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To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we, the people of eorgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution:
Section I. Paragraph I. All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people, and at all times amenable to them.
Par. II. Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government, and shall be impartial and complete.
Par. III. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, except by due process of law.
Par. IV. No person shall be deprived of the right to prosecute or defend his own cause in any of the courts of this State, in person, by attorney, or both.
Par. V. Every person charged with an offense against the laws of this State shall have the privilege and benefit of counsel; shall be furnished, on demand, with a copy of the accusation, and a list of the witnesses on whose testimony the charge against him is founded; shall have compulsory process to obtain the testimony of his own witnesses; shall be confronted with the witnesses testifying against him, and shall have a public and speedy trial by an impartial jury.
Par. VI. No person shall be compelled to give testimony tending in any way to criminate himself.
Par. VII. Neither banishment beyond the limits of the State, nor whipping, as a punishment for crime, shall be allowed.
Par. VIII. No person shall be put in jeopardy of life, or lib erty, more than once for the same offense, save on his, or her, own motion for a new trial after conviction, or in case of mistrial.
Par. IX. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; nor shall any person be abused in being arrested, while under arrest, or in prison.
Par. X. No person shall be compelled to pay costs, except after conviction on final trial.
Par. XI. The writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.
Par. XII. All men have the natural and inalienable right to worship God, each according to the dictates of his own conscience, and no human authority should, in any case, control or interfere with such right of conscience.
Par. XIII. No inhabitant of this state shall be molested in person or property, or prohibited from holding any office of trust, on account of his religious opinions; but the right of liberty of conscience shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State.
Par. XIV. No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religionists, or of any sectarian institution.
Par. XV. No law shall ever be passed to curtail, or restrain, the liberty of speech, or of the press; any person may speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.
Par. XVI. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause, supported by oath, or affirmation, particularly describing the place, or places, to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Par. XVII. There shall be within the State of Georgia neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime after legal conviction thereof.
Par. XVIII. The social status of the citizen shall never be the subject of legislation.
Par. XIX. The civil authority shall be superior to the military, and no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, except by the civil magistrate, in such manner as may be provided by law.
Par. XX. The power of the courts to punish for contempts shall be limited by legislative acts.
Par. XXI. There shall be no imprisonment for debt.
Par. XXII. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.
Par. XXIII. The legislative, judicial and executive powers shall forever remain separate and distinct, and no person discharging the duties of one shall at the same time exercise the functions of either of the others, except as herein provided.
Par. XXIV. The people have the right to assemble peaceably for their common good, and to apply to those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances by petition or remonstrance.
Par. XXV. All citizens of the United States, resident in this State, are hereby declared citizens of this State; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to enact such laws as will protect them in the full enjoyment of the rights, privileges and immunities due to such citizenship.
Section II. Paragraph I. In all prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence; and the jury in all criminal cases shall be the judges of the law and the facts. The power of the judges to grant new trials in case of conviction is preserved.
Par. II. Treason against the State of Georgia shall consist in levying war against her, adhering to her enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in open court.
Par. III. No conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.
Par. IV. All lotteries, and the sale of lottery tickets, are hereby prohibited; and this prohibition shall be enforced by penal laws.
Par. V. Lobbying is declared to be a crime, and the General Assembly shall enforce this provision by suitable penalties.
Par. VI. The General Assembly shall have the power to provide for the punishment of fraud; and shall provide, by law, for reaching property of the debtor concealed from the creditor.
Section III. Paragraph I. In case of necessity, private ways may be granted upon just compensation being first paid by the applicant. Private property shall not be taken, or damaged, for public purposes, without just and adequate compensation being first paid.
Par. II. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or making irrevocable grants of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed.
Par. III. No grant of special privileges or immunities shall be revoked, except in such manner as to work no injustice to the corporator or creditors of the incorporation.
Paragraph I. Laws of a general nature shall have uniform operation throughout the State, and no special law shall be enacted in any case for which provision has been made by an existing general law. No general law affecting private rights shall be varied in any particular case by special legislation, except with the free consent, in writing, of all persons affected thereby; and no person under legal disability to contract is capable of such consent.
Par. II. Legislative acts in violation of this Constitution or the Constitution of the United States, are void, and the judiciary shall so declare them.
Section V. Paragraph I. The people of this State have the inherent, sole and exclusive right of regulating their internal government, and the police thereof, and of altering and abolishing their Constitution whenever it may be necessary to their safety and happiness.
Par. II The enumeration of rights herein contained, as a part of this Constitution, shall not be construed to deny to the people any inherent rights which they may have hitherto enjoyed.
Section L. Paragraph I. In all elections by the people the electors shall vote by ballot.
Par. II. Every male citizen of the United States (except as hereinafter provided), twenty-one years of age, who shall have resided in this State one year next preceding the election, and shall have resided six months in the county in which he offers to vote, and shall have paid all taxes which may hereafter be required of him, and which he may have had an opportunity of paying, agreeable to law, except for the year of the election, shall be deemed an elector: Provided, That no soldier, sailor or marine in the military or naval service of the United States shall acquire the rights of an elector by reason of being stationed on duty in this State; and no person shall vote who, if challenged, shall refuse to take the following oath, or affirmation: “I do swear (or affirm) that I am twenty-one years of age, have resided in this State one year and in this county six months, next preceding this election. I have paid all taxes which, since the adoption of the present Constitution of this State, have been required of me previous to this year, and which I have had an opportunity to pay, and I have not voted at this election."
Section II. Paragraph I. The General Assembly may provide, from time to time, for the registration of all electors, but the following classes of persons shall not be permitted to register, vote or hold any office, or appointment of honor or trust in this State, to wit: First. Those who shall have been convicted, in any court of competent jurisdiction, of treason against the State, of embezzlement of public funds, malfeasance in office, bribery or larceny, or of any crime involving moral turpitude, punishable by the laws of this State with imprisonment in the penitentiary, unless such person shall have been pardoned. Second. Idiots and insane persons.
Section III. Paragraph I. Electors shall, in all cases except for treason, felony, larceny and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on elections, and in going to and returning from the same.