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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 841   View pdf image (33K)
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[Nov. 15] DEBATES 841

After careful consideration of Commis-
sion on Judicial Disability provisions of the
present Constitution, as well as the Study
Commission draft of its section on removal
of judges, and hearing a wealth of . testi-
mony from proponents of delegate proposals
and others on this subject, the committee
recommendation adopts the so-called Cali-
fornia Plan. This recommendation spells
out the essential details of the plan, but
the provisions covering this proposal again
point up that the suggested Article 5 must
be considered as a package, because the
broad rule-making power vested in the
Court of Appeals by section 531 of the
recommendation is needed to implement this
plan.

The committee recommendation provides
that the chief judge of the Court of Ap-
peals be administrative head of the judicial
system.

The power thus vested in the chief judge
coupled with the power of the highest court
to provide by rule for other administra-
tive judges to be appointed by the chief
judge is essential to the efficient and 'or-
derly functioning of the proposed unified
courts.

Without mandating the administrative
responsibility and granting power to make
the system operable, our recommendation
would have been incomplete.

In drafting its recommendation the Com-
mittee has thus attempted to adopt a mid-
dle ground; that is, the general approach
wherever possible, but essential detail in
those areas where guidelines for the Gen-
eral Assembly and the Court in exercising
its rule-making power were deemed basic
to accomplish the desired improvements.

The organization of the committee rec-
ommendation is patterned generally on
Article V drafted by the Constitutional
Convention Commission. A brief explana-
tion of the recommendation by comparison
with the Study Commission draft and the
corresponding provision in the present
Constitution may be helpful to the Com-
mittee of the Whole.

In this brief review, therefore, ladies
and gentlemen of the Committee of the
Whole, I now would like to direct your
attention to those sections of the Com-
mittee Recommendation JB-1 Nos. 501
through 511 which deal with the vesting of
the judicial power of the State, the composi-
tion of the courts and their jurisdiction.

These eleven sections initially vest the
judicial power of this State exclusively in

the four tier system composed of two ap-
pellate courts and two trial courts namely
the Court of Appeals, intermediate court of
appeals superior court and district court.

In this regard you may note it was the
majority view of our Committee that the
name Court of Appeals be retained and that
the name supreme court suggested by the
Commission draft not be used; retaining
the name of the Court of Appeals of course
necessitated in our view that intermediate
be used to further identify the second tier
court, namely, the intermediate appellate
courts.

The superior court is the trial court,
whose original jurisdiction replaces the one
now named circuit court, and district court
replaces the trial magistrate system and
people's court where they exist in the sev-
eral jurisdictions.

Section 5.02 vests in the Court of Ap-
peals such appellate jurisdiction as pre-
scribed to it by law and the original juris-
diction prescribed by this constitution. In
that regard there is slight variance from
the suggested draft language in the Com-
mission's recommendation. It seemed desir-
able from the viewpoint of the majority of
our Committee that appellate jurisdiction
be vested exclusively in the highest tribu-
nal of the State except in the areas in
which it is given original jurisdiction by
the Constitution. Those three instances be-
ing first with reference to reapportionment,
redistricting, second the matter of manner
of succession in the event of vacancy in
the office of the governor, and third, in
the manner which this draft is adopted will
delegate to the highest court, that is deal-
ing with the matter of retirement, censure,
and removal of judges.

The composition of the Court of Appeals
remains the same as at present namely
seven judges, and the only addition we
made in that section is to provide that one
of those shall be designated chief judge as
is subsequently provided, be appointed by
the Governor.

The intermediate appellate court shall
have the jurisdiction prescribed by law on
the basis of the recommendation of the
Majority Report.

In that regard it is anticipated that the
work of this court must necessarily be ex-
panded and conceivably it may be desirable
to vest in that court original jurisdiction
in some limited areas, for instance, as has
been suggested, possibly in the area of dis-
barment proceedings.

 

 

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 841   View pdf image (33K)
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