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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about The Government Class Book.

Sec.10.  If the parties are ready for trial, the justice proceeds to try the issue.  If the witnesses have not been subpoened and are not in attendance, the cause is adjourned to a future day; and the justice, at the request of either party, issues a subpoena, which is a writ commanding persons to attend in court as witnesses.  The witnesses on both sides are examined by the justice, who decides according to law and equity, as the right of the case may appear, in which he is said to give judgment.  To the amount of the judgment, whether against the plaintiff or the defendant, are added the costs; for it is considered to be just that the party in default shall pay the expense of the suit.  The costs consist of the fees or compensation to be paid the justice, constable and witnesses for their services.

Sec.11.  If a defendant does not appear at the time of trial, the justice may proceed to try the cause, and decide upon the testimony of the plaintiff’s witnesses.  If a plaintiff does not answer or appear when his name is called in court, the justice enters judgment of nonsuit.  A plaintiff may, at any time before judgment is rendered, discontinue or withdraw his action, in which case also judgment of nonsuit is given.  In cases of nonsuit, and also when no cause of action is found, judgment is rendered against the plantiff for the costs.

Sec.12.  A debtor may avoid the expense of a lawsuit by confessing judgment.  The parties go before a justice, and the debtor acknowledges or confesses the claim of the creditor, and consents that the justice enter judgment accordingly.  In some states, the confession and consent must be in writing, and signed by the debtor.  The amount for which judgment may be confessed is limited by law, but is, in some states at least, and perhaps in most if not all of them, larger than the sum to which the jurisdiction of a justice is limited in ordinary suits.

Chapter XVIII.

Trial by Jury; Execution; Attachment; Appeals; Arrest of Offenders.

Sec.1.  The administration of justice in courts of law is not left entirely to the justices and judges.  Parties may not always have sufficient confidence in the ability, honesty, and impartiality of the justice by whom a suit is to be tried, to intrust their interests to his judgment.  Therefore the constitutions of all the states guaranty to every person the right of trial by a jury.  This right has been enjoyed in England many centuries.  It was established here by our ancestors, who were principally from that country.

Sec.2.  A jury is a number of men qualified and selected as the law prescribes, and sworn to try a matter of fact, and to declare the truth on the evidence given in the case.  This declaring of the truth is called a verdict, which is from the Latin verum dictum, a true declaration or saying.  A jury in a justice’s court consists in most or all of the states, as is believed, of six men; in the higher courts, of twelve men, who are generally required to be freeholders.  The manner of selecting the jurors is not the same in all the states.

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