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Mr. WOOTTEN. That is the fact, but we frequently have to file an affidavit, and more frequently a brief, to get the case moved back there. That happens every day in our civil practice. We do not want to have the case at Jackson on account of not getting it tried expeditiously, and the judge does not want to stay at Jackson as the hotel accommodations are not good in a little town of 1,500 people, and we are all in a rush to get away; and there are several hundred criminals and bootleggers hanging around the courthouse and the jail. There are 10 counties in Jackson; and I will say that 75 per cent of that prohibition business comes away from Jackson, as well as civil business.
We feel we should have a district up there and a judge and a marshal and a clerk, and all the machinery of a court. We are not opposing a third judge. That would relieve the situation to some extent, and we are for that if we can not get anything else, but we think the proper thing is to have another district, and in that way bring the justice close to us. It is 107 miles from Hazard to the Letcher and Virginia State line.
Mr. THATCHER. Don't you believe that a third Judge would relieve the western district congestion better than a new district which tended primarily to relieve the eastern district there?
Mr. WOOTTEN. I do not know that that is true, Judge Thatcher, for any of these judges can be sent out to any other circuit.
Mr. THATCHER. But isn't it harder to take a man out of his district, than it is to send a "floating" judge there?
Mrs. LANGLEY. Not harder than to bring them in to us.
Mr. THATCHER. A third district would not relieve us in the western part of the State.
Mr. WOOTTEN. You do not need so much relief as we do, as there are four or five times more cases tried in the eastern district than in the western district.
Mr. THATCHER. But the civil cases I believe are on the whole more important, in the western district. They are certainly fully as important as any in the eastern district.
Mr. WOOTTEN. Yes; I suspect they average up pretty well. You have a city of 350,000.
Mr. THATCHER. The census may show even more.
Mr. WOOTTEN. You have many civil and criminal cases there. However, Covington, I think, will show 70,000 to 75,000. Newport will show 30,000 to 40,000 and there are other large cities there in the proposed eastern district; and Hazard and Middlesboro are about the largest, 8,000 to 10,000 each. There are two cities there which will show up 40,000 in the old eastern section; Catlettsburg is one. That is one of the reasons why I say there will not be 80 per cent of the business tried in the new southern district. And, if you put a judge there it will be pretty evenly divided. That is said, knowing that the large cities are there, and the capital of the State is there. Now, the present headquarters of the courts at Covington-at that red spot on the map there indicating]—it is about 244 miles from Hazard up there. It is over 300 miles from the Virginia line of that district up to Covington.
We have to go there very often. Involuntary bankruptcy proceedings take us there often. We go to Maysville, 200 miles, and from there to Hazard, and when you reach to the Virginia line, at the extreme other point of the district, you have something like 300 miles.
The CHAIRMAN. What are the transportation facilities?
Mr. WOOTTEN. The N. & L. out of there, it takes us a full day to get there. Out of the Big Sandy River over on the eastern part of the map, where you find Pikeville and Paintsville, and then the C. & 0. R. R. runs there, but theirs is a slow train taking a whole day. Now the roads up the Cumberland River are good. Up the Big Sandy they are not completed. Up the Kentucky River you can not get out and you have to take a train. There are many of these counties that have no railroad whatever, and no dirt road whatever. Judge Wilson filed a road map with you this morning, and you will find from examination of that map there is scarcely a graded road in the Cumberland Valley and the Licking Valley which comes in there. The moonshiners have to come in on mule back or walk, or pay their way down, and they are out four or five or six days. Sometimes they go there to trial, and a great many of them plead guilty when the trial would probably acquit them. They do that to save all the annoyance and inconvenience. They can not afford to go back home and bring witnesses back with them.
Sometimes when we are sued here some fellow owning 50 acres on a hillside, not worth much money, but he may be sued in Lexington by Mr. Calvert's company, or some other company, and it will necessitate him employing a lawyer, paying his way to Lexington, taking witnesses—so you can see he can not afford to go to law over 10 or 15 acres of land, with the court so far away; whereas if the court was closer he could walk and have his witnesses walk.
Mr. THATCHER. If the law were amended so as to fix terms of court at other points in this proposed district area, and if the necessary time for court were provided there, wouldn't that tend to relieve that situation?
Mr. WooTTEN. You mean by putting on another judge?
Mr. THATCHER. Yes; and giving additional terms and more time at those places.
Mr. WOOTTEN. Yes, sir; that will help, but I do not think it relieves the situation thoroughly. Now, there is an item of expense made here—the economical side of this thing. That was brought up by the gentleman from Lexington, I believe. At any rate, it was brought out here, and I don't know just when, but they constituted themselves the watchdogs of the territory. I do not know when they got their change of heart. They have a veterans' hospital which, I understand, will cost $5,000,000.
Mr. THATCHER. $1,000,000. And the narcotic farm and improvements, $3,500,000 or $4,000,000.
Mr. WOOTTEN. And they will make that cost that much before they are through. Then they have the Federal building, with $750,000 to start on, and they will get more on that. We rejoice in their luck.
Judge Wilson. We have $750,000, and we are sitting pretty.
Mr. WOOTTEN. There is a court on one side of Lexington, 2.5 or 30 miles away, and on the other side about the same; and it seems too much money to consider giving appropriations to other places. We have to go to Lexington.
Judge Wilson. Those of us who appear in the State courts have to spend our money in your hotels. We can not persuade your State courts to come to Lexington.
Mr. WOOTTEN. No doubt you would, if you could, but Lexington should not be so hindred. Lexington may need a courthouse and the veterans' hospital, and the narcotic farm.
Mrs. LANGLEY. Mr. Chairman, our next speaker is United States Senator Robsion.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN MARSHALL ROBSION, UNITED
STATES SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY
Senator Rossion. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am sorry to have you indulge your time with further statement in this matter. I am very much interested in this situation. Some two or three years ago Senator Ernst, then in the Senate, introduced a bill in the United States Senate to accomplish this same thing. I then introduced a bill in the House along the same lines and we had hearings and made a considerable investigation.
Of course we all have our viewpoints and interests to serve, and it is rather hard to divorce ourselves from our own interests. Western Kentucky has its interests to serve. I have no complaint to make about their presentation of claims. Lexington has its interests. The bar there passed resolutions opposing this district, and perhaps if I were a member of the bar practicing law in Kentucky I would oppose this new district. It is much more convenient for the court to go to the lawyer than for the lawyer to go to the court; and I feel it serves somewhat the best interests of Lexington for this district not to be created.
I join with Congressman Thatcher in many matters. I joined him to secure the veterans hospital; and then joined with Mr. Blackburn and others to secure the narcotic farm for Lexington. I feel the Government made no mistake in locating these splendid institutions in the city of Lexington, for if you have been there you will know that no city in the country has more splendid surroundings than Lexington.
I have lived here in these hills many years on one side of the great water-shed, and Mrs. Langley lives on the other side. She has seen and I have seen, and we each know the view point there. We have a different viewpoint from that of Lexington or from that of Congressman Thatcher.
There certainly can be no complaint against Federal Judge Cochran. I have said of him that he is one Federal judge that should serve for life and live forever. I think Sawyer Smith is almost in a class by himself as a United States district attorney. So there is no complaint against the court or the officers of the court.
Then, secondly, there is the question of the court. While Judge Cochran opposed the creation of this district, the district attorney over here two years ago strongly urged it and he filed reports from the various clerks and other officials of the court that will convince any committee that if this district is created and new places for holding court are established, it will save the United States Government thousands and thousands of dollars every year. It will not add $1 to the expense.
The CHAIRMAN. How is that?
Senator Rossion. In this bill it calls for a place at Pikeville. As at present the nearest court is at Catlettsburg. These witnesses living out in the hills, lots of them require a day to get to the train.
Perhaps another day to get down to the court, a distance of 105 miles. Then they attend the court two days more to get back home, that is five or six days in some cases, and then their witness fees are always three or four days.
The CHAIRMAN. And if they are Government witnesses the Government has to pay?
Senator Rossion. Yes; the Government has to pay, and the court sometimes knowing the financial condition of these poor folks they will add a day or two days to help them get home. Now, if this was brought to this county where Mrs. Langley lives, those people could go there and you would save the mileage and three to six days spent in attendance fees of witnesses.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it your idea that the saving there would offset other disadvantages?
Senator ROBSION. I know it would. Read the testimony of the district attorney there and it will be shown that there will be savings of thousands of dollars to the Government if this new district is established.
STATEMENT OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT ATTORNEY The United States, and the litigants in civil suits to which the United States is not a party, are at great expense in bringing witnesses, juror, and parties interested from the Pikeville territory to Catlettsburg court, and the same thing applies to Somerset, Pineville, and Hazard, and the counties in the vicinity of these cities.
The figures for the Catlettsburg court, above cited, are a fair illustration of the expense incurred. About one-half of the 429 criminal cases disposed of at Catlettsburg during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1926, arose in the Pikeville territory. The distance from Pikeville to Catietisburg, according to the mileage table used by the United States for the payment of witnesses, is 105 miles. The railroad connections are such that it takes one day for such witnesses to get to Catlettsburg, and should the case be tried on the succeeding day, when the witness returns, such witness has been away three days. Witnesses are paid for the time necessary in traveling to and from court. This is placing it at the minimum time. Because of the crowded condition of this docket witnesses are usually required to stay at court two or three days or longer in criminal cases. The witness fees are 10 cents per mile-5 cents each way--and when the witness stays over night $5 per day, and if such witness is not required to stay over night $2 per day. There is an average of four witnesses to each criminal case in the eastern district of Kentucky. Each witness from Pikeville and in that immediate territory now costs the United States $10.50 mileage and (three days $2 per diem and $3 subsistence) $15 per diein and subsistence, making a total cosu of $25.50. Four witnesses to the case would make the cost $102 in each case for witnesses. Approximately 200 cases from this territory each year will mak: this item cost the United States $20,400 per year. This mileage will be saved to the United States if a court is established at Pikeville, and the per diem and subsistence, except the $2 on each witness, will be saved in nearly every instance. because the witness can return from Pikeville to his home without using an extra day to get to court and an additional day to get back home.
A similar cash saving can be shown in civil cases where the United States is not a party, and where the expenses must be borne by the parties to the litigationi.
In equity and bankruptcy matters and in common-law and criminal cases where litigants wish to appear before the court and the court is not in session at Catlettsburg, they must go to the official headquarters of the court and the court officials---Covington, Ky. When they so appear from Pikeville, they are required to travel 255 miles according to the mileage tab es used by the United States. This is a great expense and inconvenience to the parties.
What has been said relative to Pikeville applies to Somerset Hazard, Whitesburg, Pineville, and Harlan, where the people will be served by the court if established at Pineville.
Without going into details relative to each court, we quote the mileage required ir such trive! from each place. It is as follows:
Miles Pikeville to Catlettsburg
105 Pikeville to Covington.
255 Harlan to London.
85 Harlan to Covington.
254 Pineville to London.
45 Pineville to Covington..
215 Whitesburg to Jackson.
88 Whitesburg to Covington.
,253 Hazard to Jackson.
45 Hazard to Covington.
210 Somerset to Lexington.
80 Somerset to Covington.
164 The above data has been compiled and is submitted with the view of showing the tremendous amount of business transacted in the United States courts in Kentucky and the necessity of the proposed legislation.
The location of the counties involved, the distances of travel, and expenses incident thereto, show that the only practical solution of this question is the creation of an additional district. Districts with large cities, and a large proportion of the business therein arising in such cities, do not furnish parallel cases.
Senator Rossion. Now, then, there is another side—a human side to this—Mrs. Chairman and gentlemen. I have been to those courts many times, and since I have been in the Congress 10 or 12 years, case after case where men and women were innocent, they pleaded “Guilty" and took a small fine, and a jail sentence because they had not the money to take their witnesses 105 miles and keep them hanging around at the court. It is the human side, gentlemen of the committee, that I want to touch on here. But what I have said about that place is true of many places. Sometimes I can not understand why all this discrimination all these years is against all of that end of Kentucky.
Here it is pointed out, and I would not take any court from any place. Lexington is 28 miles to Richmond, another Federal court, 28 miles to Frankfort, another Federal court, and three United States courts within 58 miles, and yet some of our friends here would have these people wait longer to go to Lexington or to go to Covington to have their cases heard or their cases tried. It has been said you might have another judge. Let me point out to my good friend Congressman Thatcher, this point, where would headquarters be? Louisville or Covington where the Federal court and the judges are?
Mr. THATCHER. The bill can prescribe. Put him in the southern part of the State. He can be placed anywhere.
Senator Robsion. I have never yet seen a Federal judge that was willing to surrender a foot of ground over which he presided, or that was tending in any way to divide or abbreviate his authority.
Judge Wilson. Judge Dawson is on record here as in opposition to the statement you have made.
Senator Rossion. But you know if Judge Evans-Kentucky was once one district and Judge Evans was a Federal judge-he came to Washington and he came before the committee and fought with every ounce of his energy against the division of Kentucky. Judge Cochran lives in this country and the folks love him and he wants to continue his career as long as he can be useful; and if you had another judge, Judge Cochran and Judge Dawson would boss him.
Mr. THATCHER. The senior circuit judge would prevail.
Senator RobSION. It will save the Government money. There should be some new place of holding court.