(A) Another name for a peace officer, similar to a marshal or sheriff, usual in rural areas, who has the power to serve legal documents, arrest those who are charged with breaking the law and generally keep the peace. Duties are defined by state law. (B) An officer, who is generally elected by the people. 2. He possess power, virture officii, as a conservator of the peace at common law, and by virtue of various legislative enactments; he. way therefore apprehend a supposed offender without a warrant, as treason, felony, breach of the peace, and for some misdemeanors Iess than felony, when committed in his view. He may also arrest a supposed offender upon the informatiou of others but he does so at his peril, unless he can show that a felony has been committed by some person, as well as the reasonableness of the suspicion that the party arrested is guilty. He has power to call others to his assistance; or he may appoint a deputy to do ministerial acts. 3 B urr. Rep. 1262. 3. A constable is also a ministerial officer, bound to obey the warrants and precepts of justices, coroners, and sheriffs. Constables are also in some states bound to execute the warrants and process of justices of the peace in civil cases. 4. In England, they have many officers, with more or less power, who bear the name of constables; as, lord high constable of England, high constable 3 Burr. 1262 head constables, petty constables, constables of castles, constables of the tower, constables of the fees, constable of the exchequer, constable of the staple 5. In some of the cities of the United States there are officers who are called high constables, who are the principal police officers where they reside.
Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition
In medieval law. The name given to a very high functionary under the French and English kings, the dignity and importance of whose office was only second to that of the monarch. He was in general the leader of the royal armies, and had cognizance of all matters pertaining to war and arms, exercising both civil and military Jurisdiction. He was also charged with the conservation of the peace of the nation. Thus there was a “Constable of France” and a “Lord High Constable of England.” In English law. A public civil officer, whose proper and general duty Is to keep the peace within his district though he is frequently charged with additional duties. 1 BL Comm. 356. High constables, in England, are officers appointed in every hundred or franchise, whose proper duty seems to be to keep the king’s peace within their respective hundreds. 1 Bl. Comm. 356 ; 8 Steph. Comm. 47. Petty constables are inferior officers in every town and parish, suoordinate to the high constable of the hundred, whose principal duty is the preservation of the peace, though they also have other particular duties assigned to them by act of parliament, particularly the service of the summonses and the execution of the warrants of justices of the peace. 1 Bl. Comm. 356 ; 3 Steph. Comm. 47, 48. Special constables are persons appointed (with or without their consent) by the magistrates to execute warrants on particular occasions, as in the case of riots, etc. In American law. An officer of a municipal corporation (usually elected) whose duties are similar to those of the sheriff, though his powers are less and his jurisdiction smaller. He is to preserve the public peace, execute the process of magistrates’ courts, and of some other tribunals, serve writs, attend the sessions of the criminal courts, have the custody of juries, and discharge other functions sometimes assigned to him by the local law or by statute. Comm. v. Deacon, 8 Serg. & R. (Pa.) 47; Leavitt v. Leavitt, 135 Mass. 191; Allor v. Wayne . County, 43 Mich. 76, 4 N. W. 492. Constable of a eastle. In English law. An officer having charge of a castle; a warden, or keeper; otherwise called a “castellain.” Constable of England. (Called, also, “Marshal.”) His office consisted in the care of the common peace of the realm in deeds of arms and matters of war. Lamb. Const 4. Constable of 8eotland. An officer who was formerly entitled to command all the king’s armies in the absence of the king, and to take cognizance of all crimes committed within four miles of the king’s person or of parliament the privy council, or any general convention of the states of the kingdom. The office was hereditary in the family of Errol, and was abolished by the 20 Geo. III. c. 43. Bell; Ersk. Inst 1, 3, 37. Constable of the exchequer. An officer mentioned in Fleta, lib. 2, c. 31. High constable of England, lord. His office has been disused (except only upon great and solemn occasions, as the coronation, or the like) since the attainder of Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of Henry VII.