Sidebilder
PDF

CHAPTER XIV.

CORONER.

STATUTORY .PROV1S1ONS.

It is provided that one coroner shall be elected from each county, to serve for two years, and to give bond in the sum of five thousand dollars.1 In some of the counties his bond is fixed at a different amount, and in some his office is united with that of public administrator.'

In San Francisco his bond is given under the provisions of the consolidation act, and his compensation in the form of a salary.' He is allowed a sum not to exceed fifty dollars per month for making analyses, and for interments not exceeding ten dollars in each case.4

The coroner shall perform the duties of sheriff in all cases where the sheriff is interested, or otherwise incapacitated from serving; and also in cases of a vacancy by death, resignation, or otherwise, in the office of sheriff, the coroner shall discharge the duties of such office until a sheriff is elected and qualified. When both are parties to the action, or when either one is prosecuted for disobedience, an elisor may be appointed.'

Whenever the coroner acts as sheriff, he shall possess the powers and responsibilities, and perform all the duties of sheriff, and shall be liable on his official bond in like mauner as a sheriff would be, and shall be entitled to the same fees as are allowed by law to the sheriff for similar services.'

When a coroner has been informed that a person has been killed, or has committed suicide, or has suddenly died under such circumstances as to afford a reasonable ground to suspect that his

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

death has been occasioned by the act of another, by criminal means, he shall go to the place where the body is, and forthwith summon not less than nine, nor more than fifteen persons, qualified by law to serve as jurors, to appear before him forthwith at the place where the body of the deceased is, to inquire into the cause of the death.1

Every person summoned as a juror who shall fail to appear without having a reasonable excuse, shall forfeit any 6::m not exceeding one hundred dollars, to be recovered by the coroner in the name of the people of the state, before any justice of the peace, in the proper township, and when collected, to be paid over to the county treasurer for the use of the county.1

When six or more of the jurors attend, they 6hall be sworn by the coroner to inquire who the person was, and when, where, and by what means he came to his death, and into the circumstances attending his death; and to render a true verdict thereon, according to the evidence afforded them, or arising from the inspection of the body. If a juror neglect or refuse to attend, he may be fined in the sum of fifty dollars.'

The coroner may issue subpoenas for witnesses, returnable forthwith, or at such time and place as he may appoint, which may be served by any competent person. lie must summon and examine as witnesses, every person, who, in his opinion, or that of any of the jury, has any knowledge of the facts, and he may summon a surgeon or physician to inspect the body, and give a professional opinion as to the cause of the death.'

A witness served with a subpoena may be compelled to attend and testify, or punished by the coroner for disobedience, in like manner as upon a subpoena issued by a justice of the peace.'

After inspecting the body and hearing the testimony, the jury shall render their verdict and certify the same by an inquisition in writing, signed by them, and setting forth who the person killed is, and when, where and by what means he came to his death; and if he was killed, or his death occasioned by the act of another by criminal means, who is guilty thereof.'

The testimony of the witnesses examined before the coroner's jury shall be reduced to writing by the coroner, or under his

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

direction, and shall be forthwith filed by him, with the inquisition, in the office of the clerk or the district court of the county.1

If, however, the person charged with the commission of the offence be arrested before the inquisition can be filed, the coroner shall deliver the same, with the testimony taken, to the magistrate before whom such person may be brought, who shall return the same, with the depositions and statement taken before him, to the office of clerk of the district court of the county.1

If the jury find that the person was killed by another, under circumstances not excusable or justifiable by law, or that his death was occasioned by the act of another by criminal means, and the party committing the act he ascertained by the inquisition, and be not in custody, the coroner shall issue a warrant, signed by him, with his name of office, into one or more counties, as may be necessary for the arrest of the person charged.1

The coroner's warrant may be served in any county, and the officer serving it shall proceed thereon in all resists as upon a warrant of arrest on an information before a magistrate, except that when served in another county, it need not be endorsed by a magistrate of that county.1

The coroner must, within thirty days after an inquest upon a dead body, deliver to the county treasurer any money or orher property which may be found upon the body, unless claimed in the mean time by the legal representatives of the deceased. If he fail to do so, the treasurer may proceed against the coroner, to recover the same, by a civil action in the name of the county.1

Upon the delivery of money to the treasurer, he shall place it to the credit of the county. If it be other property, he shall, within thirty days, sell it at public auction, upon reasonable public notice, and shall, in like manner, place the proceeds to the credit of the county.1

If the money in the treasury be demanded within six years by the legal representatives of the deceased, the treasurer shall pay it to them, after deducting the fees and expenses of the coroner and of the county in relation to the matter, or the same may be so paid at any time thereafter, upon the order of the Court of Sessions of the county.1 ^

[ocr errors]

Before auditing and allowing the account of the coroner, the Court, of Sessions1 shall require from him a statement in writing, of any money or other property found upon persons on whom inquests have been held by him, verified by his oath, to the effect that the statement is true, and that the money or property mentioned in it has been delivered to the legal representatives of the deceased or to the county treasurer.1

If the office of coroner be vacant, or he be absent, or unable to attend, the duties of his office may be performed by any justice of the peace of the county, with the like authority, and subject to the same obligations and penalties as the coroner.'

In the counties of San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma, Santa Clara, Monterey, a coroner shall receive five dollars for each inquest he may hold, and twenty cents for each mile necessarily travelled to hold an inquest. In all other counties of the state a coroner shall receive ten dollars for each inquest he may hold, and twenty-five cents for each mile necessarily travelled to hold an inquest. Coroners' fees shall be county charges.1

A j ustice of the peace acting as coroner, shall be entitled to the same fees, payable in the same manner.1

When an inquest shall be held by the coroner, and no person shall offer to take charge of the body of the deceased, it shall be his duty to cause said body to be decently interred, and in case "that there shall not be sufficient property belonging to the estate of the deceased to pay the necessary expenses of the said burial, 6aid expenses shall be a legal charge upon his county. The coroner shall be entitled to receive the sum of two dollars out of his county treasury, for attending to the burial of such dead body.'

'Wood's Dig. »rt. 483-447.

* This provision in relation to money or other property of the deceased, controlled by the statute authorizing the Public Administrator to take charge of such effects, and by tho decision of the Supremo Court, doclaring that the Jurisdiction of the Court of Sessions is limited to criminal matters only.

FOKMS.

Coroner's Subpomafor Jurors.

State of California, ) . County of San Francisco, )

The People of the State of California send greeting: To Mr. A. B.:

We command you that, all and singular business and excuses being laid aside, you be and appear before J. M. McNulty, county coroner for the county of San Francisco, at the police judges' court-room, on the "first day of May, 1859, at seven o'clock, P. M., then and there to serve as a juror, in a certain inquisition now pending before said county coroner—and herein fail not, or answer the contrary, at your peril.

Given under my hand, this first day of May, A. D. 1859.

J. M. Mcnulty, County Coroner.

Coroners Subpoyna for Witnesses.

State of California, ) , County of San Francisco, j

The People of the State of California send greeting: To Mr. John Minn:

We command you that, all and singular business and excuses being laid aside, you be and appear before J. M. McNulty, county coroner for the county of San Francisco, at my office, on the fifth day of July, 1859, at twelve o'clock M., then and there to testify and give evidence in a certain inquisition now pending before said county coroner—and herein fail not, or answer the contrary at your peril.

Given under my hand, this second day of July, A. D. 1859.

J. M. Mcnulty, County Coroner.

Coroner's Subpomafor a Surgeon or Physician.

State of California, '( gg .

City and County of San Francisco, j '"

Hie People of the State of California send greeting: To William A. Douglass, M. D.:

We command you that, all and singular business and excuses being laid aside, you be and appear before the undersigned, county coroner for the city and county of San Francisco, at

, on the day Of ,

18 , at o'clock, then and there to inspect

the body of a certain deceased person, and to testify and give

« ForrigeFortsett »