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Frank Harvey Field, of Brooklyn:

Mr. President, I presume that a brief discussion of the papers which have been read is in order at this time?

The President:


Mr. Field:

I would like to say a word and make a motion in regard to the very able paper read by our brother, Mr. Braxton. I had the pleasure of attending the meeting of the American Bar Association, this last summer, in Virginia, and we were very much delighted with the members of the Virginia Bar whom we heard and met at that time. The distinguished Governor of Virginia made an address at the annual banquet of the Bar Association that will never be forgotten by those who had the privilege of hearing it, and the reputation of the Virginia Bar has been very ably sustained in the paper we have heard read to-day. We have, most of us, down in New York, been reading a book just issued on the Art of Cross-Examination; a book of considerable interest and importance, and the distinguished author of that book has ventured the opinion that the present jury system is the consummation of the art of judicial decisions, compliments it very highly, but he makes an observation that is of great interest to country lawyers. He says that the juries of New York city have been steadily improving, but that a corresponding improvement has not taken place in the country juries. He then includes the Brooklyn juries among the country juries. (Laughter.) To cite the point that he makes, he calls attention to the cross-examination, by a poetic member of the Brooklyn Bar, of an expert witness, which he conducted in rhyme, much to the confusion of the expert

and to the damage of his testimony. But, sir, the subject which has been discussed by our brother from Virginia is one of very great interest to the members of the Bar. We suffer, as he has pointed out, very severely from the unanimity rule, which has been abandoned by most of the European countries and by a good many of the States of the Union, and it seems to me that it would be a good time to have the matter again considered by our Committee on Law Reform, and I move that the subject of this very instructive paper be referred for consideration to the Committee on Law Reform.

William B. Hornblower, of New York:

I second the motion.

Edward Lauterbach, of New York:

Mr. President, during the investigation of “ cause of delays" in the First and Second Departments, the subject which is now referred to was very carefully considered, and the evidence of the clerks of the Courts, and the testimony of the Judges, was to the effect that a very large percentage of cases, not as large as has been suggested in the paper, but perhaps in the First Department 125 or 130 cases were mistrials, by reason of the disagreement of juries, and that those cases were in the main cases that had required a long time in trial, an average, I think, of some six days. It was, therefore, very apparent that one of the very serious causes of delay in our Courts, must be the mistrials that occur in this way, and which occur, as we believe unanimously as a committee, entirely unnecessarily. There was no suggestion that a majority vote should control, but there was a unanimity that less than a unanimous vote should be required, two-thirds or three-fourths of the jury. There was no suggestion made

of amendment at this time, first, because of the conservatism, which is probably the affliction under which we all suffer, all members of the Bar; next, because a constitutional amendment is probably necessary, since the jury system, as it prevails, is in the Constitution; constitutional amendments have been suggested, and I can say it was almost the unanimous opinion of all the judges who attended before that committee, and certainly the unanimous opinion of the committee itself, that if a reform in this direction could be realized, that one of the very potential reasons for delay in the disposition of causes would disappear.

The President:

Are there any further remarks?

Mr. Field:

I would like to mention the fact, Mr. President, that the eulogy that I spoke of a moment ago, propounded by the distinguished author of the book I mentioned, is somewhat tempered by an instance that Mr. Hornblower just told me of, where the author of the book was defeated in a jury trial, a few days ago, and he quite intemperately denounced the standing and quality of the jury.

William B. Hornblower, of New York:

Even worse, because the gentleman was successful, but did not get the verdict he expected, the amount being smaller than he expected.

The President:

Are you ready for the question that Mr. Braxton's paper be referred to the Committee on Law Reform?

The question was then put and carried unanimously.

Edward B. Whitney, of New York:

Mr. President, I move that the Association tender its thanks to Mr. Braxton for his paper, which we hope will assist in obtaining a reform of the jury system in this State.

Frank Harvey Field, of Brooklyn:

Mr. President, the Secretary of the Association calls attention to the fact that Mr. Braxton delivered the very eloquent address of welcome to the members of the American Bar Association at the meeting of the Association at the Hot Springs, Virginia, last August, and that it ought to be entered on our minutes that he was the gentleman who received us there.

The President:

It is moved and seconded that the thanks of the Association be tendered to Mr. Braxton for the paper which he has read to-day.

The motion was duly carried.

The Secretary:

Mr. President, I have a communication which, if we can go for a moment to miscellaneous business, I will present at this time. Among the various Congresses which are to meet at the St. Louis Exposition, is a Universal Congress of Lawyers and Jurists, and I have received a communication from Mr. James Hagerman, the President of the American Bar Association, relative to that special Congress, which is as follows:

ST. LOUIS, Mo., January 13, 1904. FREDERICK E. WADHAMS, ESQ., Secretary of the New York State Bar Association, Albany, N. Y.:

SIR. Enclosed find circular letter which went out with the invitations to the Governments of the world, to

foreign Associations kindred to our Bar Associations, and to foreign law colleges. The invitations to the foreign Governments were transmitted by the Secretary of State through the diplomatic corps of the United States, with a strong letter of commendation. Invitations to the American delegates have not yet gone forward. The basis of apportionment of American delegates is as follows:


The American Bar Association is to be invited to name 100 delegates to the Congress.

2. Each State Bar Association is to be invited to send delegates equal in number to the representation of the State in the House of Representatives.

3. In those States where there are no State Bar Associations, the highest Court of last resort, or the Judges thereof, shall name delegates equal to the representation of that State in the lower house of Congress.


Each State and Territorial Bar Association shall send delegates under the foregoing rules, provided that each shall be entitled to send at least five delegates.

5. All American law schools attached to State Universities, and those law schools which belong to the Association of American Law Schools, are each to send from their faculty two delegates and two alternates.

6. Such eminent judges, jurists and lawyers as may be designated as delegates by the joint action of the officials of the Exposition Company and the American. Bar Association.

7. All Federal Judges and all the Judges in the Appellate Courts of last resort in the States will be appointed delegates by the Exposition Company and the American Bar Association.

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