North Carolina. Secretary of State.

North Carolina manual [serial] (Volume 1967) online

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the administration of the criminal laws of the State.

ARTICLE IV

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

Section 1. Division of judicial power. The judicial power of the
State shall, except as provided in Section 3 of this Article, be vested
in a Court for the Trial of Impeachments and in a General Court
of Justice. The General Assembly shall have no power to deprive



Constitution 65

the judicial department of any power or jurisdiction which right-
fully pertains to it as a co-ordinate department of the government,
nor shall it establish or authorize any courts other than as per-
mitted by this Article.

Sec. 2. General Court of Justice. The General Court of Justice
shall constitute a unified judicial system for purposes of jurisdiction,
operation, and administration; and shall consist of an appellate
division, a Superior Court division, and a District Court division.

Sec. 3. Judicial powers of administrative agencies. The General
Assembly may vest in administrative agencies established pursuant
to law such judicial powers as may be reasonably necessary as an
incident to the accomplishment of the purposes for which the
agencies were created. Appeals from administrative agencies shall
be to the General Court of Justice.

Sec. 4. Court for the Trial of Impeachments. The House of Rep-
resentatives solely shall have the power of impeaching. The Court,
for the Trial of Impeachments shall be the Senate. When the
Governor or Lieutenant-Governor is impeached, the Chief Justice
shall preside over the Court. A majority of the members shall be
necessary to a quorum, and no person shall be convicted without the
concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators present. Judgment upon
conviction shall not extend beyond removal from and disqualifica-
tion to hold office in this State, but the party shall be liable to
indictment and punishment according to law.

Sec. 5. Appellate Division. The Appellate Division of the Gen-
eral Court of Justice shall consist of the Supreme Court and, when
established by the General Assembly, an intermediate Court of
Appeals.

Sec. 6. Supreme Court.

(1) Membership. The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief
Justice and six Associate Justices, but the General Assembly may
increase the number of Associate Justices to not more than eight.
In the event the Chief Justice is unable, on account of absence or
temporary incapacity, to perform any of the duties placed upon
him, the senior Associate Justice available is authorized to discharge
such duties. The General Assembly may provide for the retirement
of members of the Supreme Court and for the recall of such retired
members to serve on that Court in lieu of any active member thereof
who is, for any cause, temporarily incapacitated.



i;i; Nm;iii Carolina Mantai

(2) Sessions of the Supreme Court. The sessions of the Supreme
Court shall he held in the City of Raleigh unless otherwise provided
by the General Assembly.

See 6A. Court of Appeals. The structure, organization, and
composition of the Court of Appeals, if established, shall be
determined by the General Assembly. The Court shall have not
less than five members, and may be authorized to sit in divisions,
or other than en banc. Sessions of the Court shall be held at such
limes and places as the General Assembly may prescribe. The
Genera] Assembly may provide for the retirement of members of
i he Court oi Appeals and for the recall of such retired members
to serve on that Court in lieu of any active member thereof who is.
tor any cause, temporarily incapacitated

Sec. 7. Superior Courts.

ill Superior Court districts. The General Assembly shall, from
time to time, divide the State into a convenient number of Superior
Court judicial districts and shall provide for the election of one or
more Superior Court Judges for each district. Each regular Supe-
rior Court Judge shall reside in the district for which he is elected.
The General Assembly may provide by general law for the selection
or appointment of special or emergency Superior Court Judges not
selected for a particular judicial district.

i'2) Open at all times; sessions for trial of cases. The Superior
Courts shall lie open at all times for the transaction of all business
except the trial of issues of fact requiring a jury. Regular trial
sessions of the Superior Court shall be held at times fixed pursuant
to a calendar of courts promulgated by the Supreme Court. At least
two sessions for the trial of jury cases shall be held annually in
each county.

i •". i Clerks. A Clerk of the Superior Court for each county shall
he elected for a term of four years by the qualified voters thereof.
at the time and in the manner prescribed by law for the election of
members of the General Assembly. If the office of Clerk of the
Superior Court becomes vacant otherwise than by the expiration
if the term, or if the people fail to elect, the senior regular resident
Judge of the Superior Court serving the county shall appoint to
fill the vacancy until an election can be regularly held.

Sec. s. District Courts. The General Assemblv shall, from time



CONSTITUTION 67

to time, divide the State into a convenient number of local court
districts and shall prescribe where the District Courts shall sit;
but a District Court must sit in at least one place in each county.
District Judges shall be elected for each district for a term of four
years, in a manner provided by law. When more than one District
Judge is authorized and elected for a district, the Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court shall designate one of the judges as Chief Dis-
trict Judge. Every District Judge shall reside in the district for
which he is elected. For each county, the senior regular resident
Judge of the Superior Court serving the county shall appoint for a
term of two years, from nominations submitted by the Clerk of
the Superior Court of the county, one or more Magistrates who
shall be officers of the District Court. The number of District
Judges and Magistrates shall, from time to time, be determined by
the General Assembly. Vacancies in the office of District Judge
shall be rilled, for the unexpired term, in a manner provided by law.
Vacancies in the office of Magistrate shall be rilled, for the unex-
pired term, in the manner provided for original appointment to the
office.

Sec. 9. Assignment of Judges. The Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court, acting in accordance with rules of the Supreme Court, shall
make assignments of Judges of the Superior Court and may
transfer District Judges from one district to another for temporary
or specialized duty. The principle of rotating Superior Court Judges
among the various districts of a division is a salutary one and shall
be observed. For this purpose the General Assembly may divide
the State into a number of judicial divisions. Subject, to the general
supervision of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, assignment
of District Judges within each local court district shall be mad<
by the Chief District Judge.

Sec. 10. Jurisdiction of the General Court of Justice.

( 1 I Supreme Court. The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction
to review upon appeal any decision of the courts below, upon any
matter of law or legal inference. The jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court over "issues of fact" and "questions of fact" shall be the same
exercised by it prior to the adoption of this Article, and the Court
shall have the power to issue any remedial writs necessary to giv<
it a general supervision and control over the proceedings of th<
other courts. The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction



68 North Carolina Manual

to hear claims against the State, but its decisions shall be merely
recommendatory; no process in the nature of execution shall issue
thereon; the decisions shall be reported to the next Session of the
General Assembly for its action.

(2) Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals, if established,
shall have such appellate jurisdiction as the General Assembly
may provide.

( M ) Superior Court. Except as otherwise provided by the Gen-
eral Assembly, the Superior Court shall have original general
jurisdiction throughout the State. The Clerks of the Superior
Court shall have such jurisdiction and powers as the General
Assembly shall provide by general law uniformly applicable in
every county of the State.

1 4 ) District Courts; Magistrates. The General Assembly shall,
by general law uniformly applicable in every local court district of
the State, prescribe the jurisdiction and powers of the District
Courts and Magistrates.

(5) Waiver. The General Assembly may by general law provide
that the jurisdictional limits may be waived in civil cases.

(6) Appeals. The General Assembly shall, by general law, pro-
vide a proper system of appeals: Provided, that appeals from Magis-
trates shall be heard de novo, with the right of trial by jury as
defined in this Constitution and the laws of this State.

Sec. 11. Forms of art ion; rules of procedure.

(.1) Forms of action. There shall be in this State but one form
of action for the enforcement or protection of private rights or the
redress of private wrongs, which shall be denominated a civil
action, and in which there shall be a right to have issues of fact
tried before a jury. Every action prosecuted by the people of the
State as a party against a person charged with a public offense, for
the punishment of the same, shall be termed a criminal action.

( i' ) Rules of procedure. The Supreme Court shall have exclusive
authority to make rules of procedure and practice for the appellate
division. The General Assembly shall have authority to make rules
of procedure and practice for the Superior Court and District Court
divisions, and the General Assembly may delegate this authority to
the Supreme Court. No rule of procedure or practice shall abridge
substantive rights or abrogate or limit the right of trial by jury.
If the General Assembly should delegate to the Supreme Court the



Constitution 69

rule-making power, the General Assembly may, nevertheless, alter,
amend, or repeal any rule of procedure or practice adopted by the
Supreme Court for the Superior Court or District Court divisions.

Sec. 12. Waiver of jury trial. In all issues of fact joined in any
court, the parties in any civil case may waive the right to have the
same determined by a jury; in which case the finding of the judge
upon the facts shall have the force and effect of a verdict by a jury.

Sec. 13. Administration. The General Assembly shall provide
for an administrative office of the courts to carry out the provisions
of this Article.

Sec. 14. Terms of office and election of Justices of the Supreme
Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, and Judges of the Superior
Court. Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of
Appeals, and regular judges of the Superior Court shall be elected
by the qualified voters and shall hold office for terms of eight
years and until their successors are elected and qualified. Justices
of the Supreme Court and judges of the Court of Appeals shall be
elected by the qualified voters of the State. Regular Judges of the
Superior Court may be elected by the qualified voters of the State
or by the voters of their respective districts, as the General As-
sembly may provide.

Sec. 15. Removal of judges and clerks.

(1) Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of
Appeals, and Judges of Superior Court. Any Justice of the Su-
preme Court, Judge of the Court of Appeals, or Judge of the
Superior Court may be removed from office for mental or physical
incapacity by Joint Resolution of two-thirds of both houses of
the General Assembly. Any Justice or Judge against whom the
General Assembly may be about to proceed shall receive notice
thereof, accompanied by a copy of the causes alleged for his re-
moval, at least twenty days before the day on which either house
of the General Assembly shall act. thereon. Removal from office
for any other cause shall be by impeachment.

(2) District Judges and Magistrates. The General Assembly shall
provide by general law for the removal of District Judges and
Magistrates for misconduct or mental or physical incapacity.

(3) Clerks. Any Clerk of the Superior Court may be removed



70 Xi'i; "i ii C \i<i'i i \A Mani at.

from office for misconduct or mental or physical incapacity by the
senior regular resident Superior Court Judge serving the county.
Any Clerk against whom proceedings are instituted shall receive
written notice of the charges against him at least ten days before
the hearing upon the charges. Clerks of District Courts shall be
removed for such causes and in such manner as the General Assem-
bly may provide by general law. Any Clerk so removed from office
shall be entitled to an appeal as provided by law.

Sec. Hi. Solicitors and solidtori/il districts.

i 1 i Solicitors. The General Assembly shall, trout time to time,
divide the State into a convenient number of solicitorial districts,
for each of which a Solicitor shall be chosen for a term of four
years by the qualified voters thereof, as is prescribed for members
of the General Assembly. When the Attorney General determines
that there is serious imbalance in the work loads of the Solicitors or
that there is other good cause, he shall recommend redisricting to
the General Assembly. The Solicitor shall advise the officers of
justice in his district, be responsible for the prosecution on behalf
of the State of all criminal actions in the Superior Courts of his
district, perform such duties related to appeals therefrom as the
Attorney General may require, and perform such other duties as the
Genera] Assembly may prescribe.

( l' ) Prosecution in District Court division. Criminal actions in
the District Court division shall be prosecuted in such manner as the
Genera] Assembly may prescribe by general law uniformly applicable
in every local court district of the State.

Sec. 17. Vacancies. Unless otherwise provided in this Article,
all vacancies occurring in the offices provided for by this Article
shall be filled by appointment of the Governor, and the appointees
shall hold their places until the next election for members of the
General Assembly that is held more than thirty days after such
vacancy occurs, when elections shall be held to till such offices:
Provided, that when the unexpired term of any of the offices named
in this Article of the ('(institution in which such vacancy has occur-
red, and in which it is herein provided that the Governor -hall till
the vacancy, expires on the first day of .January succeeding the next
election for members of the General Assembly, the Governor shall
appoint to fill that vacancy for the unexpired term of the office.
If any person elected or appointed to any of said offices shall neglect



Constitution 71

and fail to qualify, such office shall be appointed to, held, and tilled
as provided in case of vacancies occurring therein. All incumbents
of said offices shall hold until their successors are qualified.

Sec. 18. Revenues and expenses of the judicial department. The
General Assembly shall provide for the establishment of a schedule
of court fees and costs which shall be uniform throughout the State
within each division of the General Court of Justice. The operating
expenses of the judicial department, other than compensation to
process servers and other locally paid non-judicial officers, shall be
paid from State funds.

Sec. 19. Fees, salaries, and emoluments. The General Assembly
shall prescribe and regulate the fees, salaries, and emoluments of
all officers provided for in this Article; but the salaries of judges
shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. In no
rase shall the campensation of any Judge or Magistrate be dependent
upon his decision or upon the collection of costs.

Sec. 20. Effect of uniform general law requirement. Where the
General Assembly is required by the provisions of this Article to
enact only general laws uniformly applicable throughout the State
or in every county or local court district thereof, no special, public-
local, or private law shall be enacted relating to the subject-matter
of those provisions, and every amendment or repeal of any law
relating to such subject-matter shall also be general and uniform
in its application and effect throughout the State.

Sec. 21. Schedule, immediately upon the certification by the
Governor to the Secretary of State of the amendments constituting
this Article, the Supreme Court and the Superior Courts shall be
incorporated within the General Court of Justice, as provided in
this Article. All Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the
Superior Court shall continue to serve as such within the General
Court of Justice for the remainder of their respective terms.

The statutes and rules governing procedure and practice in the
Superior Courts and inferior courts, in force at the time the amend-
ments constituting this Article are ratified by the people, shall
continue in force until superseded or repealed by rules of procedure
and practice adopted pursuant to Section 11(2) of this Article.

Upon certification of the Governor to the Secretary of State of the
amendments constituting this Article, the General Assembly shall



72 North Carolina Manuai

proceed as rapidly as practicable, to provide for the creation of local
court districts and the establishment of District Courts therein:
District Courts shall be established to serve every county of the
State by nol later than January 1, 1971. As of January 1, 1971, all
previously existing courts inferior to the Superior Court shall cease
tn exist, and cases pending in these courts shall be transferred as
provided in the next succeeding paragraph of this Section. Until
a District Court has been thus established to serve a county, all of
the courts of that county, including the Superior Court, shall con-
tinue to be financed and the revenues of these courts shall continue
to be paid as they were immediately prior to the certification of the
amendments constituting this Article; and the laws and rules gov-
erning these courts and appeals from the inferior courts to the
Superior Court shall continue in force and shall be deemed to comply
with the provisions of this Article.

As soon as a District Court shall have been established for a
county, all of the provisions of this Article shall become fully
effective with respect to the courts in that county, and all previously
existing courts inferior to the Superior Court shall cease to exist.
All cases pending in these inferior courts shall be transferred to the
appropriate division of the General Court of Justice, and all records
of these courts shall be transferred to the appropriate Clerk's office
pursuant to rule of the Supreme Court. Judges of these inferior
courts, except Mayor's Courts and Justice of the Peace Courts, shall
become District Judges and shall serve as such for remainders of
their respective terms.

As soon as a District Court has been established to serve every
county of the State, all of the provisions of this Article shall become
fully effective throughout the State.

ARTICLE Y

REVENUE AND TAXAJ tOK

Section 1. Capitation tax; exemptions. The General Assembly
may levy a capitation tax on every male inhabitant of the State
over twenty-one and under fifty years of age, which said tax shall
not exceed two dollars ($2.00), and cities and towns may levy a
capitation tax which shall not exceed one dollar ($1.00 i. No other
capitation tax shall be levied. The commissioners of the several
counties and of the cities and towns may exempt from the capi-
tation tax any special cases on account of poverty or infirmity



Constitution 73

Sec. 2. Application of proceeds of State and county capitation
tax. The proceeds of the State and county capitation tax shall be
applied to the purposes of education and the support of the poor,
but in no one year shall more than twenty-five per cent (25%)
thereof be appropriated for the latter purpose.

Sec. 3. State taxation. The power of taxation shall be exercised
in a just and equitable manner, for public purposes only, and shall
never be surrendered, suspended, or contracted away. Only the Gen-
eral Assembly shall have the power to classify property and other
subjects for taxation, which power shall be exercised only on a State-
wide basis. No class or subject shall be taxed except by a uniform
rule, and every classification shall be uniformly applicable in every
county, municipality, and other local taxing unit of the State. The
General Assembly's power to classify shall not be delegated, except
that the General Assembly may permit the governing boards of
counties, cities, and towns to classify trades and professions for
local license tax purposes. The General Assembly may also tax
trades, professions, franchises, and income: Provided, the rate of
tax on income shall not in any case exceed ten per cent (10%), and
there shall be allowed the following exemptions, to be deducted
from the amount of annual incomes, to-wit: for a married man with
a wife living with him. or to a widow or widower having minor
child or children, natural or adopted, not less than two thousand
dollars ($2,000.00): to all other persons not less than one thou-
sand dollars ($1,000.00), and there may be allowed other deduc-
tions (not including living expenses) so that only net incomes
are taxed

Sec. 4. Limitations upon the increase of public debts. The
General Assembly shall have the power to contract debts and to
pledge the faith and credit of the State and to authorize counties
and municipalities to contract debts and pledge their faith and
credit for the following purposes: To fund or refund a valid
existing debt ; to borrow in anticipation of the collection of taxes
due and payable within the fiscal year to an amount not exceeding
fifty per centum of such taxes; to supply a casual deficit; to sup-
press riots or insurrections, or to repel invasions. For any pur-
pose other than these enumerated, the General Assembly shall
have no power, during any biennium. to contract new debts on
behalf of the State to an amount in excess of two-thirds of the



74 North Carolina Manual

amount by which the State's outstanding indebtedness shall have
been reduced during the next preceding biennium, unless the sub-
ject be submitted to a vote of the people of the State; and for any
purpose other than these enumerated the General Assembly shall
have no power to authorize counties or municipalities to contract
debts, and counties and municipalities shall not contract debts,
during any fiscal year, to an amount exceeding two-thirds of the
amounl by which the outstanding indebtedness of the particular
county or municipality shall have been reduced during the next
preceding fiscal year, unless the subject be submitted to a vote
of the people of the particular county or municipality. In any
election held in the State or in any county or municipality under
the provisions of this Section, the proposed indebtedness must
be approved by a majority of those who shall vote thereon. And
the General Assembly shall have no power to give or lend the credit
of the State in aid of any person, association, or corporation except
to aid in the completion of such railroads as may be unfinished at
the time of the adoption of this Constitution, or in which the State
lias a direct pecuniary interest, unless the subject be submitted
to a direct vote of the people of the State, and be approved by a
majority of those who shall vote thereon.

Sec. 5. Property exempt from taxation. Property belonging to the
State, counties and municipal corporations shall be exempt from
taxation. The General Assembly may exempt cemeteries and
property held for educational, scientific, literary, cultural, charitable.
or religious purposes, and, to a value not exceeding Three hundred
dollars ($300.00), any personal property. The General Assembly
may exempt from taxation not exceeeding one thousand dollars
($1,000.00) in value of property held and used as the place of resi-
dence of the owner. Every exemption shall be on a State-wide
basis and shall be uniformly applicable in every county, municipality,
and other local taxing unit of the State. No taxing authority other
than the General Assembly may grant exemptions, and the General
Assembly shall not delegate the powers accorded to it by this
Section.

Sec. ti. Taxes levied for counties. The total of the State and
county tax on property shall not exceed twenty cents i20c) on
the one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property, except when



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