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obtaining witnesses in his favor; and in all prosecutions by indictment or information, a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the county or district where the offence was committed; that he cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor can he be deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by due course of law.
SEC. 18. That all prisoners shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient securities, except for capital offenses, where the proof is evident or the presumption great, and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
SEC. 19. That the general council shall have power to pass general laws in regard to the collection of fines, bonds, forfeitures, and court fees, and direct the manner of such collection.
SEC. 20. No property qualification for eligibility to office, or for the right of suffrage, shall ever be required by law in this nation.
SEC. 21. No conviction of any offense shall work corruption of blood and forfeiture of estate. The general council shall pass no bill of attainder, restrospective law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts.
Distribution of power
SECTION 1. The powers of government of the Choctaw nation shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confined to a separate body of magistracy, to wit: Those which are legislative to one, those which are executive to another, and those which are judicial to another.
SEC. 2. No person or collection of persons, being of one of those departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereafter expressly directed or permitted by the general council.
ARTICLE III Legislative department
SECTION 1. The legislative power of this nation shall be vested in a general council which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives, and the style of their laws shall be, “Be it enacted by the general council of the Choctaw nation assembled."
SEC. 2. The senate of the Choctaw nation shall be composed of four senators from each district, chosen by the qualified electors thereof, for the term of two years.
SEC. 3. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years and been one year a citizen of this nation, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that district at least six months preceding his election for which he shall be chosen.
SEC. 4. The house of representatives shall be composed of members chosen every year by the qualified electors in the several counties of each district, at the ratio of one representative to every one thousand citizens; nevertheless when there is a fractional number of five hundred or more citizens in any county, they shall be entitled to one additional representative; but when the population of any one of the counties shall not reach the ratio of one thousand, they shall still be allowed one representative.
Sec. 5. In case of death, resignation, or inability of any of the senators or representatives, the principal chief shall have the power to make temporary appointments and fill vacancies that may occur in any of the counties.
Sec. 6. No person shall be a representative, unless he be a citizen of this nation, and shall have been an inhabitant thereof six months next preceding his election, and the last month thereof a resident of the county for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-one years.
Sec. 7. The house of representatives, when assembled shall chose a speaker and its other officers and the senate shall choose a president and its officers, and rach shall judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members, but a contested election shall be determined in such manner as shall be directed by law. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide.
SEC. 8. Every bill which shall have passed both houses of the legislature shall be presented to the principal chief; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he
shall return it, with his objections, to the house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon the journal and proceed to reconsider it; if, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the members present shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent with the objections to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered ; if approved by two thirds of the members present of that house it shall become a law, but in such case the vote of both houses shall be determined by the yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for and against the bill be entered on the journals of each house respectively; if any bill shall not be returned by the principal chief within three days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall become a law in like manner as if he had signed it. Every bill presented to the principal chief one day previous to the adjournment of the legislature, and not returned to the house in which it originated before its adjournment, shall become a law and have the same force and effect as if signed by the principal chief.
Sec. 9. Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish members for disorderly behavior, and with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause.
SEC. 10. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings and publish the same, and the yeas and nays of the members of either house, on any question shall, at the desire of any three members present, be entered on the journal.
SEC. 11. Each house may punish by imprisonment, during the session, any person not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behavior in its presence, or for obstructing any of its proceedings, provided such imprisonment shall not at any one time exceed forty-eight hours.
SEC. 12. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting.
SEC. 13. Each member of the general council shall receive from the public treasury a compensation for his services, which may be increased or diminished by law; but no increase of compensation shall take effect during the session at which such increase shall have been made.
Sec. 14. No person who hath heretofore been, or hereafter may be a collector or holder of public moneys, shall have a seat in either house of the general council, until such person shall have accounted for, and paid into the treasury, all sums for which he may be accountable.
SEC. 15. The first election for senators and representatives shall be general throughout the nation, and shall be held on the first Wednesday in August, 1860, and thereafter there shall be biennial elections for senators.
SEC. 16. Senators and representatives shall, in all cases except of treason, felony. or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the general council, and in going to and returning from the same.
SECTION 1. The judicial power of this nation shall be vested in one supreme court, in circuit and county courts.
SEC. 2. Until Hotubbee district shall be duly organized, and officers elected therein under this constitution, the supreme court shall be composed of three supreme judges, one to be chosen from Apuckshunnubbee district, one from Pusha mataha district, and one from Mosholatubbee district, one of whom shall be styled chief justice, and two of whom shall constitute a quorum to do business.
SEC. 3. The supreme court shall have no judisdiction but such as properly belongs to a court of errors and appeals.
SEC. 4. The supreme judges shall have power to issue writs and other process necessary to the exercise of their appellate jurisdiction, and shal! have original jurisdiction only in such cases as may hereafter be provided by law, and shall be conservators of the peace throughout the nation.
Sec. 5. The circuit courts shall be composed of one circuit judge in each district, and shall have original jurisdiction in all criminal cases which shall not be otherwise provided for by law, and exclusive original jurisdiction in all crimes amounting to felony, and original jurisdiction of all civil cases which shall not be cognizable before the judges of the county, until otherwise directed by law, and original jurisdiction in all matters of contracts, and in all matters of controversy where the same is over fifty dollars. It shall hold its term at such times and places in each district as are now specified by law or may hereafter be provided.
SEC. 6. The circuit courts shall exercise a superintending control over the county courts, and shall have power to issue all necessary writs and process to
carry into effect their general and specific powers under such regulations and restrictions as may be provided by law.
SEC. 7. The circuit judge in each district shall be elected by the qualified voters of their respective districts, and the general council by a joint vote of both houses shall elect the supreme judges. Any person receiving the highest number of votes cast shall be elected.
SEC. 8. The judges of the supreme court shall be at least thirty years of age, and the circuit judge of the circuit courts shall be at least twenty-five years of age before they shall be eligible to hold the office, and when elected they shall serve for the term of four years from the date of their commission; they shall appoint their own clerks under such provisions as the law may prescribe.
Sec. 9. The judges of the supreme court and circuit courts shall at stated times receive such compensation for their services, which shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which they are elected, as may be determined by law. They shall not be allowed any fees or perquisites of office.
SEC. 10. There shall be a court established in each county of this nation, to be called county courts, which shall have jurisdiction in all matters relative to disbursement of money for country purposes, and in every other case that may be necessary to the internal improvements and local concerns of their respective counties.
SEC. 11. The judges of the county court shall in no case have jurisdiction to try and determine any criminal case or penal offense against this nation, but may sit as examining courts, and commit, discharge, or recognize to the court having jurisdiction for further trial of all offenses against the peace and dignity of this nation ; for the foregoing purposes, they shall have power to issue all necessary writs and process, to bind any person to keep the peace, or to give security for his good behavior.
SEC. 12. The county judges shall be elected by the qualified electors of their respective counties, and shall be commissioned by the principal chief, and shall hold their office for the term of two years.
SEC. 13. No judge shall preside on the trial of any cause in the event of which he may be interested, or where either of the parties shall be connected to him by affinity or consanguinity within such degrees as may be prescribed by law, or in which he may have been of council, or have presided in any circuit or county courts, except by consent of all parties. In case any or all of the judges of the supreme court shall be thus disqualified from presiding on any cause, or causes, the court or judges thereof shall certify the same to the principal chief of the nation, who shall immediately commission the requisite number of men learned in the law for the trial and determination thereof. But in case such disqualification should take place in any of the circuit or county judges, the circuit or county judge shall have the power to appoint a substitute for that particular case for which he may be disqualified.
Sec. 14. Judges shall not charge juries with regard to matter of fact, but may state the testimony and declare the law.
SEC. 15. There shall be a prosecuting attorney elected in each district by the qualified electors of their respective districts, whose compensation and term of service shall be prescribed by law.
Sec. 16. The general council shall have power by law to prescribe the manner of holding and determining suits in the circuit and county courts and the manner of granting appeals.
Sec. 17. The county judges in addition to their respective duties that may be required of them by law, shall be judges of the courts of probate and have such jurisdiction in matters relative to the estate of deceased persons, executors, administrators and guardians as may be prescribed by law, until otherwise directed by the general council.
SEC. 18. Writs and other process shall run in the name of the Choctaw nation and bear test and be signed by the clerks of their respective courts from which they issue, and all indictments shall conclude against the peace and dignity of the Choctaw nation.
Sec. 19. The general council shall provide by law for determining contested elections of county judges.
SEC. 20. The supreme court shall be held twice in each year at the seat of government of the Choctaw nation.
SEC. 21. The county judges shall appoint their own clerks, who shall act as treasurer of the county.
ARTICLE V Executive department
SECTION. 1. The supreme executive power of the Choctaw nation shall be rested in one principal chief, assisted by three subordinate district chiefs, who shall hold their respective offices for the term of two years from the time of their installation. But they shall not be eligible for the same office for more than two terms in succession.
Sec. 2. The principal chief of the Choctaw nation shall be elected by the qualified electors of the Choctaw nation, and the subordinate chiefs of the Choctaw nation shall be elected by the qualified electors of their respective districts on the first Wednesday in August, eighteen hundred and sixty, and every two years thereafter.
Sec. 3. The returns of every election for principal chief shall be made out, sealed up and transmitted to the supreme judges of each district, to be forwarded by him to the national secretary who shall deliver them to the speaker of the house of representatives during the first week of its organization, who shall proceed to open and count the votes in the presence of both houses of the general council, and the person having the highest number of votes shall be declared principal chief by the speaker. But if two or more shall be equal or highest in votes, then one of them shall be chosen principal chief by the joint ballot of both houses of the general council; but the returns of every election for district and county officers shall be made out, sealed and transmitted to the supreme judge of each district who shall proceed to open, take an abstract, and declare what candidates for district and county offices are elected, and forward a true copy of the same to the national secretary who shall file them in his office for safe keeping.
SEC. 4. In case of death, resignation or removal of the principal chief, the president of the Senate shall exercise the duties of principal chief until the next regular election for that office; but should the vacancy be on account of the inability of the principal chief to discharge his duties, the president of the senate shall exercise the said duties until such inability shall be removed.
SEC. 5. In case of any vacancy occurring in the office of district chiefs, the principal chief shall have the power to appoint a chief pro tem, in the district where such vacancy may occur until the next regular election for that office.
Sec. 6. No person shall be eligible to the office of principal or district chief unless he shall have attained the age of thirty years, and have been an inhabitant of the Choctaw nation at least five years next preceding his election.
SEC. 7. The principal chief shall from time to time give to the general council information of the state of the government, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient.
SEC. 8. The principal chief shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Sec. 9. The principal chief may, by proclamation on extraordinary occasions, convene the general council at the seat of government, or at a different place if that have become, since their last adjournment, dangerous from an enemy or from contagious disease.
Sec. 10. In case of disagreement between the two houses with respect to the time of adjournment, the principal chief may adjourn them to such a time as he shall think best, not beyond the day of the next meeting of the general council.
Sec. 11. All vacancies which may occur in offices that are elective by the people or general council, the principal chief shall have the power to fill such vacancies by appointment until the next regular election.
Sec. 12. No person shall hold the office of principal or district chief, and any other office or commission, either in this nation, or under any state, or in the United States or any power, at one and the same time.
Sec. 13. The district chiefs shall have such superintending control over the affairs of their respective districts as may be prescribed by the general council. It shall be their duty to have the laws properly enforced within their respective limits. They shall from time to time report to the principal chief such information respecting the affairs of their districts, and recommend for his consideration such measures as they may deem expedient.
Sec. 14. A sheriff and rangers shall be elected in each county by the qualified electors thereof, who shall hold their office for the term of two years unless sooner removed. And it shall be the duty of the district chiefs to appoint a competitive number of light horsemen in their respective districts as may hereafter be provided by law, who shall hold their offices for the term of two years unless sooner removed.
Sec. 15. The principal chief, national secretary, national treasurer, national auditor, and national attorney, shall reside at or near the seat of government.
Sec. 16. The principal chief shall be head commander of the militia of this nation.
ARTICLE VI Impeachments
SECTION 1. The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeaching.
Sec. 2. All impeachments shall be tried by the senate. When sitting for that purpose, the senators shall be on oath of affirmation. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.
SEC. 3. The chiefs and all civil officers shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor in office, but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit under this nation, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable, and subject to indictment, trial and punishment according to law as in other cases.
SECTION. 1. Until Hotubbee district shall be duly organized, the principal chief of the Choctaw nation shall exercise such authority over the citizens of this nation living in that district, as he may deem expedient for the protection of person, life and property.
Sec. 2. No person shall be principal chief, or subordinate chief, senator, or representative, unless he be a free male citizen of the Choctaw nation, and a lineal descendant of the Choctaw or Chickasaw race.
Sec. 3. The general council shall have the power to determine what county or counties shall be entitled to elect one or more senators in the several districts of this nation.
SEC. 4. Members of the general council and other officers, both executive and judicial, before they enter upon the duties of the respective offices shall take the following oath or affirmation, to wit : "I do solmenly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the constitution of the Choctaw nation, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge, to the best of my abilities, the duties of the office of.
according to law. So help me God.” Sec. 5. The general council shall have the power to determine the compensation of the principal chief, district chiefs and other officers of the nation, which compensation shall not be increased or diminished for the term of years they are elected or appointed.
Sec. 6. The general council shall have power by law to specify the manner in which offenders against the laws of this nation, who may escape into the United States or into any Indian nation, or from one district into another in this nation, shall be demanded, apprehended, and arraigned for trial in the several courts of this nation, having original jurisdiction thereof.
Sec. 7. Every free male citizen of this nation who shall have attained to the age of eighteen years, and who shall have been a citizen of the nation six months, shall be deemed a qualified elector, and shall be entitled to vote in the county or district where he may have actually resided at least one month preceding the election for each and every office made elective in this nation.
SEC. 8. All general elections shall be by ballot; and the electors in all cases, except in cases of treason, felony, and breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections and on going to and returning therefrom.
Sec. 9. The general council shall have the power by law to establish one or more precincts in each county in the several districts of this nation, and prescribe the mode and manner or holding and conducting elections.
Sec. 10. The oath of office may be administered by any of the judges of this nation until the general council shall otherwise direct.
Sec. 11. The general council shall have the power to pass such laws and measures as they shall deem expedient for the general good of the Choctaw people, provided no law be passed or adopted contrary to the provisions of this constitution.
Sec. 12. The mode of declaring war in this nation shall be by at least two thirds of the members of the general council in full council, with the approval of the principal chief, unless in case of actual invasion by an enemy, in which