This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
The wording of this summons will be somewhat as follows:
The People of the State of--------to any Constable of said County-
Greeting : You are hereby commanded to summon A. B. to appear before me at--------on the--------day of--------, at--------o'clock------M., to answer the complaint of C. D. for a failure to pay him a certain demand not exceeding -----; and hereof make due return as the law directs. Given under my hand this--------day of--------18-.
JOHN DOE, J. P.
It may be remarked that the law varies in different States as to where a debtor may be sued. In some States he cannot be sued out of the town where he resides. In others more latitude is given, the facts concerning which the justice will explain, upon application, as to his own State.
Upon the issuance of a summons, the constable will proceed to serve the same immediately. But if the defendant cannot be found, or shall evade the service of process by refusing to listen, or by secreting himself, the constable may leave a copy of the summons with some member of his family of the age of ten years or upward; and afterward report to the justice when and how his summons was served, and the circumstances attending the same.
In the summons the justice will specify a certain place, day and hour for the trial, not less, usually, than five, nor more than fifteen days from the date of such summons, at which place and time defendant is notified to appear. A summons is usually served at least three days before the trial is to take place.
The justice indorses on the summons the amount demanded by. the plaintiff, with the costs due on the same, and upon the serving of the summons the debtor may pay to the constable the demand and sts, taking his receipt for the same, which will satisfy the debt and prevent all further costs.
The average costs accruing up to this point are: justice for issuing summons, 25 cents; constable for serving, 35 cents; the entire cost depending, somewhat, upon how far the constable has to travel, he being entitled, ordinarily, to five cents per mile each way for mileage.
In many cases, when served with a summons, the debtor will immediately settle the claim rather than allow a greater accumulation of costs; but should he refuse to make settlement, the constable will return the summons indorsed somewhat as follows:
"Served by reading the within to the defendant on the 5th day of July, 1S76. JOHN SMITH, Constable."
In suing an incorporated company, a copy of the summons must be left with the president. If he is absent, then with the secretary, general agent, cashier, or principal clerk, if either can be found in the county in which suit is brought. If neither can be found in the county, then by leaving a copy of the summons with any clerk, engineer, director, station agent, conductor, or any such agent found in the county.
At the time appointed for the trial, both the plaintiff and defendant, or their representatives, are required to be promptly in attendance, the plaintiff being present for the purpose of proving his claim, and the defendant for the purpose of stating his defense, or the reasons why the claim should not be paid. Should 'either party fail to appear, he must suffer the penalty hereafter explained.
When the parties appear, the justice will proceed to try the case, and after hearing the allegations and proofs, will, if the claim be proved, give Judgment against the defendant, including costs and such interest as the law allows. If no claim is proved, the judgment will be against the plaintiff, who will be held responsible for costs.
Should either party demand a jury, he can have the same in all cases of trial before a justice of the peace, upon making a deposit with the justice of the jury fees. The jury shall comprise any number from six to twelve, as the parties may agree, though the number usually provided by law is six or twelve.
Upon determining to have the case tried by jury the justice will put into the handsof the constable, or other authorized officer, the following
The People of the State of--------to any Constable of said County -
We command you to summon--------lawful men of your county to appear before me at-----o'clock-----M., who are not related to - ----plaintiff, or to--------defendant, to make a jury between said parties in a certain cause pending before me; and have then and there the names of this jury and this writ.
Witness my hand this--------day of--------, 18 - .
JOHN DOE, J. P.
In the case of jury trial, the justice will enter judgment according to the verdict of the jury.
In most States the following requisites are necessary to make the individual competent to serve on a jury
1. He should be a resident of the county, and not exempt from serving on jury.
2. Twenty-one years old and under sixty.
In general, the following persons, according to the statutes of many States, are exempt from serving on juries, namely: the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor of public accounts, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, attorney general, members of the general assembly during their term of office, judges of courts, clerks of courts, sheriffs, coroners, postmasters, mail carriers, practicing attorneys, all officers of the United States, officiating ministers of the gospel, school teachers during their terms of school, practicing physicians, constant ferrymen, mayors of cities, policemen, and active members of the fire department.