooner determined.
Clerk to be appointed by the circuit court.
Duties.Sec. 13. And be it further enacted, That a clerk shall be appointed by the said circuit courts respectively in each county, whose duty it shall be to issue process in all cases originating in his county, to keep and preserve the records of all the proceedings of the court therein, and to do and perform in the county all the duties which may be enjoined on him by law.
Cases depending in the courts of common pleas to proceed in the usual legal manner.Sec. 14. And be it further enacted, That in the cases that were on the thirty-first day of December, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fourteen, depending in the courts of common pleas in the respective counties, the parties or their attorneys shall be permitted to take all such measures for bringing them to trial that might have been taken if no change had taken place, and the said circuit courts respectively shall as far as possible proceed to the trial thereof in the same manner that the said courts of common pleas might legally have done, has no other change than a mere alteration of the terms taken place.
The judges, or a majority of them, to constitute a court.Sec. 15. And be it further enacted, That the said judges appointed as aforesaid, or a majority of them, shall constitute a court, to be styled the court of appeals for Illinois territory, and shall hold two sessions annually at the town of Kaskaskia, which shall commence on the first Mondays in March and August, in every year, and continue in session until the business before them shall be completed, which court shall have appellate jurisdiction only, and to which appeals shall be allowed, and from which writs of error according to the principles of the common law, and conformably to the laws and usages of the said territory, may be prosecuted for the reversal of the judgments and decrees as well of the said circuit courts, as of any inferior courts which now are or may hereafter be established by the laws of the said territory.
Court of appeals to appoint a clerk.Sec. 16. And be it further enacted, That a clerk shall be appointed by the said court of appeals, whose duty it shall be to issue process in all cases brought before the said court where process ought to issue, and to keep and preserve the records of all the proceedings of the said court therein, and to do and perform all such duties as may be enjoined on him by law.
Cases depending in the general court to be decided in the usual manner.Sec. 17. And be it further enacted, That in all cases that were on the said thirty-first day of December, eighteen hundred and fourteen, depending in the general court of said territory, the parties or their attorneys shall be permitted to take all such measures for bringing them to a final decision that might have been taken if no change had taken place, and the said court of appeals shall, as far as practicable, proceed to the final determination thereof in the same manner that the said general court might legally have done had no other change than a mere alteration of the terms taken place.
Appeals may be prayed, &c., to the court of appeals.Sec. 18. And be it further enacted, That appeals may be prayed and writs of error taken out upon matters of law only, in all cases wherein they are now allowed by law, to the said court of appeals, and all writs of error shall be issued by the clerk of the said court of appeals, and made returnable to the said court at Kaskaskia, but no question upon appeal or writ of error shall be decided without the concurrence of two judges at least.
Legislature empowered to alter the time specified in this act.Sec. 19. And be it further enacted, That the legislature of the said territory shall have power to change the times of holding any of the courts required to be holden by this act: Provided however, That the said legislature shall not have authority to increase the number of sessions to be held by the said courts respectively, in conformity with the provisions of the preceding sections of this act.
Territorial judges not to be associated with the United States’ judges.Sec. 20. And be it further enacted, That no judge or justice appointed under the authority of the government of the said territory, shall be associated with the aforesaid United States’ judges, when sitting as circuit court judges as aforesaid. This act to commence and be in force from and after the first day of April next.
Approved, March 3, 1815.