Bill of Right

§1. Freedom of religion.

Section 1. Although it is the duty of all men frequently to assemble together for the public worship of Almighty God; and piety and morality, on which the prosperity of communities depends, are hereby promoted; yet no man shall or ought to be compelled to attend any religious worship, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of worship, or to the maintenance of any ministry, against his own free will and consent; and no power shall or ought to be vested in or assumed by any magistrate that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship, nor a preference given by law to any religious societies, denominations, or modes of worship.

§2. Religious test for office not required.

Section 2. No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, under this State.

§3. Free and equal elections.

Section 3. All elections shall be free and equal.

§4. Trial by jury; composition of grand juries; concurrence in indictment.

Section 4. Trial by jury shall be as heretofore.

§5. Freedom of press; evidence in libel prosecutions; jury questions.

Section 5. The press shall be free to every citizen who undertakes to examine the official conduct of men acting in a public capacity; and any citizen may print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. In prosecutions for publications, investigating the proceedings of officers, or where the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and in all indictments for libels the jury may determine the facts and the law, as in other cases.

§6. Searches and seizures.

Section 6. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue without describing them as particularly as may be; nor then, unless there be probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.

§7. Procedural rights in criminal prosecutions; jury trial; self-incrimination; deprivation of life, liberty or property.

Section 7. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath a right to be heard by himself and his counsel, to be plainly and fully informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to meet the witnesses in their examination face to face, to have compulsory process in due time, on application by himself, his friends or council, for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor shall he be deprived of life, liberty or property, unless by the judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

§8. Prosecution by indictment or information; double jeopardy; just compensation for property.

Section 8. No person shall for any indictable offense be proceeded against criminally by information, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger; and no person shall be for the same offense twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall any man's property be taken or applied to public use without the consent of his representatives, and without compensation being made.

§9. Courts shall be open; remedy for injury; venue; suits against State.

Section 9. All courts shall be open; and every man for an injury done him in his reputation, person, movable or immovable possessions, shall have remedy by the due course of law, and justice administered according to the very right of the cause and the law of the land, without sale, denial, or unreasonable delay or expense. Suits may be brought against the State, according to such regulations as shall be made by law.

§10. Suspension of laws by General Assembly.

Section 10. No power of suspending laws shall be exercised but by authority of the General Assembly.

§11. Excessive bail or fines; cruel punishments; health of prisoners.

Section 11. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted; and in the construction of jails a proper regard shall be had to the health of prisoners.

§12. Right to bail; access to accused.

Section 12. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses when the proof is positive or the presumption great; and when persons are confined on accusation for such offenses their friends and counsel may at proper seasons have access to them.

§13. Suspension of habeas corpus.

Section 13. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

§14. Commission of oyer and terminer, or jail delivery.

Section 14. No commission of oyer and terminer, or jail delivery, shall be issued.

§15. Corruption of blood; forfeiture; descent of suicide's estate.

Section 15. No attainder shall work corruption of blood, nor except during the life of the offender forfeiture of estate. The estates of those who destroy their own lives shall descend or vest as in case of natural death, and if any person be killed by accident no forfeiture shall thereby be incurred.

§16. Right of assembly; petition for redress of grievances.

Section 16. Although disobedience to laws by a part of the people, upon suggestions of impolitic or injustice in them, tends by immediate effect and the influence of example not only to endanger the public welfare and safety, but also in governments of a republican form contravenes the social principles of such governments, founded on common consent for common good; yet the citizens have a right in an orderly manner to meet together, and to apply to persons entrusted with the powers of government, for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by petition, remonstrance or address.

§17. Standing army; necessity for legislative consent; subordination of military.

Section 17. No standing army shall be kept without the consent of the General Assembly, and the military shall in all cases and at all times be in strict subordination to the civil power.

§18. Prohibition against quartering soldiers in home.

Section 18. No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war but by a civil magistrate, in manner to be prescribed by law.

§19. Hereditary distinctions; holding office during good behavior; offices and titles from foreign states.

Section 19. No hereditary distinction shall be granted, nor any office created or exercised, the appointment to which shall be for a longer term than during good behavior; and no person holding any office under this State shall accept of any office or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince, or foreign State.

§20. Right to keep and bear arms.

Section 20. A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use. (4-16-87).