« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
TWELFTH ANNUAL MEETING
Maryland State Bar Association
OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND
July 3rd_5th, 1907
The Association was called to order at the Atlantic Hotel, Ocean City, Maryland, July 3rd, 1907, at II o'clock A. M., President Conway W. Sams in the chair.
The President: Members of the State Bar Association, ladies and gentlemen: It gives me great pleasure to call to order the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Maryland State Bar Association. The first thing in order is the address of the President, which I will now read.
PRESIDENT'S ANNUAL ADDRESS.
THE LAW AND ITS ENFORCEMENT.
BY CONWAY W. SAMS, OF THE BALTIMORE BAR.
The honor of being President of the Maryland State Bar Association is indeed great, but the pleasure is somewhat marred by the knowledge that there must be an address
delivered by the president at the annual meeting succeeding his election, and I sometimes feel as if I have written like a certain deputy marshal in Alabama acted, who did not let any such trifles as technicalities stop him. This story is told of one of his achievements. When the term of court was about to begin, a man out on bail, was reported to be enjoying himself over in Georgia. Deputy Jim went after him. The next day he telegraphed the Judge:
"I have persuaded him to come."
A few days later he rode into town on a mule, leading his prisoner tied up snugly with a clothesline. The prisoner looked as if he had seen hard service.
"Why, Jim!” exclaimed the Judge. "You didn't make him walk all the way from Georgia, did you?"
“No, sir,” replied Jim.
"No," responded Jim. “Part of the way I drug and when we come to the Tallapoosa River he swum."
I have yearned more than once for Deputy Jim's directness in getting over difficulties.
In discussing the subject of this address, two ideas are presented: The first is over-production by the legislative mill, and the second is the almost overwhelming increase in the number of the printed court reports, and then follows a comparison between the English court procedure in criminal cases particularly, and our procedure, with a suggested amendment of the law to avoid the numerous new trials granted for technical reasons.
Without society, as we understand it, there would be no need for law, except that of might; without law there could be no society. A breach of the law is nothing more or less than the doing of an act declared to be hurtful to the welfare of the people, or is the omission to do that which has been decreed shall be done. Ordained a reasonable being, with the desire to accomplish and realize those things which his teaching has led him to believe are to his advantage, man is ever seeking self-aggrandizement, either in the form of
honors or of wealth, and, since neither honors nor wealth come easily he finds himself opposed by others equally as ambitious, and in this opposition and strife to excel, he too often passes the line of demarkation between right and wrong. The end of law is primarily to restrain, the punishment inflicted being not for the purpose of revenge but for example to deter others from committing a like offense. The wrongful acts the social order suffers are largely due to unnatural economic, political or industrial conditions. As a result, law and order are in continuous conflict with lawlessness and crime. Immense budgets are annually expended for the repression and regulation of the criminal classes. Measured by the standard of value the world over --in dollars and cents—the security which we enjoy, costs each honest, law-abiding person in the United States from three to five dollars a year. The State and Federal governments expend annually more than $2,000,000 in order that the dishonest and unruly, the criminal and the vicious may not prey upon the people; jails, reformatories, penitentiaries and similar institutions represent a dead capital of over $500,000,000. This does not include the cost of education and the expenditures of religious bodies, great preventatives of crime, and, notwithstanding the millions spent in education, and in disseminating the principles of morality and religion, the expense of protection from the criminal classes is increasing, and has increased, until today the charge for the prevention of crime, even to the degree to which it is suppressed, exceeds the bill for the entire military and naval establishment of the nation. Hardly less credible may be the assertion, but it is indisputable, and statistics show there is an increase each year in the proportion of criminals to the population, and an accompanying increase in the cost of the suppression and punishment of crime. Our modern civilization should not produce such results.
The prevention of crime is not alone a matter of the enforcement of the law, but is closely connected with legislation, and since crime cannot be entirely suppressed, such