Congress passed a series of laws known as the Reconstruction Acts in 1867. These laws required the former Confederate states to dissolve existing state governments, register all eligible men (white or African-American) to vote, and then hold conventions to create new state constitutions. To be readmitted to the United States, each state’s constitution had to accept the end of slavery and adopt the 14th amendment, which guaranteed equal rights for all men, regardless of race. Florida’s voters selected delegates to a state constitutional convention in November 1867. The convention met on January 20, 1868, and the new constitution was ratified by the voters the following May.
Such terms shall commence on the second Tuesday of October, January, and April respectively.
Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction in all cases in equity, also in all cases of law in which is involved the title to or right of possession of real estate, or the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, toll, or municipal fine, or in which the demand or the value of the property in controversy exceeds three hundred dollars; also in all other civil cases not included in the general subdivisions of law and equity; also in all questions of law alone; in all criminal cases in which the offense charged amounts to felony. The court shall have power to issue writs of mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, quo warranto, habeas corpus, and also all writs necessary or proper to the complete exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. Each of the justices shall have the power to issue writs of habeas corpus to any part of the State upon petition by or on behalf of any person held in actual custody, and may make such writs returnable before himself or the Supreme Court, or before any circuit court in the State, or before any judge of said courts.
Section 6. The Supreme Court shall appoint a clerk of the Supreme Court, who shall have his office at the Capitol, and shall be librarian of the Supreme Court library; he shall hold his office until his successor is appointed and qualified.
Section 7. There shall be seven circuit judges appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, who shall hold their office for eight years. The State shall be divided into seven judicial districts, the limits of which are defined in this Constitution, and one judge shall be assigned to each circuit. Such judge shall hold two terms of his court in each county within his circuit, each year, at such times and places as shall be prescribed by law. The chief justice may in his discretion order a temporary exchange of circuits by the respective judges, or any judge, to hold one or more terms in any other circuit than that to which he is assigned. The judge shall reside in the circuit to which he is assigned.
Section 8. The circuit courts in the several judicial circuits shall have original jurisdiction in all cases of equity, also in all cases at law which involve the title or the right of possession to, or the possession of, or the boundaries of real property; of the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, toll, or municipal fine, and in all other cases in which the demand or the value of property in controversy exceeds three hundred dollars, and of the action of forcible entry and unlawful detainer, and also in all criminal cases amounting to felony. They shall have final appellate jurisdiction in all civil cases arising in the county court in which the amount in controversy is one hundred dollars and upwards, and in all cases of misdemeanor. The circuit courts and the judges thereof shall have power to issue writs of mandamus, injunction, quo warranto, certiorari, and all other writs proper and necessary to the complete exercise of their jurisdiction, and also shall have power to issue writs of habeas corpus on petition by or on behalf of any person held in actual custody in their respective circuits.