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We believed, however, that if these accusations were true he was unfit to remain longer upon the Bench, and that if untrue he should be supported by his brethren of the Bar in every proper way.
At a meeting of this Association held on the 9th day of January, 1904, after full consideration, the following memorandum was adopted as the sentiment of this Association, and it expresses fully and completely its views:
"The Bar Association of the city of Jamestown has heard with profound regret the accusations against the Hon. Warren B. Hooker, a member of the Bar of Chautauqua county and Justice of the Supreme Court, which have engaged public attention since the publication of the abstract of the report of the Fourth Assistant PostmasterGeneral and the memorandum of the President accompanying the same. It has no knowledge that Justice Hooker has committed any wrong and will greatly rejoice to be assured of his innocence. It is, however, profoundly impressed with the belief that these accusations are of such grave and serious nature and come from such source that they cannot be disregarded or remain unanswered. It is impossible that a Justice of the Supreme Court can possess any usefulness upon the Bench if it is commonly believed that he has been unfaithful to official trust, and it is equally true that he should not remain upon the Bench if such belief is warranted by facts.
Mindful, therefore, of the honor of our profession and jealous of the good name and reputation of the judiciary, we believe the time has arrived when it is imperative Justice Hooker should, in defense of the character of the Bench, which it is his highest duty to preserve untarnished, make public answer to the accusations against him."
A certified copy of the minutes of the meeting was received by Justice Hooker on Monday, January eleventh, with a letter from the Secretary advising him of the action.
of the meeting. Justice Hooker has made no answer to us privately, nor has he at any time, so far as we are aware, given any public answer to the charges against him.
We believe that our duty to our professional brethren throughout the State demands that we should transmit to you this statement of facts for whatever action you may see fit to take. We make no charges against Justice Hooker and merely reiterate the belief expressed in our action of the ninth day of January.
We certify the foregoing to be a true copy of a resolution and communication adopted unanimously by the Bar Association of Jamestown, at a meeting held on the 15th day of January, 1904.
Dated January 16, 1904.
F. W. STEVENS,
ARTHUR W. KETTLE,
William B. Hornblower, of New York:
Mr. President, this communication, coming from a Bar Association, representing one of the cities of this State, certainly calls for respectful consideration. Anything that reflects upon the integrity of the Judiciary is the concern of the Bar, and it behooves this Association, as the State Bar Association, not to be remiss in its duty, in taking cognizance of anything that approaches to a charge against a judicial officer, who is an officer of the Supreme Court of the State of New York having jurisdiction throughout the State. In one sense these are not to be considered as charges. I understand the Jamestown Association expressly disclaim making charges, and
my first impression was, in the absence of definite charges, that nothing could be done by this Association, or at any rate, we were not called upon to do anything. I was also in some doubt as to whether there was any machinery provided by the Constitution and By-laws of this Association adequate to deal with such a case. I find, however, on examining the Constitution and By-laws that they provide for the consideration of complaints made by any individuals against any member of the Association, or affecting the purity of the Judiciary, or the due administration of justice, if I recollect the language right. It seems to be the function of the Grievance Committee to examine into any such complaint and to report, and very full and detailed provisions appear to be made. in the By-laws as to how the Grievance Committee shall proceed. It seems to be provided that the Grievance Committee shall appoint a sub-committee who shall give notice to the party complained of, and he shall have an opportunity of being heard, and that after such full investigation as they may be able to give to it, the sub-committee shall report to the full committee, and the full committee, if they think proper to do so, shall report to this Association. Of course, no action that we can now take should be considered as a pre-judgment of this case. We all recognize that the honor of the Judiciary is too sacred to be attacked without full hearing and full investigation. We shall all hope that Justice Hooker may be able to clear his skirts of even a suspicion of wrongdoing. The complaint made is somewhat indefinite in many particulars, but there are one or two matters stated, which seem to be so clearly put, and so clearly stated, that they amount to a definite complaint, of which this Association should, I think, take cognizance. It is charged that Justice Hooker was part owner of the building which
was rented to the United States Government for a postoffice, and that the rent was improperly raised, notwithstanding the fact that the lease was to run for a long period. There are one or two other charges and complaints made which I should not say charges one or two other complaints made, which seem to be brought pretty closely home to Justice Hooker, if true. At any rate, it seems to me there is sufficient here for us to be called upon to take some action. We certainly should not shirk our duty, however disagreeable it may be. It is disagreeable to the Association even to suspect one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of this State of improper conduct. The conduct complained of here seems to extend into the judicial term of the justice, and not to be confined to his conduct as a Congressman, so that it would appear to come within the province of the By-laws. I therefore move, and do so without endeavoring to prejudge the case in any way, that this matter be referred to the Committee on Grievances, to proceed according to the Constitution and By-laws.
It is moved and seconded that the communication which has been read to you be referred to the Committee on Grievances with instructions to proceed in accordance with the By-laws and Constitution. Are you ready for the question?
E. T. Lovatt, of New York:
Mr. President, the By-laws do not seem to provide for any such reference of the question, as it now stands, to the Committee on Grievances. I would stand with any brother member of the Bar of this Association, in standing for the absolute purity, integrity, fidelity and high charac
ter of the occupants of our judicial positions in this great State. But there is no complaint here. The Justice whose name has been brought before us, so far as I am concerned, is a total stranger to me, I do not think I have ever had the pleasure of seeing him even on the Bench when he has been in our department. I have no personal knowledge of the situation excepting as I have seen it in newspapers published, as such items are, broadcast. The Committee on Grievances can hear this if it comes in the nature of a complaint; the committee may receive and hear all complaints brought forward by any member against another member for misconduct in his relations to the Association, or in his profession, provided the same be in writing, plainly and specifically stating the matter complained of, and subscribed by the complainant. The next paragraph reads: "This committee may also, at its discretion, hear any specific complaint which may be made to it by any member in writing." That is the jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution upon the Committee on Grievances. Now there is no complaint here of any kind brought forward by a member of this Association against Mr. Justice Hooker. Here is a written statement that was handed to our President, and the very persons who handed it to the President of this Association expressly disclaim the fact that they are making or attempting to make charges against this Justice of the Supreme Court. They say in this paper, they are careful to say, there are no charges of any kind made. There being no complaint before us, by any member of this Association, against Mr. Justice Hooker, which in anywise relates to the administration of justice, or the practice of the law, and a complaint in writing not having been made by a member of this Association, I do not believe that this Association has any jurisdiction in this