Page images

all powerful machinery, they inflict only crushing injury when misdirected. In nearly every state of this Union the application of these measures guided chiefly by sentimental considerations, causes more injury to the public than good to the accused, and yet while the abuse of the parole law as at present administered in this country renders its continuance a menace, a repeal of that, or of the probation law would mean a pathetic step backward.

I believe in parole for every man or woman with a good record who has committed any of the ordinary offenses, not predatory, and who is truly penitent, but never for the unrepentant. The defendant who although guilty, fights to the last ditch, needs his medicine. To release him at the end, teaches him and all who know him, only contempt for the penalty of the law.

If we can avoid doing so, the last place on earth to send a man or woman is to prison. No matter what we may plan, try or prate about his rehabilitation and reform, he comes out of prison to remain forever a pitiable thing. His life must drag along to its latest end, on a torturing, broken wing. A grown man can seldom be bettered by a prison sentence. Children restrained in properly adjusted reformatories may have a good chance. But the judge who will knowingly send a hardened criminal to live in such a reformatory among those children, ought to be made to live there himself. When we send a man to prison, the law forever after loses half its power over him. More than half the suffering of the condemned arises out of the disgrace from the imprisonment—a disgrace which, do what he may, will cling till the clay covers him. As for probation, it is most necessary to remember that you can never disgrace a man twice by imprisoning him. That punishment is forever out of mortal power to reinflict. The recidivist has only the physical restraint to fear, and when that restraint is made so pleasant for him as to equal life on the outside, the law has nothing left for him to dread. But society cannot afford to sacrifice itself out of mere pity for the pitiless, nor destroy itself with mercy for the merciless. It is not inapt that through all civilized ages the figure of justice carries not only a scale but also a sword. Whatever pity the world has to spare, and more than it can spare, is needed for the discharged prisoner who is trying to go right. And the time of his imprisonment is needed to prepare him for the shock of the

first breath of free air. The prison doors are the last that should close upon a man, but they ought never to open again until he has not only expiated his crime, but prepared himself for the load of his new terrible handicap. No man can properly be discharged from prison until he knows some useful trade—not a part of a trade but a whole trade--until his innermost nature has felt the thrill of creating some whole thing of value. And for this, then and there he should receive a pecuniary reward. Not that the money may help him financially, but that it may strengthen him psychologically.

It is then a conclusion which I respectfully submit to your consideration that the adjustment of the penalties of the criminal law as applied in this country should no longer continue to regard as of first importance the comfort and reform of the enemy of the law but that judges, jailors, probation parole officers and pardon boards whenever for them a duty arises to adjust or readjust a penalty shall in the light of the malignity and attractiveness of the crime so proportion the penalty as to more surely create a respect and fear of the law among the evil disposed to gether with a resulting love for its beneficence and gratitude for its protection among the law abiding; secondly, that so far as consistently with this principle it can be accomplished to adopt the penalty for the good and reform of the prisoner.




To the American Bar Association:

Your Committee on Professional Ethics and Grievances respectfully submits its Annual Report for the information of the Association.

This committee was originally created as a standing committee on Professional Ethics in 1913. Its duties were prescribed by the by-laws as follows:

The Committee on Professional Ethics shall communicate to the Association such information as it may collect respecting the activity of state and local bar associations in respect to the ethics of the legal profession, and it may from time to time make recommendations on the subject to the Association.

In 1919 the committee was changed to a Committee on Professional Ethics and Grievances, and its duties were fixed by the by-laws as follows:

The Committee on Professional Ethics and Grievances shall communicate to the Association such information as it may collect concerning the activities of state and local bar associations in respect to the ethics of the profession and grievances against members of the Bar, and it may from time to time make recommendations on the subject to the Association.

It will be noted, therefore, that the committee has two functions:

1. To “communicate to the Association such information as it may collect concerning the activities of state and local bar associations in respect to the ethics of the profession and grievances against members of the Bar."

2. To make recommendations on the subject to the Association. With regard to the matter of information, it will be noted:

(1) That the information to be collected relates only to the activities of state and local bar associations in respect to ethics and grievances.

(2) That it is not made the duty of the committee to collect any such information.

(3) That the sole duty of the committee is to communicate to the Association such information as it may collect.

(4) That the committee is authorized, but not required, to make recommendations“ on the subject” to the Association.

(5) That the words“ on the subject" obviously relate to “ the ethics of the profession and grievances against members of the Bar."

The committee since its creation in 1913, has collected information which is contained in its annual reports to the Association. The recommendations of the committee have been as follows:

In 1914, none.
In 1915, none.

In 1916 the committee made no recommendation, but on motion of Mr. Julius Henry Cohen the following resolution was adopted :

WHEREAS, The Committee on Professional Ethics of this Association brings to the attention of the Association in its annual report the importance of co-operation between state and local bar associations in the matter of the prompt disciplining of the members of the Bar who fall below the standard of their profession; and

WHEREAS, This Association has in the past successfully furnished an opportunity for the discussion of such subjects as the legal education required from professional ethics, resulting in great advances in all of these directions.

Now, therefore, be it resolved, That the Executive Committee of this Association be requested to take under consideration the desirability of establishing a section, division, or annual conference wherein the subject of methods and machinery for the enforcement of the Association's canons of ethics may be discussed; wherein all who are interested in the subject may find an opportunity for the mutual interchange of information, experience and wisdom.

The Executive Committee reported in favor of the appointment of such a special committee, and “The President has appointed on that committee the following members :

“ Julius Henry Cohen, of New York; Stiles W. Burr, of Minnesota ; W. H. H. Piatt, of Missouri; Charles A. Boston, of New York; and John Lowell, of Massachusetts.”

By virtue of the resolution adopted in 1916, creating the Special Committee on Co-operation among Bar Associations, and the organization of the Conference of Delegates from Local and State Bar Associations, the Special Committee on Co-operation is the committee that comes in direct touch with the administration, of the Association's Canons of Ethics.

In 1917, the following recommendation of the committee was made and adopted :

1. That the suggestion of the propriety of the formulation and promulgation of canons for the judiciary to be referred to the Judiciary Section of this Association for consideration in order, if the way be clear, to the appointment of a committee to take the matter under advisement.

2. That legislation in the State of Washington, referred to in Section 10 of this report, be referred to the Conference of Bar Associations, to be held at Saratoga Springs on the 4th, 5th and 6th of September, 1917, to consider the propriety of similar legislation, and, if it be deemed advisable, to consider the different phraseology to be recommended for adoption in such states as may deem it advisable to enact similar statutes.

Inasmuch as both of these bodies to whom these recommendations apply have adjourned, I move you, sir, that the report of the committee be accepted, and that these recommendations be referred to those respective bodies, to be taken up by them at their meeting next year.

At the meeting of the Judicial Section in 1918, the recommendation referred to the Judiciary Section was not even considered. (1918 Report, pp. 466-469.) No resolution from the Conference of Bar Associations regarding the matter referred to it was submitted to the Association. (1918 Report, pp. 95, 96.)

In 1918, the following recommendation of the committee was adopted :

We recommend that local associations be urged to give publicity to the canons not only to the Bar, but to the public generally in their several communities.

In 1919, the committee recommended the following resolution : Resolved, That a questionnaire be sent out to the Judges of the State and Federal Courts soliciting their views as to the infringements of the canons of professional conduct prevalent in their communities and requesting suggestions as to more efficient measures of dealing with such infringements.

The resolution was adopted.

The results of this questionnaire are set forth in the report of this committee for 1920.

In 1920, the report of the committee made the following recommendations:

I. That the Executive Committee be authorized to invite the various bar associations of the country, both state and local, to send copies of their annual reports to this Association, either to the Secretary or to the Chairman of this committee, in order that the Association may have available data as to activity.

(a) In discipline cases;
(b) In preventing unlawful practice of the law;

(c) The local activity of Bench and Bar in regard to the Canons of Ethics.

II. That the Executive Committee invite the bar associations of the states where the Canons of this Association have not yet been adopted to take definite action this coming year.

III. That this Committee on Grievances and Professional Ethics be reconstituted so as to be more central and with a membership not widely separated so that stated meetings can be conveniently held.

These recommendations were adopted by the Association. Recommendations I and II call for action by the Executive

« PreviousContinue »