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New York, Judiciary (Hayward)

Gazetteer/Almanac
John Hayward, Gazetteer of the United States of America… (Philadelphia: James L. Gihon, 1854), 110-111.
Judiciary. — All judicial officers, except justices of the peace, are appointed by the executive, and hold office during good behavior, or until 60 years of age. The judicial power is vested, 1. In a Court for the Trial of Impeachments, which is composed of the members of the Senate, or a majority of them, with their president at the head of the court, — or, in his absence, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, —together with a major part of the judges of the latter court. This tribunal is a court of record, and its officers and clerk are those of the Senate. A party impeached cannot be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present; nor punished by this court farther than by sentence of removal from or disqualification for office, though still liable to indictment. 2. The Court of Appeals, which consists of eight judges, four of whom are elected by the people, (one every second year,) and hold office eight years ; and the other four are selected each year from those justices of the Supreme Court whose terms are soonest to expire. Six judges constitute a quorum; and the court holds four terms in each year. There must be one term in each judicial district every two years. 3. The Supreme and Circuit Courts, composed of justices elected by the people, — four in each of the eight judicial districts into which the state is divided, — one justice in each to retire from office every two years. One general term of the Supreme Court must be held annually in every county containing 40,000 inhabitants ; and in other counties, one in two years. Two special terms each year are held in every county ; also two Circuit Courts: of the latter, the city and county of New York has four. The Supreme Court has general jurisdiction in law and equity, and power to review judgments of the County Courts. At the general and special terms are heard all equity cases ; and the Circuit Courts are held exclusively for the trial of issues of fact. 4. County or Surrogates' Courts, with the ordinary jurisdiction of Probate Courts; and extending also to actions of debt, &c., involving not more than $2000, to actions for damages not above $500, for trespass or personal injury, and to replevin suits wherein not more than $1000 are claimed. They have likewise equity jurisdiction for the foreclosure of mortgages; for the sale of the real estate of infants; for the partition of lands; for the admeasurement of dower; for the custody of lunatics and inebriates ; and for the satisfaction of judgments where upwards of $75 are due on an unsatisfied execution. 5. Criminal Courts; viz., Courts of Oyer and Terminer, and the Court of Sessions. The former, which are held in each county, except that of New York, at the same time and place at which the Circuit Courts are held, consist each of a justice of the Supreme Court, the county judge, and the two justices of the peace who are members of the Court of Sessions. In the city and county of New York these tribunals are composed of a justice of the Supreme Court and any two of the following magistrates: judges of the Court of Common Pleas for that county, mayor, recorder, and aldermen. Courts of Sessions are held by the county judge, and the two justices of the peace chosen as members of said courts.

Besides the foregoing, there are in the city and county of New York a Superior Court and a Court of Common Pleas, each having three judges.

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