Welcome to the Common Law Assembly for New Hampshire website.

Common Law

As seen in the OnlineLawDictionary, Blacks Law, 2nd edition defines it; 

As distinguished from the Roman law, the modern civil law, the canon law, and other systems, the common law is that body of law and juristic theory which was originated, developed, and formulated and is administered in England, and has obtained among most of the states and peoples of Anglo-Saxon stock."  
Law Dictionary:  What is COMMON LAW? definition of COMMON LAW (Black's Law Dictionary) 

Common Law from the Perspective of the US Supreme Court

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, confirmed that the American grand jury is neither part of the judicial, executive nor legislative branches of government, but instead belong to the people. It is in effect a fourth branch of government ‘governed’ and administered to directly by and on behalf of the American people, and its authority emanates from the Bill of Rights, the acts of the Grand Jury is the consent of the people.

The Common Law Grand Jury

The Grand Jury is of the people, as ruled by Justice Antonin Scalia, in the Supreme Court ruling of 1992. With this ruling the 4th. branch of government was re-established. Justice Antonin Scalia goes on to say this about the Common Law Grand Jury. 

 “the grand jury is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but not in the body of the Constitution. It has not been textually assigned, therefore, to any of the branches described in the first three Articles. It “… is a constitutional fixture in its own right. In fact the whole theory of its function is that it belongs to no branch of the institutional government, serving as a kind of buffer or referee between the Government and the people.”  - Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Thus, citizens have the unbridled right to empanel their own grand juries and present ‘True Bills’ of indictment to a court, which is then required to commence a criminal proceedings. Our Founding Fathers presciently thereby created a “buffer” the people may rely upon for justice, when public officials, including judges, criminally violate the law.”  - Justice Antonin Scalia

“The Grand Jury is an institution separate from the courts, over whose functioning the courts do not preside, we think it clear that, as a general matter at least, no such “supervisory” judicial authority exists. The “common law” of the Fifth Amendment demands a traditional functioning grand jury” - Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Although the grand jury normally operates, of course, in the courthouse and under judicial auspices, its institutional relationship with the judicial branch has traditionally been, so to speak, at arms’ length. Judges direct involvement in the functioning of the grand jury has generally been confined to the constitutive one calling the grand jurors together and administering their oaths of office. The grand jury’s functioning independence from the judicial branch is evident both in the scope of its power to investigate criminal wrongdoing, and in the manner in which that power is exercised.” –Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The grand jury ‘can investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even because it wants assurance that it is not.’ It need not identify the offender it suspects, or even “the precise nature of the offense” it is investigating.”

The grand jury requires no authorization from its constituting court to initiate an investigation, nor does the prosecutor require leave of court to seek a grand jury indictment. And in its day-to-day functioning, the grand jury generally operates without the interference of a presiding judge. It swears in its own witness and deliberates in total secrecy.” –Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Recognizing this tradition of independence, we have said the 5th. Amendment’s constitutional guarantee presupposes an investigative body ‘acting independently of either prosecuting attorney or judge” –Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Given the grand jury’s operational separateness from its constituting court, it should come as no surprise that we have been reluctant to invoke the judicial supervisory power as a basis for prescribing modes of grand jury procedure. Over the years we have received many requests to exercise supervision over the grand jury’s evidence-taking process, but we have refused them all.  “it would run counter to the whole history of the grand jury institution” to permit an indictment to be challenged.” On the ground that there was incompetent or inadequate evidenced before the grand jury” - Justice Antonin Scalia.

Assembling the Common Law People

Meeting times and places will be published to this website with meeting minutes made public. 

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