« ZurückWeiter »
it by pleading a political difference with the man who was so summarily suspended, but applies to the supreme court of the United States for mandamus, because, as he insisted, the fault that was imputed to him, if fault at all, was of such dignity as to be indictable under the laws of the state, and therefore forbade that he should be punished in the summary form that contempt proceedings must take; that he should not be compelled to account unless before a jury. The supreme court, after giving studious attention to his contention, denied the writ. It is worthy of note that Mr. Justice Field, in a dissenting opinion, insisted that no one who so offended a court could be punished except by indictment, the rule thus laid: down by a majority of the court being afterwards invoked in favor of Justice Field's protector, Nagle.
It has also been regularly determined by the same court in Bradley v. Fisher, in the 13th Wallace, after deliberation so laborious as to imply some doubt as to the correctness of the rule, that an attorney who awaits the coming down of the court from the bench, and because of an unsatisfactory ruling threatens him with physical castigation, is guilty of contempt. This being the law, it is well for us to remember that, however unreasonable the court's action and however great our desire may be, we are not entitled to obtain satisfaction for our defeat
of the court. Some of the state courts, have, however, been more liberal in defining the etiquette of the bar. The New Jersey court has, for instance, in an anonymous case, decided that it is not contempt, nor such unprofessional conduct of which it can take note, for an attorney to practice the pilfering of books from his brothers. The court did not, however, I warn you, decide that this method of accumulating a library is legitimate.
In the case of Austin in the State of Pennsylvania, several attorneys, among them the respondent, being dissatisfied with the conduct of a court, addressed a letter to the judge, urging that, inasmuch as he had been publicly assaulted and beaten by an unsuccessful litigant on the street, he had better resign in order that the waning dignity of the court might be sustained. Not only did the judge refuse to resign, but cited his petitioners for contempt. The supreme court of that state, while disclaiming the idea that physical prowess is a requisite to judicial position, still declined to
limit the right of an attorney to comment upon the conduct of a court as upon that of any other functionary. This has become a leading case, and the rule of loose conduct announced in this case has been followed in many others, and has often been invoked to excuse the ill mannered conduct of attorneys toward their court.
The case of the State, on the relation, v. Sachs, in our own supreme court, presents this: An attorney, sitting in court to hear the rendition of a decision, took umbrage because the decision was against him, and declined to listen to it. For thus declining to lend his audience, the superior court thought an apology was necessary. The supreme court thought not, and the impatient attorney went back with the rule established that he need not listen to an adverse decision unless he chooses.
The case of the State v. White, in the 10th Washington, is a peculiar instance of the lack of reciprocal courtesy between the bench and bar. An insistent attorney and an impatient court. The court made a ruling, the attorney, instead of being satisfied with an exception, insisted upon a further argument. A fine was imposed by the trial court, and the whole case was reversed by the supreme court, because, as they say, they feared the jury might have been influenced by the action of the trial court towards the attorney. It seems to me that it was almost an insult to the jury to assume that they might have been influenced by this senseless passage between the attorney and court. I am rather inclined to think that, if the jury noticed it at all, they considered it a display of very bad manners and nothing else.
Too many lawyers conduct themselves towards a court like one who spars for points and the court were his opponent, a victory won being a triumph over the court, and a case lost a defeat at its hands. Then there have been courts which seem to bristle with antagonism towards every attorney before them, seem to really resent the suggestion of anything to them; actually appear to take the disclosure of a novel point as an imputation of stupidity on their part because they did not discover it themselves; and promptly declare fallacious any argument which did not first suggest itself to them. This is the hypercritical court that uses every effort to determine why the argument of an attorney is bad, instead of endeavoring to advise itself upon what ground it may be good; the iconoclastic court that has discovered Pomeroy to be a partisan and Freeman a mere di: gester, and so is always ready to doubt their authority. Nothing is more to be deprecated than this unconscious antagonism between the bench and bar. As no attorney can succeed without the confidence and sympathy of the court he addresses, so the labors of a bench will be multiplied, but yet unrewarded, if it lack the confidence and esteem of the men who sit at its feet.
The dignity of the law which must be made and kept apparent to every citizen of a land that is sometimes thought to be too free, cannot be asserted when the quality or the dignity of the bench and bar decay; with the lapse of one the merit of the other sinks. When every man shall come to realize the magnificent responsibilities that are upon him when by the grace of a license he is entitled to stand at the bar; when he has so well learned his duty and his sense of honor is become so fine as to forbid that he should ever by any act or omission of his cast an imputation upon his most honorable profession; when every man who is accorded the proud privilege of presiding on the bench over his brothers of the bar understands the obligation that he owes of patience, fairness and courtesy to those who stand before him by an authority as high as that which placed him upon the bench, men will have less to criticise, and as this criticism becomes less frequent, their respect for the law will grow.
Address, annual, by the President....
Resolution to, relative to appeals....
Vote of thanks moved by
Vote of thanks tendered to
Eulogy on character of ...
Election of, Vice President..
Of officers ....
On International Arbitration....
Eulogy of, on B. F. Dennison.....
Invited Association to meet at Seattle.........
Lawyers, Pioneer, and Judges, paper on
Report of commtttee by..
Of Executive Committee
Of Committee on Commercial Law ......
Of special committee on International Arbitration
On international arbitration
On right of appeal in criminal cases....
Discussion of, postponed till next annual meeting..
37 ..29, 122-143
15 108 144 30
3 11, 12
37 .28, 70-93
15 12 37 63 11 30 37 37 70 38 144 11 12 12 16 23 25 30 36
28 37, 38
38 37 25 14 25 23 14 13 38 122
37 ........ 1, 37