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of error from the Supreme Court in some cases and from the Appellate Court in the remainder. If application is made for a supersedeas to a reviewing court, or a judge of the court, and the same is denied, this of itself affirms the judgment unless otherwise ordered, and in general no assignment of error is allowed which calls in question any decision of the Municipal Court respecting the practice therein. Under these circumstances it may well be imagined that a great proportion of the cases will be fully prepared and tried. This will take time. As it is now, with a right of trial de novo, cases before our Justices are tried in an off-hand manner. Under the new plan many of the smaller suits will be tried with the same care taken in the Circuit Courts so that the record may properly protect in the reviewing court. Furthermore, under present conditions a jury in a civil case before a justice of the peace is rarely called for. If the case is to be finally tried out before a jury it can be done on appeal. Under the new plan it will, of course, be frequently demanded. The provision abolishing the trial de novo is perhaps the most short-sighted provision of the law. We have had ample experience with such a provision in our Probate Court, where, of course, there is an appeal to the Circuit Court and a trial de novo. In the Probate Court about 10,000 claims are disposed of annually without more than one jury trial. It is the belief of Judge Cutting that this court would be swamped if there was a record appeal, as in many cases each lawyer, uncertain, perhaps, whether or not he would in fact appeal, would be compelled for safety to try his case in such a way that he would have a proper record.
It is argued that the novelties in the matter of practice in the reviewing court and the denying of the right of appeal are justified under the Amendment because they are incidental to the provisions directly granting the General Assembly permission to prescribe the practice in the new court. The point would not seem to be well taken in view of the express declarations of our Constitution with respect to uniformity in practice. The
provisions are certainly undesirable as far as our Appellate Court is concerned, for the Main and Branch courts are already greatly behind in their calendars. We now have ample machinery for the speedy hearing of appeals from Justices of the Peace in this county. There would be no delay in these cases if our Judges would have an appeal calendar, as already provided for by statute, and would call it promptly. We did have such a calendar but my understanding is that it was difficult to get any Judge to call it, owing to the supposed petty character of the cases. There has been a similar difficulty from time to time with respect to our Quasi-Criminal Calendar. A recognition of these infirmities of Judges, who are but men, led a large number of the members of our bar to plead with the General Assembly to cut down the increased jurisdiction of subject matter provided for in the new law when it was before that body. We feared then and we fear now that if this court is allowed to retain the extensive added jurisdiction of subject matter, the judges will slight the interests of the more humble litigant. This much is certain: they will slight the most important work of the Police Magistrate.
Let us consider for a moment the importance of this work. The first privilege of the judges of the new court ought to be to stop needless arrests. This can only be done effectively by having the Magistrate hold two sessions a day instead of one. The plan now is to have the necessary judges sit a half day in their police courts and the remaining half day in a great central court building, the erection of which has already been contracted for. It is to be located in the heart of the city, in the main district provided for in the law, which extends nine miles to the north, three to the west and eight to the south. The truth is, we ought to have had two distinct sets of district courts, as they have under the admirable system in New York city; one for civil and the other for Magistrate's business. Under that system the Magistrate hears applications for warrants during the greater part of the afternoon and hundreds
are refused on the ex parte statements. In Chicago we arrest and disgrace, and then find out whether we should have done so; here the Magistrate has so much to do in order to get to his private court in the afternoon that during the trial of cases he has to sign reports, approve bail bonds, check up the officers of the Court, keep up his records and sign warrants without knowing the necessity for their issue or even their contents. As the new court is a court of record it will necessarily require more time to comply with unavoidable formalities. The judge will not be relieved of any of the work of the present system. He will have a wider jurisdiction of subject matter. it is planned to have matters go on in the same old way and to put innocent people into dungeons that the civil causes of others may be heard. (Our police court jails are dungeons. They are underground, dark, damp, and in most of them no modern provision is made for even attending to the ordinary wants of nature.) This unfortunate condition comes about by attempting to create a court of imposing dignity to dispose of the cases of the poor. Dignity is no friend of compassion. It is poor consolation to an indigent, innocent seamstress charged with crime that the court which deprives her of her liberty and condemns her to sit alone amidst filth and vermin waiting for her case to be put on the calendar, is one of great dignity. A little more humaneness and less power would be better for her.
The imperative necessity of having our Police Magistrates give the entire day to their duties was insisted upon by the Citizens Committee of Chicago, appointed in December, 1903, to ascertain the cause for the extraordinary reign of crime then prevailing throughout the city. The report of the subcommittee on Paroles and Pardons calls attention to the ordinance of the city of Chicago providing that Police Magistrates shall hold two sessions of court daily and shall devote their entire time to the Police Courts and not hold any civil courts. The sub-committee says:
“At one of the large police stations where two Police Magistrates held court each morning, it was found that each Magistrate as a rule disposed of about eighty cases inside of two or two and a half hours.''
After lamenting the fact that the Police Magistrates leave their public duties at the close of the morning hour, devoting their afternoons to hearing cases in their private courts, the committee says, that a trial during the rush hours in some of our Police Courts is usually a farce and sometimes a tragedy; that the deplorable conditions are principally due to the insufficient time which is given to the consideration of the charges; and that the rapidity with which the cases often disposed of makes it a physical impossibility for the Police Magistrates, before deciding, to get any clear conception of the circumstances.
If this important work is to be done and done properly there is certainly no room for the enlarged jurisdiction of subject matter which tends to make this court so majestic thai it is now strenuously advocated that the judges should be paid $10,000 a year because they are of equal dignity with those of the Circuit Court.
It perhaps ought to be noted parenthetically that the new law does provide, very wisely, that no arrest shall be made in the first instance for the violation of a city ordinance unless there is danger that the offender will escape. This was taken from the report of the Practice Commission.
Before departing from the consideration of the provisions of the new law with respect to Police Courts, it will be well to notice a many-times-repeated criticism of this measure. The minimum costs in a case arising before a judge sitting as a Police Magistrate under the provisions of this law are not less than seven dollars-about three times the amount of the costs under the present system. The effect is that anyone convicted of a violation of a city ordinance, no matter how trivial the offense, if punished at all must have a judgment rendered
against him for the costs-in other words, seven dollars. There are many good citizens of Chicago who rarely get seven dollars together at any one time, over and above the demands of landlord and grocer, and if one of them should be convicted and could not pay the costs, he will have to work the same out at the rate of fifty cents a day. In short, the dignity of this court is so exalted that two weeks' imprisonment is the smallest punishment it can inflict. It seems a great pity that the hurry to seure this legislation should have prevented a study of this question. There ought to be no system of costs connected with the police courts. There is none in New York. Questions of
. justice which arise in these courts ought not to be beclouded or befogged by the ambition to procure revenue for the city. We ought as soon as possible to get rid of the notion, which produced this provision of the law, that this class of courts must be self-supporting. The city can better afford to do without funds derived from such a source than to permit the injustice which is inseparably connected with it.
If I may be permitted a further word along this line, another feature of the system of police courts in the city of New York, in vogue also in the cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Providence, is sessions on Sunday mornings. It is a part of that wise public policy which says that the citizen shall not be deprived of his liberty an hour longer than is absolutely necessary. The largest number of arrests is made on Saturday night. A crime committed on that night is no worse than a crime committed on any other night of the week, but in many cases it results in an extra day in jail. This provision for Sunday sessions is very humane, and it is to be regretted that it should not have been presented to our legislature with the sanction and apparently invincible prestige of those interested in the Municipal Court Bill.
The Constitutional Amendment permits the General Assembly to prescribe the practice in the new court.
court. The new law provides that the practice of this court shall substan