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6 mines work 1,516 men. That company alone works 4,234 men who reside within the three counties, all of whom are within 20 miles of the county seat of Madisonville, and within about 55 miles of the county seat of Christian County, or Hopkinsville.
Besides that, we have 18 other mines that are operated in Hopkins County, besides a number of minor operations; 18 other mines, including the Reinecke, Victoria, Moss Hill, Stirling of Kentucky, Nortonville, Ilsley, Grapevine, Sixth Vein, Dawson Daylight, together with the minor operations which employ 6,290 men.
So, you see, gentlemen, the population of the counties of Hopkins, Muhlenburg, Webster, and Union is largely composed of miners, and they are about the only litigants that have any business in a Federal court, and their business comes up out of the fact that they become injured in these operations. They file suit in my court, and I am circuit judge of the State court down there in these counties. The defendant files a petition and bond for removal if it is over $3,000, and nine times out of ten the case is removed and many times if they have an injury sufficient they are forced to go the the Federal court to bring the suit.
So, gentlemen, it would be greatly to the advantage of the people of those counties to have this Federal court located at Madisonville, Ky., if one is going to be located, rather than to be located at Hopkinsville, Ky. As you can understand it, Hopkinsville is located here just 14 miles from the Tennessee line. Of course there could be no business brought from Tennessee to the Hopkinsville court. If it is located at Madisonville it is 60 miles and more from the Tennessee line and in the heart of the area where the great bulk of the business that goes into the Federal courts in that section originates.
I want to leave those telegrams. These men represent the corporations, these lawyers and the men who sue these corporations and in everyone of these counties that produces coal and that is the principal industry, the lawyers representing the laborer and the lawyers representing the companies have signed a telegram to this committee saying it would be much to the convenience of the litigants of that territory to have it established at Madison ville, and if not established at Madison ville they do not think, as a matter of fact, it would be any relief to have it at Hopkinsville. There is quite a good deal of business. There is one case that is pending in the court at Owensboro growing out of the business in Hopkins where there is more than a million dollars involved, and as I said here, litigation is brought about by suits between citizens of different States, these coal companies being more than one hundred which are of foreign corporations, and whenever a suit is brought against one of those corporations it has to be brought in the Federal court; or if it is sufficient they file a petition and have it removed to the Federal court.
I do not know of anything else I can say except I would be glad if you would consult that map and would be pleased if you can strike out the word Hopkinsville and insert the word Madisonville.
I thank you very much.
RESOLUTION OF MADISONVILLE BAR ASSOCIATION
Resolved, That the Madisonville Bar opposes the establishment of a division or term of the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky at Hopkinsville, Ky., as being useless, unnecessary, expensive, and inconvenient to parties litigant and witnesses. The present law providing for a term
at Owensboro has been found convenient, economical, and satisfactory to the bar of Madison ville. This 1st day of April, 1930.
H. F. G. BAILEY,
Be it resolved by the Madisonville Chamber of Commerce that the Congress of the United States be petitioned to amend the proposed legislation for the establishment of a new Federal court district in Kentucky so that it shall provide for the holding of a regular term of said court at Madisonville, Ky., instead of at Hopkinsville, Ky., and that Hon. David H. Kincheloe, our Representative in Congress, be requested to urge the adoption of said amendment. Dated April 1, 1930.
MADISONVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
By D. UTLEY, President. L. K. BELL,
Secretary. W. B. FRENCH,
MADISONVILLE, Ky., April 5, 1930. The ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Washington, D. C. DEAR Sir: I am authorized to say to you that if the Congress of the United States shall see fit to establish a term of the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky at Madisonville, that the county of Hopkins will furnish to the United States, free of cost or expense to the United States, ample court-room accommodations, heat, light, and janitor service, for each term of said court at Madisonville, Ky. Yours truly,
J. D. SHAIN, County Judge, Hopkins County, Ky.
GREENVILLE, Ky., April 5, 1930. Judge Ruby LAFFOON,
Care of V. Y. Moore, Transportation Building, Washington, D. C.: We learned to-day that a rider is attached to Federal court bill authorizing new division with court sitting in Hopkinsville in the western division of Kentucky. This will affect Muhlenberg County and the bar of this county unalterably oppose this change and desire to remain in the Owensboro division, which is ample for all matters within the bounds as now fixed.
MEMBERS MUHLENBERG COUNTY BAR. By T. 0. Jones.
PRINCETON, Ky., April 5, 1930. Hon. RUBY LAFFOON,
Care of V. Y. Moore, Transportation Building, Washington, D. C.:
John C. GATES,
Dixon, Ky., April 5, 1930. Judge RUBY LAFFOON,
Care of V. Y. Moore, Transportation Building, Washington, D. C.: Webster County Bar 100 per cent for Madisonville to be designated as place to hold Federal court.
C. H. LISMAN.
J. M. RAYBURN.
MARION, Ky., April 5, 1930. RUBY LAFFOON,
Care of V. Y. Moore, Transportation Building, Washington, D. C.: Represent to Judiciary Committee of Congress that Marion Bar does not desire term of Federal court at Hopkinsville. Are satisfied with present term at Paducah; but if change is made prefer Madisonville as central point for new term.
JNO. A. MOORE.
R. L. Moor. Mrs. LANGLEY. In conclusion, I feel that the two places that oppose this bill are the big cities of Louisville and Lexington.
I want to show my good faith to Jefferson County, in Governor Thatcher's district, by offering the following amendment:
On page 2, line 3, after the word “Scott,” strike out the word "Shelby, and on page 4, line 7, after the word “Jefferson," insert the word “Shelby.”
In other words, strike Shelby as at present in the eastern district. We are perfectly willing to have it taken away and transferred from the western district as it joins
Mr. THATCHER. You are entirely too generous.
Mrs. LANGLEY. If I may talk with you a little more, we may be in accord.
STATEMENT BY JUDGE SAMUEL M. WILSON
Judge Wilson. I feel that those of us who have appeared here in opposition to this bill owe our thanks to this committee for its very patient hearing and having said that, all I want further to say is in response to the vehement and somewhat impassioned speech of the distinguished Senator from Kentucky, Mr. Robsion.
In response to some portions of his speech I would like Judge Cochran to be heard in his own behalf. But as to whether or not he understands and sympathizes with the people on whose behalf Senator Robsion has spoken, I would like to refer this committee to the case of the Commonwealth of Kentucky against Powers, reported in 139 Federal; as to whether or not his court is a cold-blooded corporation court, or as to whether or not the poor men, man of small means owning a small tract of land in the middle of the southern district (as proposed) of Kentucky, and whose title is challenged has any assurance of a square deal in Judge Cochran's court, I would like also to refer the committee to the recent case decided in the circuit
court of appeals of the sixth circuit, under the style of Elk Horn Coal Co. v. Casebalt. The case involves a small tract of land in Perry County, just north of where Hazard is located. The last case will be found reported in 34 Federal, second series, but I can not give you the page.
I cite these two cases in full confidence that the committee indorses the old saying, “you do not have to eat the whole mutton to get the flavor." I might cite you a good many cases to give you that information. In justice to the honored judge of the eastern district of Kentucky I feel the committee owe it to him to examine those cases.
Mrs. LANGLEY. On behalf of that great eastern section of Kentucky, those people who love Old Glory, a section peopled by men and women who stand ready at all times to defend the flag and the Nation, and to shield and protect the greatest of all institutions, the home; on behalf of them I plead for justice, for liberty, equality and a square deal. I feel that the passage of this legislation will bring that to the neglected, to the inconveniently located section of eastern Kentucky. I thank you.
Mr. CHRISTOPHERSON. If there is nothing further, the committee will adjourn and we will give this further consideration.
Mrs. LANGLEY. I would like to file my brief with the committee.
Mr. THATCHER. I want the privilege of extending my thanks to the committee.
Mr. CHRISTOPHERSON. We are very glad to have heard all of you. (Thereupon, at 5.15 p. m. o'clock, the subcommittee adjourned.)
BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA
TIVES-BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF BILL TO AMEND SECTION 83 OF THE JUDICIAL CODE, AS AMENDED
Kentucky is at present divided into two Federal judicial districts of nearly equal size, the eastern and western districts. The eastern district embraces 67 counties, partly in the mountains and partly in the Ohio Valley and bluegrass sections, and covers an area of more than 20,000 square miles. Its Federal court handles a much greater volume of business than that of the western district. The bill H. R. 5624 proposes to divide Kentucky into three judicial districts by annexing 10 counties of the western district to the eastern district and dividing the latter, thus enlarged, into the eastern and southern districts of Kentucky. The western district, with the 10 counties eliminated, constitutes the proposed new western district. The proposed southern district embraces the mountain section, and the eastern district embraces the Ohio Valley and bluegrass sections. The necessity for the proposed division is shown from the following:
1. The business of the Federal court for the present eastern district has increased more than 60 per cent since 1925. (See chart, p. 8.)
2. There are more criminal and civil cases to which the United States is a party, arising and being disposed of annually in the eastern district of Kentucky than in any other judicial district in the United States, with the exception of the southern district of New York, which has eight judges. (See table, pp. 10 to 14.)
3. The eastern district of Kentucky has but one judge and the extensive and rapid increase in the volume of Federal court business since 1925 is crowding the curt and unfair to the people.
4. The extensive industrial development in southeastern Kentucky within the past few years has greatly increased the business of the Federal court and necessitates the designation of a greater number of places for holding court in that section. The district already has seven designated places for holding court, and the only feasible solution is to form the southern district as proposed in the bill.
5. The inconvenience of travel in many of the southern counties, where railroad facilities are not available, and in the other mountain counties, where the trains are slower and an abnormal amount of time is consumed for the necessary appearance of citizens before the court, results in great disadvantage both to the people and to the court.
6. The Alleghany sister States of Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina have approximately the same area and same population, have a substantial volume of court business, and have the same problem as to inconvenience of travel in the mountain sections. These questions have been solved in Tennessee and North Carolina by Congress allowing each of them three judicial districts, the mountain section in each State being allotted a separate district. However, though handling a far greater number of Federal cases (criminal and civil) than either Tennessee or North Carolina, Kentucky has not yet been accorded such justice. The present eastern Kentucky is substantially the size of the adjɔining State of West Virginia and handles more Federal cases than the latter State, although West Virginia has two districts.
7. The present eastern district lies nalf in the mountains and half in the bluegrass and Onio Valley sections. There is a line of distinction which marks the occupations, lives, habits, and customs of the mountain people from those living within the bluegrass and Onio Valley sections of Kentucky. The people of the mountain section embraced within the newly proposed southern district are engaged primarily in mining and cultivating hillside farms under unfavorable conditions and hardships. The people of the bluegrass section either live within the business centers of Lexington, Covington, Frankfort, and other thriving bluegrass cities, or are engaged in the modern cultivation of level farms, raising choice stock and manufacturing. The citizens of each of these two sections better understand the habits, customs, intents, character, and lives of the people of their own locality than those of the other parts of the district or the State.
In the present eastern district of Kentucky many of the jury cases, both criminal and civil, arising in the one section are tried in the other; for example, those arising in Pulaski County, in the mountains of southern Kentucky, are tried in the bluegrass city of Lexington before jurymen, many of whom live in the letter vicinity. Though they are using every effort to be fair, it is submitted that these jurymen can not view the Pulaski picture with the same understanding, light, and correctness as can the people from the southern section. The same is true if the sections are reversed. To the Kentuckian the meaning of a trial by an impartial jury is set forth more explicitly in section 11, bill of rights, of the constitution of the State, which guarantees to the accused "A trial by the jury of the vicinage.” Judge O'Rear, Circuit Court of Appeals, State of Kentucky, in the case of Commonwealth v. Jones (118 Kentucky 889), interprets the phrase "jury of the vicinage” as follows:
“Literally it signifies ‘of the neighborhood' where the crime was committed. The purpose of the requirement is to insure the person charged with crime against being transported to a distant locality for trial where he can not have the benefit of the presence of his witnesses and of having their statements weighed by jurors acquainted with them. Poverty or other circumstances would frequently prevent those accused falsely from presenting their defense. Oppression and injustice would be possible and likely enough frequent.”
8. The present judge has presided over and observed the expansion of the Federal business in the eastern district of Kentucky for 28 years and would doubtless, for sentimental reasons, prefer the continuation of the same district rather than see it divided. However, he states that the business in the district is quite large; that there has been an increase in the criminal docket; that the size of the criminal docket is the distinguishing feature of the district; and that he is making an effort to stem the tide by imposing severe sentences in proper cases under the Jones law. Also, the record discloses 3,737 criminal cases disposed of last year, of which there were 3,293 convictions, thus averaging about 10 convictions daily. So long as the court is crowded by such a large number of cases which must be disposed of in order to make way for the cases newly arising, the court and officials no doubt use their best feasible methods to expedite the work and dispose of the cases. It is submitted, however, that in order to secure 10 convictions daily they can not accord the accused that deliberation and consideration of his defense and of his rights as was intended by the framers of the Constitution and as American justice demands. The work is obviously growing too great for this court or any court, and augmented by the large industrial developments of recent years in eastern Kentucky, the proposed new district for southeastern Kentucky has become indispensable.