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mittee with full power to act, or take action ourselves upon these two bills, or at least one of them. I want to say in behalf of the bill which was presented by the Denver Bar Association last winter, that we went over that bill with the utmost care. First by a committee of the Bar Association it was taken to the Supreme Court and gone over by the judges of that court; then by the judges of the Court of Appeals; it was then brought back and unanimously indorsed by the Denver Bar Association. It was introduced into the legislature and would have passed, in all human probability, if it had not been for the fact that so many other amendments were up that it was finally resolved that only one amendment should be considered, and that was the one mentioned, to amend the Constitution so that more than one amendment could be submitted to the people at one time. Now the object and purpose of that bill was to increase the Supreme Court judges to seven and lengthen their tenure of office from nine years, as at present, to fourteen years; and the latter, it seems to me, is as far as we can possibly hope to go at the present time, and it is a long step in the right direction. It seems to me the real difficulty in getting good judges is as to the amount of salary that is paid them and the tenure of office. If we would increase the salary and lengthen the tenure of office we would get better judges, although I think we have as good judges in this state as in any state in the union. The main object of the bill is to permit the Supreme Court to sit in two or more divisions. I will explain to the Association how we arrived at this result and the reasons that actuated us. In the first place, under the old English system they had these same intolerable delays in the administration of justice. Finally, in 1873, they reformed the entire judicial system of England, appointing what they called a High Court of Appeals, consisting of fifteen judges, and all appeals were heard by that court. The court would sit in divisions and two or three judges hear an appeal. Parliament reasoned correctly, it seems to me, that the due administration of justice simply required that a case should be heard at nisi prius before a judge and a jury, the judge supposed to be learned in the law, and then if any errors are committed in the trial they could be corrected by three judges on appeal. In such a case the chances are that justice would be done and fairly good rules of law laid down for the future. Under that system about fifteen judges in England attend to all the appellate business of the entire English nation and all of its colonies, and they have some
fifty or sixty millions of people in the British islands alone, to say nothing of the colonial possessions of that government. So that when we came to the situation in this state we thought that seven judges ought to attend to the business of half a million, if permitted to sit in two or more divisions. When we came to this country we looked at the Constitutions of the various states which have adopted this system and attempted to remedy the defects which the bar claims have grown up in those states. In New York they have a Court of Appeals, consisting of two divisions, but they are two permanent divisions; each one is really a separate and distinct court. That is also true in California. They have two divisions there. They also have two divisions in Missouri and several divisions in Texas, and in some of the other states. But all of them were permanent divisions. That is, they are the same as two separate and distinct courts. The judges are elected to sit in particular divisions. We found, however, that the state of Georgia, in 1895, profiting by the abuses or the defects of the system, had adopted an amendment to the Constitution increasing the number of judges and permitting the legis lature to provide a system of sitting in divisions, and the legisla ture of that state had passed an act by which the court could sit in divisions that should not become permanent. The judges could interchange, so that litigants could say that a case would be heard by the Supreme Court or some portion and not by any particular set of judges belonging to that court sitting in a particular division. The bill which we recommended makes an improvement even upon that. It provides that the Supreme Court shall sit in two or more divisions under such rules as the court itself may adopt. In other words, if the press of business is sufficient the judges may sit for the trial of smaller cases in three divisions, two judges in one division, two in another and three in the third, but there must be at least three judges concur in any opinion. Some may think that it is not right that two judges of the Supreme Court should hear and determine a case. I was talking with a judge of the Court of Appeals the other day and he told me that during one entire term of his court they passed only upon cases involving less than one hundred dollars. Now, don't you believe that if that class of cases are heard by a district judge, a man supposed to be a lawyer and learned in the law, and then if taken up determined by two judges of the Court of Appeal, substantial justice would be done? Of course, at any time if a law point of importance should be involved three or four judges, or whatever number may be determined on, can sit on
the case heard by the court en banc. It seems to me in that way we could keep up with the docket in this state. The report read here yesterday shows that we now have two courts. One of them is now nineteen months behind and the other is twenty-three months behind, and, as I understand it, both of them getting further behind every day. If that is the condition of affairs it has got to be remedied. If we permit it to go on it will be as far behind after awhile as the English system was in 1873. Now, these are the reasons which actuated us in submitting that bill and inserting these particular features. We lengthened the tenure to fourteen years, having one judge chosen every two years, providing that the governor should appoint the first four judges, which meant the transfer of the judges of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, and appointing the other. And for the purpose of getting this matter before the Association, I will offer a resolution that we recommend to the next legislature a bill drawn upon these lines, or the identical bill, and also a bill changing the time of electing the judges as recommended by the committee; that we recommend both of these bills to the next legislature.
It is moved and seconded that this Association adopt a bill along the same lines as that presented by the Committee on Law Reform, it to take such steps as may be necessary to secure its adoption by the legislature, together with a bill providing for an election at a separate time for judges.
W. H. Bryant:
It might be better to refer it to a committee and hold a meeting before the legislature convenes.
The motion of Mr. Bryant, as I understood, covers the bill as proposed by the Denver Bar Association. That is correct, is it?
W. H. Bryant:
Or one substantially on these lines.
Yes, but that is the ground work of it. Are there any further remarks?
James H. Blood:
The discussion this morning, and the copies of the bills submitted by the Committee on Law Reform, present two questions to this Association: First, the question of removing the judiciary from partisan politics. I assume that we are all agreed that this should be done. The only difference which exists is as to the method of arriving at the procedure whereby that result can be accomplished, but I will not now take your time to discuss that particular question, because I am in full accord with. everything that has been said in reference to it.
The other question presented by the committee and which has been referred to this morning, is that of the congested business of our appellate courts. For the purpose of informing this Association as to what action was taken in reference to this subject by the Denver Bar Association prior to the meeting of the last legislature, I brought to this meeting a copy of the report of the committee of that association, of which I was chairman, and which was appointed to consider this question. When that committee was appointed the first question which presented itself to it was as to the advisability or the inadvisability of hav ing two appellate tribunals. The next question which the committee considered was as to how the appellate court business of this state could be managed by one tribunal. I will read the report which the committee made to the Denver Bar Association, so that this Association will know what that committee found and the reasons for its conclusions and recommendations. It is as follows:
"Your committee, which has had under consideration the condition of the docket of the Court of Appeals and how to relieve the same, would respectfully report:
"That from inquiry it learns that the court is now nearly two years behind in its business, and that its new business is constantly increasing; that nearly thirty per cent. of the cases taken to said court are cases over which the Supreme Court has undoubted jurisdiction, and most of which are ultimately taken to the Supreme Court for final determination.
"Your committee is of the opinion that no good end is served by permitting litigants to have their causes reviewed by two appellate tribunals, while, by reason of the contrary opinions which are bound to follow from such a course, your committee believes that such a practice is positively pernicious, and that appellate practice, as well as all procedure, should have for its
principal object the termination of litigation rather than providing the means for prolonging the same.
"In order to overcome these and other objections which were considered, your committee would recommend that the Court of Appeals Act be amended by providing that any cause pending therein which has not been finally submitted for determination at the time of the adoption of the amendment, and which is not within the final jurisdiction of the court, may, by any party thereto, be removed to the Supreme Court, and that a failure so to do shall be deemed a waiver of the right to have the judgment of the Court of Appeals reviewed by the Supreme Court; and that it be further provided by said amendment, that the suing out of a writ of error from, or taking an appeal to, the Court of Appeals by a party in a case not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals, shall be deemed a waiver by such party of the right to sue out a writ of error from, or take an appeal to, the Supreme Court in such case; and that any such cause so brought into the Court of Appeals shall be transferred to the Supreme Court upon motion of the defendant in error, or appellee, made within a time limited, and that a failure within the time to make such motion shall be deemed a waiver of the right of the defendant in error, or appellee, to have the judgment reviewed by the Supreme Court; and your committee presents herewith a draft of a bill so amending said Court of Appeals Act.
"Your committee would further recommend that this Association cause said bill to be introduced in the next general assembly, and enacted into a law if possible.
"Your committee is further of the opinion that an intermediate Court of Appeals, or two appellate tribunals, is a very unsatisfactory way to afford relief to congested appellate business, is wrong in principle and ought not to be tolerated any longer than absolutely necessary, and that the true solution of this vexatious question can only be found in constitutional amend ments increasing the number of judges of the Supreme Court, lengthening their terms of office, and permitting them to sit en bane or in departments as the press of business may require and as the court itself may determine; the decision of any department, when concurred in by a certain number of the judges, to become the judgment of the court, and giving the court power to determine in what cases written opinions shall be filed, and what opinions shall be published in the official reports.