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WILLIAM L. GROSS.

instances the questions arising on errors assigned can be better comprehended and considered, if all matters in respect to which no objection is raised, are kept out of the transcript; and then, there is every reason why the expense of perfecting and presenting an appeal should be kept within reasonable limit. The object of every appeal is the correction of material error; transcripts of records and bills of exception are only means to an end; and no reason is perceived why the simplest, most expeditious and economical methods should not be employed.

If this commission, in its character of amicus curiae of the Legislature, is to win renown by having its unremunerated work approved by the courts and bar and accepted by the people, let it content itself and exhaust its energies in improving our present plant. Let it lop off the dead, the cumbersome, the sprangling and the entangled branches, and straighten up our practice and procedure tree. Instead of the present great multitude of special practice provisions, let it provide general regulations to embrace legal causes of action on the one hand, and equitable proceedings on the other; and still other general provisions for calling into exercise by petition and answer the various special powers vested in the courts for special purposes. Let the aim be simplicity, perspicuity and directness. Wipe out all technicalities not of substance, and make it possible for the curot in every case to look to the substance and very right and justice of the matter, to the disregard if need be of mere form. If possible, and to the extent possible, make it impossible for justice to miscarry, because, forsooth, the defendant has not had ten day's notice before term, if he has

has had reasonable notice before he is called upon to respond; because the defendant's plea is not in its proper order, if his plea discloses a valid defense upon which he wishes to rely; because his pleading is not sworn to, if he will then verify it; because the evidence he offers does not fall within his declaration, petition, plea or answer, if

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he will then offer to amend; because he has come in at the equity door, when he should have entered at the law portal, or the reverse, if he will change his pleadings; because he has de murred generally instead of specially; and if the defendant will go to trial upon an insufficient declaration, he shall not have his motion in arrest. But why multiply instances which the experience of each one of us can suggest?

To the Executive Committee, who, in its extremity and at the last moment, imposed upon me the duty of opening debate upon the matter of the “Practice Commission,” may I not have rest and fitly turn and say: And now, having spoken, prays to be hence dismissed

E. A. SNIVELY.

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PARDONS AND PAROLES.

E. A. SNIVELY, OF SPRINGFIELD.

No part or parcel of the organic law of any State has in it more of justice, more of humanity, more of the true spirit of Christianity than that which provides for the exercise of clemency. This principle ante-dates all human law, and its incorporation into State constitutions is a just recognition of the teachings of Him “whose laws are faultless, whose judg. ments are just and from whose decrees there can be no appeal.” The power to grant reprieves and pardons and commute sentences, while recognized in every State, is not always delegated, as in Illinois, to the Governor.

While the practice is almost universal in the newer States to confer this power upon the Executive, in many of the older commonwealths it is conferred upon a board or the council, but in all these, if I mistake not, the Governor still has a voice. The necessity of having lodged, somewhere, a power for the suspension of sentences has never been questioned; and whether the plan which has been incorporated in all the constitutions of Illinois is the best, it is unnecessary to discuss.

The liberty of the citizen is the most priceless boon conferred upon him, and of it he should never be deprived except when he has justly forfeited it. The courts of America are

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as near perfect, in all things, as human wisdom and wise statesmanship can make them, and yet they are not infallible. Were this not true, there need be no call for entrusting to any power the discretion of granting a pardon or extending a commutation.

The law provides that no man shall be restrained of his liberty, unless there is a preponderance of evidence attesting his guilt, and a jury of his peers must be satisfied, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the allegations in the indictment have been proven. Power is most wisely lodged in the trial judge to set aside the verdict, and if it is allowed to stand, there is the additional recourse of a writ of error from the Supreme Court where all the evidence, the instructions and everything pertaining alike to the justice and legality of the conviction can be passed upon. Notwithstanding all these precautions, injustice is not infrequently done, while facts often develop subsequent to the trial which establish the innocence of the prisoner or demonstrate that the sentence is too severe. The judgment of the court is then beyond amendment, and the necessity of some power to right the unintentional wrong is demanded, and the exercise of Executive clemency in such a case comes like a righteous benediction.

When there is Executive interference with the sentence of a court, it should always be on the broad ground of mercy or justice. It should not be given as a matter of personal or political favoritism, because then it makes a mockery of the judgment of the courts, and when once the people understand that such is the rule, there is an incentive to mob law, which may soon crystalize into action.

While this is true, it is equally true that for many years the extension of Executive clemency was, to a very great extent, controlled by political favoritism. The conditions that existed seem to have made this necessity. The duties of the Governor have been constantly increasing; in fact the responsibilities of the Executive have grown more rapidly than

E. A. SNIVELY.

the progress of the State would seem to have required. As a consequence, he has not been able to give to applications for pardon or commutation that careful investigation which they should have had. The result has been that when a pardon or commutation was desired, some person who held the same political views as the Governor, and who was personally known to the Executive, was employed to present the matter. The Governor had a right to assume that the party presenting the application would not deceive him that he would do nothing to injure an administration which they each desired should be successful. The Governor could not know all the men in a county-he had no right to question the integrity of men who came to him and to whom, in many instances, he was indebted for favors. If, as is true, many men have been pardoned because of the deception practiced upon the Governor, do not blame that official, because for a full quarter of a century it has been a physical impossibility for the Governor to give these matters that careful attention which their importance demanded, unless other duties, equally important, were neglected. The Governor could act upon the representation of men in whom he had a right to have confidence and grant clemency to a prisoner, when he could not delegate to others the performance of other official duties. It not infrequently happened that the first thing a community knew of the pardon of a prisoner would be his appearance in their midst. For years there has been a statute requiring that public notice should be given for three weeks, in some newspaper, before an application for pardon would be heard—but the provisions of the law were by no means always enforced.

I remember in the executive office one morning when a gentleman came in and in a very few words made application for a pardon; he merely stated the case from his point of view and suggested no especial reason why clemency should be exercised, except that he wanted his client out of prison. Without any investigation whatever, the Governor replied: "Well,

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