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CODE OF LAW FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
"An act to establish a code of law for the District of Columbia," approved March 3, 1901, as amended by the acts approved January 31, and June 30, 1902, and subsequent acts to and including March 4, 1911.
NOTE. Where entire sections have been repealed and new sections substituted, the new section is printed in type uniform with the text and credit is given to the amendatory act, the repealed section being printed in brackets [ ]and smaller type, beneath the new matter. New matter inserted in, or appended to, a section is indicated by italics; and matter stricken out of a section is inclosed in brackets [ ] Unless otherwise specified the amendments are to be found in the act of June 30, 1902 (32 Stat., Part I, p. 520, etc.) L. R. refers to Washington Law Reporter; D. C. App. refers to District of Columbia appeal cases. References are to sections, except to appendix and statutes, which are to pages. As a convenient reference I have given the volume and page of the Statutes at Large for every amendment to the code.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following is hereby enacted and declared to be a code of law for the District of Columbia, to go into effect and operation from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and two.
2. And be it further enacted, That in the interpretation and construction of said code the following rules shall be observed, namely
First. Words importing the singular number shall be held to include the plural, and vice versa, except where such construction would be unreasonable.
Second. Words importing the masculine gender shall be held to include all genders, except where such construction would be absurd or unreasonable.
Third. The word "person" shall be held to apply to partnerships and corporations, unless such construction would be unreasonable, and the reference to any officer shall include any person authorized by law to perform the duties of his office, unless the context shows that such words were intended to be used in a more limited sense.
Fourth. Wherever the word "executor" is used it shall include "administrator," and vice versa, unless such application of the term would be unreasonable.
Fifth. Wherever an oath is required an affirmation in judicial form, if made by a person conscientiously scrupulous about taking an oath, shall be deemed a sufficient compliance.
Sixth. The words "insane person" and "lunatic" shall include every idiot, non compos, lunatic, and insane person.
LAWS REMAINING IN FORCE.
Clark v. U. S.,
The common law, all British statutes in
19 D. C. App., 306
23 App., 475,
307; Moss v. U. S., force in Maryland on the twenty-seventh day of Febru484, 32 L. R., 342; ary, eighteen hundred and one, the principles of equity 26 D. C. App., 593. and admiralty, all general acts of Congress not locally derly house, Pal- inapplicable in the District of Columbia, and all acts of mer v Lenowitz, Congress by their terms applicable to the District of Co
38 L. R., 474.
kel, 198 U. S., 1;
Benson v. Hen- lumbia and to other places under the jurisdiction of the 49 Law Ed., 919; United States, in force at the date of the passage of this 25 S. C. Rep., act shall remain in force except in so far as the same are inconsistent with, or are replaced by, some provision of this code.
35 Stat., 623.
Sec. 2. The judicial power in the District shall continue as at present to be vested in—
First. Inferior courts, namely, [justices of the peace] municipal court and the police court, juvenile court; and
Second. Superior courts, namely, the supreme court of the District of Columbia, the court of appeals of the District of Columbia, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Subchapter I. JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
That the inferior court known as "justice of the peace" in the District of Columbia shall remain as now constituted, but shall hereafter be known as "the municipal court of the District of Columbia." It shall consist of the present justices of peace of said District, who shall serve as the judges of said court for the unexpired terms of their now existing commissions, and who shall not be required to be recommissioned for said unexpired terms. Thereafter, and upon the expiration of the commission of any of said members, his successor shall be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a term of four years, unless sooner removed as provided by law: Provided, That no person shall be appointed to said office unless he shall have been a bona fide citizen and resident of said District for the continuous period of at least five years immediately preceding his appointment, and shall either have been a judge of said court for at least one year, or shall have been engaged in the actual practice of law before the supreme court of the District of Columbia for a period of at least five years prior to his appointment. Each judge, when ap
pointed, shall take an oath for the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of his office. The judges of said court shall no longer be required to give bond as heretofore, but a bond shall be given by the clerk of said court, who shall receive and account for all fees as hereinafter provided. Said municipal court shall sit for the trial of causes in one building to be designated by the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, to be rented by said District of Columbia at a rental not to exceed one thousand eight hundred dollars per annum: Provided, That the first vacancy occurring in the office of judge in the municipal court of the District of Columbia, after the passage of this act shall not be filled, and thereafter the number of said judges shall be five only.
The said court and each member thereof shall exercise the same jurisdiction as was vested in them as justice of the peace immediately before the passage of this act, and no more, and shall be governed by the laws then in force, except as said laws and said jurisdiction are expressly changed or enlarged hereby.
Any member of said court may try any case within its jurisdiction according to law, regardless of the place and residence of the defendant therein. The jurisdiction of said court is hereby increased from three hundred to five hundred dollars in the class of cases over which it had jurisdiction immediately prior to the passage of this act; that said jurisdiction shall be exclusive when the amount claimed for debt or damages or the value of personal property claimed does not exceed one hundred dollars, and concurrent with the supreme court of the District of Columbia when it exceeds one hundred dollars and is not in excess of five hundred dollars, with the same right to remove any case by certiorari, as heretofore, in cases of concurrent jurisdiction.
All pending actions and all actions hereinafter instituted shall be assigned for trial among the members of said court in nearly equal numbers and in such manner as may be agreed upon between them. The judges of said court shall hold separate sessions as heretofore, and are empowered to make rules for the apportionment of the business bewteen them, and the act of each of said judges respecting the business of said court shall be deemed and taken to be the act of said court. Each of said judges is hereby empowered to administer oaths. The judges of said court shall receive the annual salary of two thousand five hundred dollars in lieu of the salary heretofore provided for justices of the peace by section six of the Code of Law for the District of Columbia, to be paid monthly as heretofore, but they shall not receive the allowance heretofore granted for rent, stationery, and other expenses. In case of sickness, absence, disability, expiration of term of service of or death of either of the judges of the police court or of the juvenile court, any one of the justices of the supreme court of the District of Columbia may designate one of the judges of the municipal court to discharge the duties of said judges until such disability be removed or vacancy filled. The justice so designated shall take the same oath prescribed for these judges.
The said court shall have power to appoint a clerk at an annual salary of one thousand five hundred dollars and an assistant clerk at an annual salary of one thousand dollars, payable monthly by the District of Columbia, which clerks shall hold office at the pleasure of the court.
The clerks shall receive and care for all deposits for costs made and fees exacted under the rules governing the fee charges of said court, and shall make a weekly deposit with the collector of taxes for the District of Columbia of all fees earned during the preceding week.
He shall return to suitors making such deposits any proportion of a deposit which shall remain in his hands over and above the earned fees in completed cases, and shall render an itemized statement to the auditor of the District of Columbia of every fee earned, on such forms and in such manner as shall be prescribed by the auditor of the District of Columbia. In case there shall remain in the hands of the said clerk for a term of three years a balance or part of a deposit in any case which shall not have been called for by the party or parties entitled to receive the same, the same shall revert to the District of Columbia, and be paid forthwith to the collector of taxes as part of the revenues of the District of Columbia.
In all suits in said court process shall be signed by the said clerk or assistant clerk in the name of the court. The assistant clerk may sign the name of the clerk to any official act required by law or by the practice of the court to be performed by the clerk. In such case the signature shall be Clerk, by
Anderson v. Morton, 21 D. C. App., 447, 448.
Both the clerk and assistant clerk are hereby given authority to administer oaths in all cases pending in said court, or about to be filed therein.
The clerk shall perform such other and further duties as may from time to time be prescribed by the municipal court.
He shall give bond to the District of Columbia in the sum of five thousand dollars, with surety or sureties to be ap proved by the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, for the faithful performance of the duties of his office, and the assistant clerk shall give a like bond in the sum of two thousand dollars: Provided, That the expenditures to be incurred under any of the provisions of this act shall not in any case exceed the total amount of revenues and fees of the said municipal court.
The said clerk shall keep a docket similar to the one heretofore provided for justices of the peace.—Act of February 17, 1909 (35 Stat., Part I, p. 623).
Sec. 3. APPOINTMENT AND QUALIFICATIONS.-There shall be six justices of the peace in the District, who shall be appointed by the President of the United States, for a term of four years, unless sooner removed as provided by law: Provided, That no person shall be appointed to said office unless he shall have been a bona fide resident of said District for the continuous period of at least five