IN.gov - Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Explore Indiana History by Topic > Indiana Documents Leading to Statehood > Constitution of 1851 as originally written > Article 7 - Judicial Article 7 - Judicial

Section 1. The Judicial power of the State shall be vested in a Supreme Court, in Circuit Courts, and in such inferior Courts as the General Assembly may establish.

Section 2. The Supreme Court shall consist of not less than three, nor more than five Judges; a majority of whom shall form a quorum. They shall hold their offices for six years, if they so long behave well.

Section 3. The State shall be divided into as many districts as there are Judges of the Supreme Court; and such districts shall be formed of contiguous territory, as nearly equal in population, as, without dividing a county, the same can be made. One of said Judges shall be elected from each district, and reside therein; but said Judges shall be elected by the electors of the State at large.

Section 4. The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction, coextensive with the limits of the State, in appeals and writs of error, under such regulations and restrictions as may be prescribed by law. It shall also have such original jurisdiction as the General Assembly may confer.

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall, upon the decision of every case, give a statement in writing of each question arising in the record of such case, and the decision of the Court thereon.

Section 6. The General Assembly shall provide, by law, for the speedy publication of the decisions of the Supreme Court, made under this Constitution; but no judge shall be allowed to report such decisions.

Section 7. There shall be elected by the voters of the State, a Clerk of the Supreme Court, who shall hold his office four years, and whose duties shall be prescribed by law.

Section 8. The Circuit Courts shall each consist of one Judge and shall have such civil and criminal jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law.

Section 9. The State shall, from time to time, be divided into judicial circuits; and a judge for each circuit shall be elected by the voters thereof. He shall reside within the circuit, and shall hold his office for the term of six years, if he so long behave well.

Section 10. The General Assembly may provide, by law, that the Judge of one circuit may hold the Courts of another circuit, in cases of necessity or convenience; and in case of temporary inability of any Judge, from sickness or other cause, to hold the Courts in his circuit, provision may be made, by law, for holding such courts.

Section 11. There shall be elected, in each judicial circuit, by the voters thereof, a Prosecuting Attorney, who shall hold his office for two years.

Section 12. Any Judge, or Prosecuting Attorney, who shall have been convicted of corruption or other high crime, may, on information in the name of the State, be removed from office by the Supreme Court, or in such other manner as may be prescribed by law.

Section 13. The judges of the Supreme Court and Circuit Courts shall, at stated times, receive a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

Section 14. A competent number of Justices of the Peace shall be elected, by the voters in each township in the several counties. They shall continue in office four years, and their powers and duties shall be prescribed by law.

Section 15. All judicial officers shall be conservators of the peace in their respective jurisdictions.

Section 16. No person elected to any judicial office, shall, during the term for which he shall have been elected, be eligible to any office of trust or profit, under the State, other than a judicial office.

Section 17. The General Assembly may modify, or abolish, the Grand Jury system.

Section 18. All criminal prosecutions shall be carried on, in the name, and by the authority of the State; and the style of all process shall be: "The State of Indiana."

Section 19. Tribunals of conciliation may be established, with such powers and duties as shall be prescribed by law; or the powers and duties of the same may be conferred upon other Courts of Justice; but such tribunals or other Courts, when sitting as such, shall have no power to render judgment to be obligatory on the parties, unless they voluntarily submit their matters of difference, and agree to abide the judgment of such tribunal or Court.

Section 20. The General Assembly, at its first session after the adoption of this Constitution, shall provide for the appointment of three Commissioners, whose duty it shall be to revise, simplify, and abridge, the rules, practice, pleadings, and forms, of the Courts of justice. And they shall provide for abolishing the distinct forms of action at law, now in use; and that justice shall be administered in a uniform mode of pleading, without distinction between law and equity. And the General Assembly may, also, make it the duty of said Commissioners to reduce into a systematic code, the general statute law of the State; and said Commissioners shall report the result of their labors to the General Assembly, with such recommendations and suggestions, as to abridgement and amendment, as to said Commissioners may seem necessary or proper. Provision shall be made, by law, for filling vacancies, regulating the tenure of office, and the compensation of said Commissioners.

Section 21. Every person of good moral character, being a voter, shall be entitled to admission to practice law in all Courts of justice.