State Ex Rel. Landis v. Harris

Decision Date11 June 1934
PartiesSTATE ex rel. LANDIS, Atty. Gen. v. HARRIS et al.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

On Rehearing Oct. 3, 1935.

En Banc.

Original proceeding in quo warranto by the State, on the relation of Cary D. Landis, as Attorney General, against Raymond Harris and another.

Judgment in favor of respondents without prejudice, and the proceeding dismissed.


Cary D. Landis, Atty. Gen., and Evan Evans and Will O. Murrell, both of Jacksonville, for relator.

Giles J. Patterson, Henry P. Adair, A. W. Cockrell, Jr., Francis P Fleming, Francis M. Holt, Charles Cook Howell, W. D. Jones Jr., and E. J. L'Engle, all of Jacksonville, for respondents.

The Attorney General filed in this court an information in the nature of quo warranto in which it is in substance alleged that respondents.

--'for the space of, to-wit, six months next last past and upwards have used, enjoyed, exercised and performed and still do use enjoy, exercise and perform, without warrant or authority of law, and in violation of the constitution of the said State of Florida, the franchise, functions and powers of Jury Commissioners of Duval County, Florida, * * * as authorized or required by chapter 16058, Laws of 1933.'

Which said law is in violation of stated sections of the Constitution of Florida, viz., sections 16, 20, and 21 article 3, sections 1 and 3 of the Declaration of Rights of the Florida Constitution.

'The said Attorney General prays the advice of this Court in the premises and due process of law in this behalf to the said Raymond Harris and John S. Bond, Jr., as alleged Jury Commissioners of Duval County, Florida requiring them to answer the said State by what warrant or authority of law they claim to have and exercise jurisdiction and authority as Jury Commissioners of Duval County, Florida, and that this Honorable Court upon and after a hearing in due course as prescribed by law, shall enter its order ousting the said Respondents, from the said office.'

A writ was issued in due course. Respondents filed a demurrer to the information containing the following:

'1. Chapter 16058, Laws of Florida, approved June 7, 1933, is not obnoxious to the constitutional provisions set forth in said information.

'2. The information in the nature of quo warranto in this cause does not state any matters of fact or reasons in law why the respondents should not continue to use, enjoy, exercise and perform the franchise, cunctions and powers of jury commissioners of Duval County, Florida.

'3. It appears on the face of the information in the nature of quo warranto herein that the respondents are lawfully and rightfully exercising the functions, powers and official duties of jury commissioners of Duval County, Florida.'

The relator filed a motion for judgment of ouster:

'Comes now the Relator herein and moves the Court to enter a judgment of ouster against the respondents above named, as prayed for in the information filed herein, ousting the Respondents from their pretended office of Jury Commissioners of Duval County, Florida, on the ground that no sufficient response has been made by the respondents to the information herein and the information herein being shown to be well founded, and the facts therein set forth being shown to be true.'

Chapter 16058, Acts 1933, is as follows:

'An Act Providing For and Creating Jury Commissioners in All Counties of the State of Florida Having a Population Exceeding 155,000 by the Last Preceding Federal Census, and Prescribing Their Qualifications, Method of Appointment, Powers, Duties, Functions and Official Terms, and Providing for the Selection, Listing and Procurement of Jurors in Such Counties.

'Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

'Section 1. That the Governor shall appoint in each county of the State of Florida having a population exceeding 155,000 inhabitants by the last preceding federal census two Jury Commissioners, each of whom shall be a resident of such county. As early as practicable after this law becomes effective, one of said Jury Commissioners shall be appointed by the Governor to hold office for the term ending on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of January, A. D. 1935, and the other shall be appointed by the Governor to hold office for the term ending on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of January, A. D. 1936. Their respective successors, who shall also be appointed by the Governor, shall hold office for terms of two years each.

'Section 2. The Jury Commissioners in such counties shall select and list not less than 800 or more than 1500 in number of male inhabitants of such county known or believed to be qualified under the laws of Florida to be jurors who, even if exempt, have not filed a written claim of exemption from jury duty as hereinafter provided. In making the selections and the preparation of said lists, the Jury Commissioners may confer with the Judge or one or more of the Judges of the Circuit Court of such county, and shall have the power, without charge or cost, to examine at any reasonable time or times all documents and records in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and of any other county officials as to persons who have been listed, summoned, not found, served or excused as jurors, and all books, records and lists in the office of the Supervisor of Registration or other county official containing the names of electors of such county.

'Section 3. Such list of jurors in each county shall be completed by the Jury Commissioners and certified by them during and before the end of January of each year, and at such other period or periods during the year as may be ordered by a Judge of the Circuit Court of such county. Every such list shall be submitted to and approved by the Circuit Judge or one of said Circuit Judges, such approval to be evidenced by his signature thereon. When so certified and approved, such list of jurors shall be recorded by the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the minutes of such Court without charge therefor. Said List so certified, approved and recorded, although it may be defective or irregular in form, certification, approval or other formal requirement, or in the number or qualification of the persons so named, shall be the basis for copying the listed names on separate pieces of paper to be deposited and preserved in the box whence the names of persons for jury duty are to be drawn as prescribed by law. It shall not affect the validity of such list or any listed or copied name if there should be any error or irregularity in either, each person so procured or listed as a juror being presumed to be the one intended to be listed as a juror. When the annual jury list or special jury list prepared pursuant to the order of a Circuit Judge is certified, approved and recorded, the box containing the names of jurors previously listed shall be emptied and all names removed therefrom before such newly listed names are placed in such jury box. If, notwithstanding this provision, some names or papers containing names remain in the jury box, such error or irregularity shall not invalidate the contents of the box or the procurement of any jurors by drawing names therefrom or any subsequent proceeding or jury.

'Section 4. That every person claiming to be exempt from jury duty in any such county shall annually, on or before the 31st day of December of each year, file with the Clerk of the Circuit Court an affidavit claiming exemption from jury duty and stating the grounds therefor, which affidavit shall be filed by the Clerk and transmitted promptly to said Jury Commissioners. If any person claiming any such exemption shall fail or refuse to file such affidavit of exemption from jury duty within the time above stated, he shall not be entitled to have the privilege of exemption from jury duty during the calendar year succeeding that during which he was required to file his affidavit of exemption as aforesaid. In preparing the jury list, the Jury Commissioners shall examine all written claims of exemption from jury duty which were filed on or before the preceding December 31st, and shall omit from such jury list the names of all persons who shall be entitled to exemption from jury duty and who have filed such written claims of exemption within the time stated hereinabove. If any claim of exemption from jury duty shall be disallowed by the Jury Commissioners, the person claiming exemption, having filed his written claim therefor as aforesaid, may renew his claim of exemption in any court in which he may be summoned as a juror.

'Section 5. Each Jury Commissioner shall be paid out of the General Fund of the County an annual salary of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), and his actual expenses incurred or paid in the performance of his official duties, upon his requisition therefor containing an itemized statement of his expenses, which shall be approved by one of the Judges of the Circuit Court of such county before being entitled to payment.

'Section 6. If any part of this Act shall be unconstitutional, the remainder shall not be affected thereby; and all laws and parts thereof in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.

'Section 7. This Act shall take effect upon its becoming a law.

'Approved June 7, 1933.'


Quo warranto proceedings were instituted in this court by the Attorney General to have determined the constitutional validity of chapter 16058, Acts 1933, under which the respondents are performing the function of selecting and certifying names of persons qualified for jury duty, which duty had theretofore been performed by the county commissioners.

It is in substance contended that chapter 16058 is a local and not a general law, and thereby violates the...

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