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List of internal rerenue cases brought before United States court commissioners in the north
ern district of New York, during the year 1881, fc.-Continued. BEFORE N. B. SYLVESTER, COM'R, TROY AND SARATOGA-Continued.
Date of Number discharge of case.
Title of case.
97 United States vs. C. W. Gould... Failing to destroy stamp on empty cigar box.
United States vs. Isaac Onderkuk. Same.
United States vs. P.J. Cassiday.. R. L. D.
C'nited States r8. J. W. Goffry.. W.L.D. 108 United States vs. G. A. Farnam & Failing to destroy stamp on empty cigar-box.
Henry K. Bush. 109
United States vs. George B. Martin. Same.
& Chas. S. Gray.
United States vs. Michael Harri- | Empty cigar box with stamp not destroyed.
In addition to the foregoing cases heard and discharged by said commissioners Os cases were heard and the parties held to appear at the proper term of court following the hearing: seven have been nolle pros; twenty-one pleaded guilty and fined ; ten are yet pending, and thirty of which I find no record; it is presumed they were of such a nature that the district attorney declined to take action.
Most of the cases tried by the court and included in the 21 above named were sent up through the collector's office, the principal portions of the others were upon information of other parties.
There were 142 cases brought before said commissioners and discharged by them in which the average fees of the commissioners is at least $10, total, $1,420; the mar shal's fees average $11.60 per case, or a total by computation, $1,648.31 ; the witnesses' fees are at least $1,000; total expenses, $4,068.31.
In the cases brought before W. W. Gilbert and J. D. Husband, at Rochester, J. M. Bardwell, J. Gardner, G. W. Edwards, and 0. Overton appear as witnesses in nearly all cases, and in many cases several other names appear, but the above names are the “professional informers” and make the complaint to procure the witness fees and aid the marshals in obtaining fees.
In the cases brought before N. B. Sylvester and J. M. Langdon at Troy, C. Stevens, H. E. Barton, and J. W. Gilbert appear as witnesses together with such other names as they see fit to add, evidently for the same reasons above stated.
This system of “espionage" carried on by professional informers throngh the aid and collusion of deputy marshals and United States court commissioners brings the revenue service into disrepute, as the responsibility always attaches to the revenue officer, and if any means can be adopted to put a stop to the practice, great benefits would be derived from such action. Very respectfully,
T. I. KINNEY,
Revenue Agent. BUFFALO, N. Y., March 3, 1882.
Extract from the annual report of Commissioner of Internal Revenue for 1881.
FIXED SALARIES FOR U. S. MARSHALS AND DISTRICT ATTORNEYS.
Wherever the rights of a citizen in person or property are involved it is better that an officer shall err by doing too little than by doing too much. The best and most satisfactory work of an officer is performed from a sense of duty. Where the pecuniary interests of the officer are promoted by the oppression of the citizens there is great danger of abuse, and a system of laws which makes it the interest of an officer to thus misuse his authority is wrong in principle, and will, by the permanent temptation to evil, breed abuses even in long established and well ordered communities under the most careful system of administration. In new and remote settlements this practice, at times, will be little better than brigandage.
I regard the system of fees and allowances to marshals and district attorneys as open to this objection. Their maximum compensation is fixed by law (and the orders of the Attorney-General), but the amount actually received depends almost wholly upon the institution and prosecution of cases in court. While these officers are paid out of the Treasury in respect to cases in which the United States is a party, the compensation thus paid is for fees made, expenses incurred, and services rendered in connection with criminal and civil cases instituted in behalf of the United States. The district attorney is made the judge of the propriety of commencing a criminal prosecution against a citizen on account of which he and the marshal will receive pay from the government whether the party, be guilty or innocent. These officers may prefer complaints against citizens, cause United States commissioners to issue warrants, may arrest and examine the parties before the commissioner and the district attorney, warshal, guard, witnesses, and the commissioner will all get their fees from the government even though the party arrested be discharged.
Instances have been bronght to my attention where numerous prosecutions have been instituted for the most trivial violations of law, and the arrested parties taken long distances and subjected to great inconvenience and expense, not in the interest of the government, but apparently for no other reason than to make costs. I have consulted with a number of prominent district attorneys and marshals, and they all concurred with me in condemning the system under which they are compensated for their services as one calculated to encourage abuses. It is not to be wondered at that abuses have grown up under such a system. The wonder is that the abuses are not greater. A remedy will be found by fixing by law the salaries of district attorneys
and marsbals, and paying them as other officers from the Treasury, and authorizing the Attorney-General to fix the salaries and traveling expenses of deputy marshals in the same manner that the salaries and traveling expenses of deputy collectors of internal revenge are now fixed. This plan would relieve these officers from all temptation to institute prosecutions for petty and trivial violations of the revenue laws where no frauds were committed or intended.
CONTINGENT EQUIPMENT AND RECRUITING FOR THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
A communication from the Secretary of the Navy recommending an appro
priation for the contingent equipment and recruiting for the Navy.
March 21, 1882.-Referred to the Committee on Appropriations and ordered to be
To the Senate and House of Representatives :
I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Navy calling attention to the necessity of appropriating the sum of twelve thousand dollars ($12,000) under the head of “Contingent equipment and recruiting" for immediate use to defray accruing expenses during the remainder of the current fiscal year. The matter is commended to the favorable consideration of Congress.
CHESTER A. ARTHUR. EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 21, 1882.
Washington, March 21, 1882. SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a statement from Commodore Earl English, chief of bureau of equipment and recruiting, requesting an appropriation of twelve thousand dellars ($12,000), under the head of " Contingent equipment and recruiting," 1882, for immediate use, to defray accruing expenses during the remainder of the current fiscal year.
The request of Commodore English is approved and recommended for your favorable consideration. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,
WILLIAM H. HUNT,
Secretary of the Navy. The PRESIDENT.