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State Constitution > Judiciary Power
Established October 31, 1783 Effective June 2, 1784 As Subsequently Amended and in Force January 2007
 

[Art.] 72-a. [Supreme and Superior Courts.] The judicial power of the state shall be vested in the supreme court, a trial court of general jurisdiction known as the superior court, and such lower courts as the legislature may establish under Article 4th of Part 2.

November 16, 1966

[Art.] 73. [Tenure of Office To Be Expressed in Commissions; Judges to Hold Office During Good Behavior, etc.; Removal.] The tenure that all commissioned officers shall have by law in their offices shall be expressed in their respective commissions, and all judicial officers duly appointed, commissioned and sworn, shall hold their offices during good behavior except those for whom a different provision is made in this constitution. The governor with consent of the council may remove any commissioned officer for reasonable cause upon the address of both houses of the legislature, provided nevertheless that the cause for removal shall be stated fully and substantially in the address and shall not be a cause which is a sufficient ground for impeachment, and provided further that no officer shall be so removed unless he shall have had an opportunity to be heard in his defense by a joint committee of both houses of the legislature.

June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 changing president to governor.
Amended 1966 spelling out procedures for removal from office

[Art.] 73-a. [Supreme Court, Administration.] The chief justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of all the courts. He shall, with the concurrence of a majority of the supreme court justices, make rules governing the administration of all courts in the state and the practice and procedure to be followed in all such courts. The rules so promulgated shall have the force and effect of law.

November 22, 1978

[Art.] 74. [Judges to Give Opinions, When.] Each branch of the legislature as well as the governor and council shall have authority to require the opinions of the justices of the supreme court upon important questions of law and upon solemn occasions.

June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 changing president to governor.
Amended 1958 substituting supreme court for superior court.

[Art.] 75. [Justices of Peace Commissioned for Five Years.] In order that the people may not suffer from the long continuance in place of any justice of the peace who shall fail in discharging the important duties of his office with ability and fidelity, all commissions of justice of the peace shall become void at the expiration of five years from their respective dates, and upon the expiration of any commission, the same may if necessary be renewed or another person appointed as shall most conduce to the well being of the state.

June 2, 1784

[Art.] 76 [Divorce and Probate Appeals, Where Tried.] All causes of marriage, divorce and alimony; and all appeals from the respective judges of probate shall be heard and tried by the superior court until the legislature shall by law make other provision.

June 2, 1784

[Art.] 77. [Jurisdiction of Justices in Civil Causes.] The general court are empowered to give to justices of the peace jurisdiction in civil causes, when the damages demanded shall not exceed one hundred dollars and title of real estate is not concerned; but with right of appeal, to either party, to some other court. And the general court are further empowered to give to police courts original jurisdiction to try and determine, subject to right of appeal and trial by jury, all criminal causes wherein the punishment is less than imprisonment in the state prison.

September 5, 1792
Amended 1877 substituting $100 for 4 pounds
Amended 1912 giving jurisdiction to police courts.

[Art.] 78. [Judges and Sheriffs, When Disqualified by Age.] No person shall hold the office of judge of any court, or judge of probate, or sheriff of any county, after he has attained the age of seventy years.

September 5, 1792

[Art.] 79. [Judges and Justices Not to Act as Counsel.] No judge of any court, or justice of the peace, shall act as attorney, or be of counsel, to any party, or originate any civil suit, in matters which shall come or be brought before him as judge, or justice of the peace.

September 5, 1792

[Art.] 80. [Jurisdiction and Term of Probate Courts.] All matters relating to the probate of wills, and granting letters of administration, shall be exercised by the judges of probate, in such manner as the legislature have directed, or may hereafter direct: And the judges of probate shall hold their courts at such place or places, on such fixed days, as the conveniency of the people may require; and the legislature from time to time appoint.

June 2, 1784
Amended 1792 rewording section generally.

[Art.] 81. [Judges and Registers of Probate Not to Act as Counsel.] No judge, or register of probate, shall be of counsel, act as advocate, or receive any fees as advocate or counsel, in any probate business which is pending, or may be brought into any court of probate in the county of which he is judge or register.

September 5, 1792

 

 
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