Page images


1. The first and foremost is the recommendation to have the "Negotiable Instruments law" passed, which failed of passage at the last session. We beg to enumerate some of the other suggestions which have received the approval of this Association and which should again be brought to the attention of the General Assembly at its next session.

2. The subject of official shorthand reporters in the courts of Cook county.

3. The recommendation of the committee of 1883 that the discrimination against action er delicto, which denies the right of appeal or writ of error when the damages do not exceed $1,000, be removed.

4. The important recommendation of 1883, which requires juries in criminal cases to receive the law from the court.

5. That counsel fees should be allowed against parties who bring suits in bad faith and without probable cause.

6. That decrees in chancery below $1,000 should be made final in the Appellate Court, subject to certificates of importance, and that decrees above $1,000 go direct to the Supreme Court.

7. That appeals in habeas corpus cases and in criminal cases on questions of law should be permitted to the State!

8. That the exemption statutes should be harmonized with the command of the Constitution.

9. That attachment suits upon unmatured claims be permitted where fraud is charged.

That the business of private banking should be regulated by law.

11. That constitutional amendments be framed or that a constitutional convention be called.

12. That the statutes should be so amended as to enable the parties to go from law to chancery or from chancery to law without a dismissal, upon such terms as may be imposed by the court.



13. That the right to amend pleadings be extended to indictments. The necessity for this law has been made apparent in the Becker murder case, pending in the Criminal Court of Cook county.

14. The abolition of the creditors' bill and the substi. tution of supplementary proceedings according to the practice of New York.

No attempt has been made herein to catalogue all the proposals of a worthy character which may have been urged by former committees, but it has occurred to this committee to mention those hereinbefore enumerated. No action is asked by the committee upon these proposals at this session, in view of the fact that the Legislature will not meet next year and the Practice Commission will sit in the meantime and may deal with some of these subjects. These matters may, however, remain in the hands of the committee to be hereafter appointed.

The committee desires to notice the fact that by reason of certain occurrences in the Chicago courts, the Chicago Bar Association dealt with the subject of bribery or attempted bribery in the courts. The chairman of this committee undertook to frame a law which was subsequently revised by a committee of the Chicago Bar Association and was introduced into the General Assembly, but did not pass the committee.

Section 7 of this draft for a law dealt with the subject of traversing the sworn answer of parties charged with bribery or attempted bribery, as follows:

"In any such contempt proceedings to punish parties for such bribery or attempted bribery, the sworn answer of such party or parties before the court shall not be conclusive; but such court may be informed of the facts in contradiction to such sworn answer by the oral testimony of witnesses; and this rule shall apply to direct contempts as well as to constructive contempts of court."


The committee recommends that this section be broadened to cover all contempts of court, for this seems to be necessary under the rulings of the court of this State. Any person charged with contempt of court, even of the gravest character, may file a sworn answer denying the contempt, and the court is powerless to go further in the matter, unless the act has occurred in the face of the court.

The chairman of this committee also aided in framing bills to permit assignees of choses in action to sue in their own names and to make the appearances of witnesses testifying under foreign commissions before notaries public or justices of the peace, compulsory, but copies of these bills have not been preserved.

In this connection it is proper to acknowledge the courtesies and services of Senator Milchrist, of the Chicago bar, and of Senator Delos W. Baxter, in aiding the committee to push some of its proposed legislation.

It may not be improper for this committee to notice the action of the Supreme Court in declaring the Campbell law, passed by the General Assembly of 1899, unconstitutional. The tendency of this decision is in the right direction and has given strength to the proposition originally urged by this Association for the reform of legal education.

The committee does not deem it improper to mention the fact that the legislation of the State of Illinois regarding trusts and monopolies does not possess the strength which such legislation requires. In view of the general discussion pertaining to this subject, which was intense at the time of the convening of the General Assembly, it is a matter of surprise that no further legislation was had upon this subject. The new committee to be appointed by the Chair should be charged with the duty of examining the legislation of the various states on this subject and to report at the next meeting a draft for the bill.


The committee would also again call attention to the subject of written instructions in the courts of this State, and without dwelling on the subject, which has been debated heretofore, some reform ought to be accomplished in this direction.

The chairman of this committee has had no sufficient time to consult with the members as to making a recommendation on this subject, but he does not hesitate to state on his own behalf that he favors the repeal of the law of 1827 and of the law of 1847, and the restoration of the common law power to charge a jury orally, both as to questions of law and questions of fact, in the courts of record of this State. A late opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States declares that this means trial by jury as provided for in the American constitutions.

The question of assembling a constitutional convention was agitated last year in the city of Chicago and the friends of the measure yielded their convictions of the necessity of calling a convention to a supposed conservative method of submitting important amendments to the General Assembly, in order to have them voted upon by the people. Such an amendment, applicable to the city of Chicago, was submitted to the General Assembly by the Civic Federation and other important bodies, but it failed of constitutional passage. As a matter of record for future action, the committee submits as a part of its report this amendment, which was worked out by various bodies of eminent citizens, chief among whom were our honored President, Mr. Harvey B. Hurd, and Hon. Murray F. Tuley, of the Circuit Bench.

This Association, we submit, ought to place itself on record in some way, whether the State of Illinois should adopt a new constitution or not as a measure of impending necessity.

This committee begs to repeat the recommendation of the committee of 1883, that suggestions for the amendment of the


law, by members of the Association, should be forwarded to
the Secretary on or before April 1st of each year. In this way
the committee would be very much aided by the action of
the members of the Association.
All of which is respectfully submitted.

ADOLPH Moses, Chairman,

« PreviousContinue »