Sec.8. Another county officer is a sheriff, whose duty it is to attend all the courts held in the county; to execute all warrants, writs, and other process directed to him by the courts; to apprehend persons charged with crime; and to take charge of the jail and of the prisoners therein. It is his duty, also, to preserve the public peace; and he may cause all persons who break the public peace within his knowledge or view, to give bonds, with sureties, for keeping the peace, and for appearing at the next court to be held in the county, and to commit them to jail if they refuse to give such bonds. A sheriff is assisted by deputies.
Sec.9. There are in each county one or more coroners, whose principal duty is, to inquire into the cause of the death of persons who have died by violence, or suddenly, and by means unknown. Notice of the death of a person having so died is given to a coroner, who goes to the place of such dead person. A jury is summoned to attend the examination; witnesses are examined; and the jury give their opinion in writing as to the cause and manner of the death. Such inquiry is called a coroner’s inquest. In one or two states, the office of coroner, it is believed, does not exist; in which case the inquest is held by a justice of the peace, or some other officer.
Sec.10. An attorney, elected or appointed for that purpose, attends all courts in which persons are tried in the county for crimes committed therein, and conducts the prosecutions in the trial of the offenders. In states where there is no attorney-general for the state, the prosecuting attorney for each county serves in this capacity, in trials in which the state is a party. As all crimes and breaches of the peace are considered as committed against the state, and prosecuted in its name, this attorney is sometimes called state’s attorney.
Sec.11. In some states there is a county-surveyor, whose duties within his county are similar in their nature to those of a state surveyor-general.
Sec.12. County officers are generally elected by the people of the county. Some of them are, in some of the states, appointed by some authority prescribed by the constitution or laws of the state.
Towns and Town Officers. Powers and Duties of Town Officers.
Sec.1. The districts of territory into which counties are divided, are, in some states, called towns. In others they are called, and perhaps more properly, townships; and the name of town is given to an incorporated village, or a city. We shall, however, in this work, apply to these territorial divisions the shorter name of towns, as they are called in most of the old states.