Page images

taken place in England during the past year, to the extent of saying that the legal profession cannot be charged with ingratitude if it watches the departure of the dying year without regret. It says that the past twelve months has been the worst in the annals of the English bar, The number of cases entered for trial was considerably less than in the preceding year, a fact the unpleasantness of which was scarcely mitigated by a slight diminution in the number of calls to the bar. The deadlock in the common law courts was largely due to the protracted illness of several of the judges, and to other circumstances which the Law Journal proceeds to detail. Another cause of the clog in the courts seems to be the great age of some of the judges. Lord Esber and Mr. Justice Hawkins have just celebrated their eightieth birthdays. The last year laid to rest no active judges, but two ex-judges of exceptional eminence, Lord Selborne, who died at eighty-eight, and Sir James Bacon, last of the vice-chancellors, who lacked but two years of becoming a centenarian.

CHARLES FREDERICK WILLIAMS.—This unobtrusive but laborious legal scholar died on the 20th of December in Boston, at the age of fifty-three. He had done work on the United States Digest, the American Digest, Jacob's Complete Digest, the Massachusetts Digest of Mr. Kinney, and the Massachusetts Digest of Mr. Throop. He was the author of a work on “The Tariff Laws of the United States," and had been employed for some time prior to his death as general editor of The American and English Encyclopedia of Law. His death resulted from a stroke of paralysis. He was of good family, and a capable man. We can almost surely read between the lines of the obituary notice of him which now lies before us, that he succumbed to the enormous drudgery incident to the work of a law bookseller's back. With a stronger constitution, or possibly with less labors and responsibilities imposed upon him, he might have held out for a longer period, as the late Robert Desty did. With such examples before us, we earnestly put the inquiry to our brother hacks, why we had not better, all of us, shake off the trammels of hackdom and engage in the only proper work of a lawyer, the practice of his profession.

FEDERAL INVASION OF STATE AUTHORITY BY MEANS OF THE HABEAS Corpus. The invasion by the Federal courts of the prisons of the States by means of the writ of habeas corpus has long been a crying

[blocks in formation]

abuse, though unquestionably it has diminished in late years under salutary decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. For the last fifteen years, the AMERICAN LAW REVIEW has steadily drawn attention to this abuse. Now the Attorney-General of the United States takes it up in his first report, which was laid before Congress on the seventh of December. Among other things, he says:

A growing abuse of the writ of habeas corpus should be corrected, which is wasting the time of the Supreme Court and bringing discredit on the administration of justice. Proceedings in State courts are absolutely stayed by section 766, Revised Statutes, pending appeals to the Supreme Court from action of the Circuit Courts in writs of habeas corpus, which may be taken as of right. By suing out successive writs and prosecuting appeals to the Supreme Court, persons convicted in State courts have succeeded in securing repeated delays of execution. There is no limit to this process, so long as prisoners are able to secure counsel. I respectfully suggest, as a cure for this evil, that the allowance of a stay by the Supreme Court, or a judge thereof, be required, at least on all appeals after the first.

ght, and Si

ut two years

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

CONVICTION OF THE FORGERS OF THE NORTH CAROLINA STATUTE. - It gives us great pleasure to be able to state that the legislative clerks, through whose misconduct the forgery of the pretended statute which was under consideration by the Supreme Court of North Carolina in the late case of Carr v. Coke, was perpetrated upon the people of that State, have been convicted therefor and sentenced to work on the roads for the term of twelve months. It has been suggested to us that there is something illogical in punishing these officers of the legislature criminally and at the same time in refusing to grant a mandamus to compel the Secretary of State to refrain from printing the forgery in the book of published statutes. That is true; but in many other cases the law is equally illogical. Besides, non constat but that the Supreme Court of North Carolina may reverse this conviction. We reiterate our confidence in the proposition that the judicial branch of the government of the State has no more power to say what shall not be published as a statute of the State, than it has to say what shall not be enacted as such a statute; but that when it comes to the exercise of its own jurisdiction in cases between suitor and suitor, it is under the obligation of ascertaining in every case whether a document propounded as a statute of the State is such or not, and if it finds it to be not such in point of fact, to refuse to administer it as such. We put forth these ideas, as lawyers always must, subject to reversal. But are we not right in these views ?

[ocr errors]

pon him, be Destydi. viry to our he trammes lawyer

, the

1 29 Am. Law Rev. 734; 30 Am. Law Rev. 115.

HE HABER ons of the in s crying

FEDERAL AND STATE JURISDICTION: ISSUING A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS TO THE MARSHAL OF THE UNITED STATES. One would suppose that the lesson received by the judicatories of Wisconsin from the Supreme Court of the United States in the leading case of Albeman v. Booth, followed, as it was, by Ex parte Tarble ? would not have been so soon forgotten. But it seems that one of the State courts in Wisconsin has had the assurance to send its writ of habeas corpus to a marshal of the United States, commanding him to produce before a commissioner of the State of Wisconsin, a prisoner held by such marshal, charged, under the laws of the United States, with making an assault with intent to kill within the precincts of an institution of the United States called "the Wisconsin Soldiers' Home.” These cases taught the lesson to the State judicatories, which it took them a long time to learn, that under our dual system of government, both the general government and the governments of the States cannot be supreme, but that, where the two governmental agencies come in conflict, the State governments must necessarily give way to the general government, and that, the supreme Federal judicatory is the conclusive arbitrator between the two conflicting authorities. If a prisoner is unlawfully held by a marshal of the United States in contravention of the rightful authority of a State, the only possible way for the authorities of the State to remedy the grievance is by application to the proper court of the United States for the release or rendition of the prisoner.


We take the following statement of the first opinion delivered by Mr. Justice Peckham from the editorial column of the Law Times, of London:

Associate Justice Rufus W. Peckham, of the United States Supreme Court, who took his place on the Bench this month, has just delivered his first opinion as a member of that court. The question in dispute was interesting, and the decision shows that Justice Peckham is one of those judges who do not believe in limiting unduly the powers of the national government. Congress passed an act empowering the United States to acquire lands at Gettysburg in the State of Pennsylvania to form a military park. The land to be acquired was that on which the great battle was fought in the summer of 1863, which was the turning-point in the Civil War between the States. Many private associations of veterans of the Northern and Southern armies have placed monuments at different points of the battle-field to mark the places at which their regiments

1 21 How. (U. S.) 506.

2 13 Wall. (U. S.) 397.


le would sur

opsin from the of Albeman . t have been s s in Wisconsin 0 & marshald 1 commissioner shal

, charged ult with inten d States called le lesson to the

stood in important crises in the three days' fight. The veterans desired that the United States government should take the land to preserve it from other uses, The constitutionality of the law was attacked on the ground that the right of eminent domain could not be exercised by the national government for such a purpose as the formation of a park. The judges in the lower Federal court disagreed in opinion, two of them holding that the law was unconstitutional, while another thought that it was a legitimate public use of the land to acquire it for a park, so that the battle-field might be preserved in its original condition and the positions and movements of the troops at the various stages of the battle might be marked. He thought that the power given by the constitution to maintain armies might include the right to teach them military science by such an illustration as this battle-field would afford of methods of fighting adopted by great commanders. The United States Supreme Court, by the opinion which Justice Peckham has rendered, sustains the right of the government to form a military park at that place, and to appropriate private property for that purpose, with proper compensation to the owners.

I'n, that under nment and the

where the ITO ernments un

it, the supreme

be two condict marshal of the of a State

, the pedr the gras States for the

A CALIFORNIA LADY LAWYER ADMITTED TO THE BAR OF NEW YORK.We find the following in the New York World for February 21st:

Mrs. Clara Shortridge Foltz was presented for admission to the New York bar yesterday by Gen. Benjamin F. Tracy, at the noon sitting of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. In the last ten years Mrs. Foltz has gained an enviable reputation in California. She was the first woman admitted to the Hastings College of Law, an adjunct of the University of the State of California, and then only after a long contest before the courts. As & stump speaker she has been heard in the last five campaigns in California, and in 1892 was the candidate of the People's party for City and County Attorney.

She holds a license to practice law in the United States Supreme Court, besides in the courts of California, Michigan and Oregon. Her father was a lawyer of high repute. He was a member of the convention that nominated President Lincoln in 1861. She herself was the author of the bill which was passed by the California Legislature of 1878, allowing women to practice law. Along with her success in civil cases, she has gained fame as a criminal lawyer particularly.

In presenting Mrs. Foltz for admission before the full bench of the Supreme Court yesterday Gen. Tracy paid high tribute to her ability.

"I have come to New York to practice law," said Mrs. Foltz, in her offices in Temple Court, “because I feel that it opens a field so much larger than the West offers. I aim to do as much criminal work as I can. I shall be sworn in to-morrow."

[blocks in formation]

Mrs. Foltz had a distinguished career at the bar of San Francisco, and enjoyed the honor of being founder and dean for life of that unique society of lady law students called the “• Portia Club," described in our Publishers' Department 'some numbers ago, where a portrait of Mrs. Foltz will be found in her robes of office. VOL. XXX.



CASE OF Miss FLAGLER: A DISGRACEFUL PROCEEDING. It will be remembered about a year ago Miss Flagler, the daughter of a general in the army, shot and killed a colored boy, who was in a fruit tree in her father's garden, in the act of stealing fruit. Miss Flagler was indicted for something, we have forgotten wbat; but she never would have been brought to trial at all if the colored people of Washington had not, by their protests, stirred the authorities into some pretended activity. Miss Flagler was finally allowed to plead guilty to " involuntary manslaughter,” and was sentenced to pay a fine of $500, which her father, no doubt, could easily pay, and to be imprisoned in the jail for three hours, She was driven to and from the jail in her father's private carriage, and is reported to have sat in the matron's room in the jail in pleasant company during the one hundred and eighty minutes of her pretended imprisonment. The outcome of this case bas been justly characterized by the respectable portion of the lay press as a scandal upon the administration of justice, and as a confirmation of the wide-spread belief that there is one kind of justice for the rich and another for the poor. No one can possibly doubt that if a negro woman had discovered a white boy perched on a limb of one of her apple trees, stealing apples, and had thereupon lifted up a gun and shot him, the negro woman would have suffered the full penalty of the law. The outcome of this case is a shame a burning shame - and the judge who entertained the plea of guilty of involuntary manslaughter ought to regret it as long as he lives.

[merged small][ocr errors]


It is a small matter and not to be classed among the legislative reforms, but the suggestion that the practice of engrossing bills be done away with is worth considering. It seems strange that it should have survived so long after the introduction of the art of printing. The bill which is really considered by the members of the legislature is the printed bill which lies upon their desks, the bill they vote upon is a manuscript which they have never seen and which may not even have been read in their hearing. This manuscript when signed by the presiding officers and the Governor is held to be conclusive evidence of the will of the legislature. Under the decisions in New Jersey no evidence is admitted to show that this was not in every particular the bill that was voted on. Even the commas in this manuscript which few members of either house

1 Pangborn v. Young, 32 N. J. L. (3 Vr.) 29; Passaic 0. Stevenson, 46 N. J. L. (17 Vr.) 173, 184; Standard

Underground Cable Co. 0. Attorney-
General, 46 N. J. Eq., 1 Dick. Chy.

« PreviousContinue »