« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
certain charges being preferred and sustained, and to select their oflicers. I cannot understand that provides for the appointment by the Governor of we are extending the elective franchise when we a person to perform the duties of the position dur- are endeavoring to take from the people the priv. ing the vacancy. It nowhere provides for the ilege of electivg their officials. Does universal election of an officer to fill the unexpired term. suffrage mean the giving of the right to vote to Under the present Constitution, although the all citizens regardless of color, and after you have Governor may remove this class of officers, his extended to them this privilege to take from them appointments only extend until after the next gen- the right of choosing their officers ? Can it be eral election. The people elected a new officer to advantageous to the public to allow them to vote, fill the unexpired term. For that reason I much but when they come to the polls to cast that vote prefer the language of the section as it now they find there is hardly any ollicer to vote for. stands in the present Constitution. These officers, I cannot agree with those gentlemen who are deit says, shall be chosen by the electors of the termined to make so many radical changes to the respective counties once in every three years, or present Constitution. It would, in my judgment, be as often as vacancies shall happen. Now we may much better for us to confine ourselves to apparent suppose a case of this kind." A person may be defects in the present Constitution and at the elected to the office of county clerk. He may same time preserve as much of the old instrument enter upon the discharge of its duties for the as may be possible. period of a week. Ho may, from sickness or dis Mr. BARKER-I desire to see section one of ease, die, and the office becomes vacant. If such article ten in the present Constitution substituted a case should occur, the Governor is required by for the one referred to by this committee. The the proposed article to fill the office for the unex- committee recommends some three four pired term. The Governor is now, by the exist-changes, neither of which can I support. The ing Constitution, einpowered to fill the vacancy chief objection that I have to the section and sysuutil the next general election. I submit that is tem, as reported by the committeo, is, so far as it quito sufficient. At the next general election the takes from the people the right to choose their people now have the power to elect an district attorney, and gives that power to the Exofficer
fill the unexpired term, I ecutive of the State without the concurrence of am also opposed to the article pro- the Senate. I am opposed to concentrating and posed, because it excludes the people from the aggregating in the executive department of this right to select a register for the city and county State the appointing power. There is a disposiof New York, also a register for the county of tion on the part of many members of this ConvenKings. I shall at another time ask leave io offertion, to aggregate in the Executive liigher fuucan amendment so as to provide for the election of tions thau he now enjoys. It is true the otfice a register in the county of Kings. It is very of district attorney is not a separate and distinct necessary that those oflices should be distinct and department of the government to such an extent separate offices, and that a register in the county that it is a violation of principle to appoint him. of New York and a register in the county The workings of twenty years have been satisfacof Kings should be elected. Under the article tory to the people and to the courts, and has reported by the committee, you would be contined demonstrated ihat the district attorney should be to the election of a county clerk. But beyond elected as a county officer. Again, it is apparent that I am not willing to admit the propriety of that wisdom and necessity will confer upon the takiog from the people the right to select a dis- Executive and the Senate the appointment of certain trict attorney in the several counties of the State other officers of the State whose duties are more local In my judgment it is quite as sato leave it in and more specific than those of the district attorthe hands of the people to select a district attor- ney. This will be an aggregating of the power ney as it will be to appoint him. I have heard of the Executive which will be unwise. What no argument presented here showing why this may have led this learned committee, whom I change should be made. No petition or memorial respect so much, to make this report I cannot has been presented to the Convention asking for understand, for, if my memory serves me right, any such change. And why the people should each and every one of these learned gentlemen be deprived of the right to select an official of that less than a week ago voted against large senaimportance I am at a loss to understand. I have torial districts, and urged as the very reason that not heard any complaint made here against a it was building up an Albany junta which they single district attorney, neither have any charges opposed. And now they recommend the taking been preferred against any one of the present away from the people an office which is now elecincumbents. It will be further observed live and putting it upon the Executive without that the Governor has absolute authority consulting the Senate. I would like to have had conferred upon
him by this article to some reason assigned by the committee for their appoint the several district attorneys. It does report. not provide that the Governor shall nominate, and, Mr. KINNEY-I would like to call the attenby and with the advice and consent of the Senate, tion of the gentleman to the fact that I and some appoint, but it gives the absolute power to the other gentlemen on this committee, were opposed Governor to appoint them. I am not in favor of to the appointment of district attorneys. tl.at. I am in favor of all officers who are for the Mr. BAKER—I am very glad to hear that present elected by the people continuing to be so my learned friend who sits so near me, is altoelected. It seems to me very inconsistent for us to gether right on that proposition. Now it is also advocate the extension of the right of suffrage and recommended in the report, that the sheriff shall at the same time take from the people the right not be eligible to hold office of deputy or under
sheriff for the term succeeding the expiration of amendment will be adopted which leaves the his incumbency. I know of no good reason why office of district attorney elective, he should be excluded from taking that office Mr. LARREMORE-I differ with tho gentlefrom his successors. It in no wise interferes man who last addressed the Chair in opposition to with the discharge of the unexecuted business the amendment offered by the gentleman from that has come into his hands during the whole Kings (Mr. Veeder). I think he entirely misterm. I think it gives him opportunity to favor apprehends tho wishes of the people in this the execution of his own processes. The priv-respect. If there is any one office in the ilege to take the appointment from his successors county in which the people feel a peculiar intershould be continued. Then, again this section est, it is that of the office of district attorney. recommends that the Governor shall only have The committee have told us, in the remarks which the power of removal of the county officers men- they have added to their report, that the reason tioned in the section, in certain specific cases. I for changing the existing law in this respect, and think he should have unlimited power for every making it an appointive instead of an elective good cause, as it shall appear to be sustained, to office, was that the district attorney is not a remove these county officers, first giving the de- representative officer. Mr. Chairman, if the law. relict person a copy of the charges, and an oppor-yer is ever the representative of his client, then is tunity of being heard in his defense.
the district attorney the representative of the Mr. HALE - I hope the amendment proposed people of the county. The gentleman has said by the gentleman from Kings [Mr. Veeder will that he cannot discharge his duty as fearlessly in not prevail, for the reason that it proposes to prosecuting a defendant to the full extent of the leave the office of district attorney an elective law without jeopardizing his chances for re-election. office. If the experience of the last twenty years That is virtually saying that the majority of the has taught us anything, Mr. Chairman, I think it electors of the county sympathize with crime. I is the folly of makiug that, of all others, an elec-am not prepared to accept such a conclusion. I tive office. The duties of the district attorney believe the district attorney should be elected by are such as ought to make him a terror to evil the people because he is a representative of tho doers. His duties are such that, if faithfully per- people. He is their law-officer; he represents them formed, it is frequently a inatter of necessity with by virtue of his office. I think we show too little him to offend many men who are influential in confidence in the source from which all confidence politics, maoy men who control votes. The dis- is derived. Will not the question of partisanship trict attorney now, in the performance of the arise in an office, even if the holder of that office duties of his office, is often tempted to hesitate be an appointee? The same may be said of the whether he shall do his duty, and do it faithfully sheriff. How can he fearlessly discharge his duty and well, because he will thus forfeit or prejudice without making enemies? I trust the amend. his chances for re-election. I would remove from ment of the gentleman from Kings [Mr. Veeder] him the necessity of choosing between such alter- will prevail. I think it would be most acceptable natives. I would put him in a position where to the people; they are fully qualified to say who there shall be no consideration to swerve him shall represent them in all local matters. If the from the path of duty. I would put him in a district attorney of any county fails to discharge position where, if a man is indicted for riot or his duty, the people of that county are the first to assault rond battery, or in violation of the excise realize and suffer from the neglect. We show a law, he will not be obliged or be tempted to con- distrust of them in depriving them of the right to sider, as very many district attorneys now do, select their own legal adviser This officer is not whether by prosecuting this man faithfully and a State officer! Why, then, should he be apdiligently he will forfeit his chances for re-election. pointed by the Executive of the State ? His Members of this Convention talk about taking duties and jurisdiction are local, and, while repreaway the rights of the people. The right of the senting the people of the State, he is restricted in people is, and their demand is, that the duties of the discharge of that duty to the limits of a parthat office shall be performed faithfully; that the ticular county. I think the experience of the past laws shall be enforced; that crime shall be pun- has clearly shown us that no change is necessary ished. The people do not care for the privilege in reference to this officer, and that the interests of voting for district attorney. The people, whose of the public will be best subserved by retaining wishes we should consider, want a district attor- the existing provision of the present Constituney who will perform all his duties, who shall lion. have no temptation held out to him by the laws Mr. GOULD-I was in hopes that the Conof the State to swerve from the line of his duty. vention would be willing to leave for the present If the people can secure that, they will be satis. the consideration of this question of the appointfied. It makes very little difference with them ment of the district attorney. The Committco whether they vote directly for this oflicer, or on the subject of the Prevention and Punishment whether the Governor of their choice appoint of Crime have already had that matter under conhim. Perhaps it would have been better if in sideration. I shall be very glad if the discussion the second section of this article it had been proof this matter is left until the coming in of the vided that the appointment by the Governor be report of that committee. Now I do not suppose by and with the advice of the Senate. But that the committee on that subject have the power of section can easily be amended, if thought best, elucidating the question in a superior manner to when we reach it. But for the reasons which I the very able committee who has already made bave given, reasons which I am sure we have all a report. I desire it should be left for this reason: felt and know to be substantial, I trust nol Under a resolution of this Convention inquiry was
made of the different county treasurers and coun. They look to their personal ends. If no party ty clerks, in relation to matters which will very presents a candidate to suit them they will nomifully illustrate the operation of our laws, in rela- nate one, and they can thus choose their man, tion to district attorneys. Very curious answers whether from one party or the other. I think it is are already coming in. These investigations are not necessary to have new facts submitted to us. not yet completed. I think the Convention will Mr. Chairman, you know there have been several be in a much better condition to decide this mat. indictments found for corruption in this hall while ter of the appointment of district attorneys after you were a member of the Legislature-gross, they shall have been fully informed on the sub- tlagrant corruption. Not one of those indicted ject by the coming in of this report. I would was brought to trial by these elected district be glad, therefore, when we come to this section, attorneys. I think indictments were found not if the Convention strike it out for the time. I only here but in Greene and Rensselaer. Why suggest to the gentleman from Kings (Mr. Veed- they were not tried I can guess, and so can you. er], whether he will not withdraw so much of his Mr. M. I. TOWNSEND — Will the gentleman amendment as applies to district attorneys, in allow me to ask him a question. It is only to order that the Convention may consider it in the vindicate the character of our district attorneys, lights which will be afforded by the information who might possibly be elected. No indictment coming in.
has ever been found in Rensselaer. One was Mr. GREELEY—I do not believe this Conven- transferred from Albany to Rensselaer. A New tion needs any additional light on this subject. York judge came here; there was some whisperThe gentleman who proposed to strike out, and ing one morning, and nobody has ever heard of it those who opposed the proposition, understand sinco—not a word. this matter perfectly well. The State has very Mr. E. BROOKS— I would like to ask the genimportant, and in my judgment, very beneficent tleman if he believes these district attorneys laws, which forbid gambling, brothel keeping, and would be any better, any more moral men, if they illegal rum selling. Now, the effect-I will not were appointed by the Goveruor, than if they say the purpose-of this amendment is to allow were elected by the people ? these laws to be disregarded and openly defied Mr. GREELEY - I certainly do believe that in the city of New York aud the county of the Governor, being directly responsible for every Kings: to allow the keepers of brothels, the one of these district attorneys, would use great blacklegs and law.defying rumsellers, to elect care in their selection, and scrutinize their actions their own district attorney, and then they will closely. If there was any blame we would lay it openly defy the law. The facts which the right on his shoulders. I do not want any Senate gentleman from Columbia [Mr. Gould] proposes confirmations. I want to hold the Governor to give us will abundantly indicate this-will show responsible for every one of these district attorthis a little more clearly than some of us now know neys. “Why, sir ! your district attorney in this it, but will only confirm what is in every man's county does not try these criminals! We call mind at this hour. We all know that there you to account!” That is what I want. is a local public sentiment in those counties Mr. GERRY—I would like to ask the gentle. adverse to the enforcement of laws, and in favor man whether, under the present system, if the of general license and profitable pandering to Attorney-General has reason to believe in the popular vice. If you make this office an elective corruption of any local district attorney, if he one, and so choose the district attorney, everybody has not the right and the power to come into will do what he has a mind to, so far as he does court and to prosecute the case before the jury not cut anybody's throat nor absolutely and himself. directly pick anybody's pocket. Those who vote Mr. GREELEY—I cannot say what the power here should understand it. The gentleman who of the Attorney-General would be: but this I now holds the office of district attorney in New mean to say, that there are thousands of good York was elected when he was called a republican. indictments that have lain untried for ten I opposed him then, although he had the reg. twelve years, and that not more than half ular republican nomination. But the influences of the indictments found in New York are were all potent to elect him in defiance of the ever brought to trial. It seems very clear regular democratic nomination, and despite of the that those who have friends and money are reform city nomination given to a most estimable not half so likely to be brought to justice member of this present Convention, who was as those who have none. This state of things strongly supported but defeated. He was a I wish to put an end to. I wish to look candidate of the potent influences which cortrol right at the man in that [Executive) chamin the politics of the city of New York. And so, ber whenever there is a flagrant case of delin. being a democrat or a republican had nothing to quency, on the part of the district attorney. I do with his election. Those influences prevailed, wish to hold up the Governor, whoever he may and they will prevail. I do not believe the people be, before the people, when I see this flagrant of New York are corrupt generally, but there is violation of duty on the part of the district attoran enormous influence there, composed of and ney. I cannot do it now. I can do nothing but directed by men who make their money out of submit
. One word as to the original proposition popular vices, one way and another, and who which I have made here. I have objected that want a lax and easy administration of law. Let this county supervisor amounts to nothing, district attorneys be chosen by the people, and practically. But
told he may be thieves and profligates will choose their own dis- made to amount something Now, trict attorney. They care nothing for politics. I object again, if this county supervisor happens
to be on the side of loose legislation, what is our and claim him to be a gentleman in all the walks remedy? I propose that you allow these coun- of life, a good lawyer and an experienced and ablo ty boards to legislate only in case three-fourths district attorney. The present able district attorof all the members sustain that legislation; and ney of Kings county, Hon. S. D. Morris, if they are unanimous, and record the yeas and deserves no such calumny. His repunays, placing each supervisor on the record, tation throughout the State is too well I am content. This county supervisor is not known as a successful and indefatigable proselikely to be any better than a county clerk. Sup. cutor of evil doers to need any encomium from pose a county supervisor happens to say · Yes,"me. He is sure to convict all the guilty (provided or not to say "No?” Some bad measures go the police catches them and keeps them until he through. Where is your remedy? I wish to can do so). His conviction of murderers within have it so that a political majority in a county the last few years is unparalleled in the world's will not be enabled to raise the salaries or allow- history. He is possessed of a bold and defiant ances of their county clerks or their treasurer. 1 spirit, and when he believes he is right he cannot wish to have it so that the minority party can be diverted from doing his duty from fear or object, and thereby stop the increase of salaries, i favor. I will cite an instance. Years ago he was or by any kind of objectionable affirmative legis one of the counsel emp'oyed by the liquor dealers lation whatever. I argue that this proposition to oppose the "Maine law," as it was called. now before us, is a seening, a seeming security to When the present excise law was passed he was. the people-one which really means nothing. I district attorney, and those men whose interests wish it stricken out, in order, when we come to he had advocated successfully as an attorney came the second section, we may provide real securities. to him and asked his opinion as to the constitu
Mr. SCHUMAKER-I can only answer for my tionality of such law. He said it was constitu. own county, and from what I know of history tional and stuck to it, and the court of appeals susconcerning the city and county of New York, tained him, but his former old friends howled and "profitable pandering to popular vice" as the gen- raged about him. But he was uumoved, and contin. tleman from Westchester (Mr. Greeley) terms it, is ned to prosecute for violations under such law. not the business of the district attorneys of the Is there any more chance of making a good man couuties of New York and Kings. I should gather out of a bad man by appointing him. from the remarks of the gentleman from Westches. The experience of the past shows that ter (Mr. Greeley) that it is their present duty to there are just as many bad men apsustain low rum holes, houses of prostitution and pointed, and more too, than there are elected; for gambling houses. Now, I have known in my short if a man in a community is a very bad man, no life a great many district attorneys in New York one finds it out sooner than the people. Ifa man and a great many district attorneys in Kings has a reputation for being a scoundrel, it is whis. county, and I have known of no profitable pered about throughout the town where he lives, pandering to popular vice in Kings county, and and the whole county. The people, when they the only profitable pandering to popular vice that go to the polls, vote according to the reputation Aver was known, or rather that I ever heard of of a man, whether he be good or bad. I would was in the city of New York, and by a district say to my friend from Essex (Mr. Hale) that if a attorney who is now a great reformer, and who district attorney expects to be re-elected in any was appointed by the Governor. He was county he cannot be re-elected by not doing his an appointee, and this common rumor may duty, and not prosecuting men for murder or robbe oply a slander upon him. I know bery; he can only be elected by doing his duty that the district attorneys of our county and doing his duty well, because people who are have been high-minded and honorable interested in having crimes punished, will look to men, and this remark is applicable both to those it to see that their prosecuting officer does his who were appointed and to ihose who were elected, duty in every particular. In our county for the who went into office with independent fortunes last twenty years (although I have had the honor and accumulated no money while in oflice. I to occupy that position once myself), there have have known most of the district attorneys who been very few murderers who escaped, and those tiņ2?Â?Â2/2ņģēti2?Â§Â2âÒ2Â??2ti2ti2ti2ÂòÂ?22/\/2\/222/2/2/2/2ti2–2ņ2§2 /222/2Â§2§2§2ģētiņâmâ►ēm2 wilness to the fairness and fidelity with which they victed. The gentleman cannot point his finger have performed their duties, especially those who to one case in Kings county, where the district have been elected. I have never heard of Mr. attorney there has been guilty of profitable panHall or Mr. Waterbury or Mr. Sweeney accumu- dering to popular vice,” in any particular! I lating any money from their official positions. Mr. defy him to do it—he cannot do it. I will give Blunt was district attorney of the city and county the gentleman (Mr. Greeley) the opportunity now. of New York, and he amassed no fortune. I|I'll permit him to interrupt me to do it. He is altribute personal feeling as the cause of my silent; that shows he cannot state one case. By learned friend, Mr. Greeley, making these bold appointment by the Governor, you do not assertions agaiost the present district attorney of remove the district attorney at all from any the city and county of New York. He and Mr. temptation to profitable pandering to popular Hall hate each other cordially, and each take every vice. Do you? opportunity that occurs in the press of the day, Mr. GOULD-It appears that in the last ten and in public and private, of soundly abusing and years $427,000 of estreated bail has accrued in the ridiculing each other. But those who know Mr. city of New York, and only $39,000 has been paid
Iall intimately differ from the gentleman in rela- into the public treasury. Will the gentleman aclion to his fitness and efficiency as a public officer, I count for that?
Mr. SCHUMAKER -I will tell you. There should be appointed from, this executive chamber is a great deal of straw bail in the cities of here is the very worst and the very last place. this State. But, do not lay that to the account of Ho will have all sorts of visits from all sorts of district attorneys. Judges take bail-district persons, from Governors' private secretaries and attorneys do not. By the Revised Statutes, two persons hanging around that chamber. Then good freeholders can become bail for any man. come to the district attorney and say, “Do you Two men appear before the judge and he takes kuow John Doe, Mr. District Attorney?" "YER the bail. He notifies the district attorney that I know John Doe.” “Well now, has not be been the prisoner is in court, and desires to give bail. in State Prison long enough ? Is not the policy of The district attorney examines the persons and the law 'reformation ?' " "The Governor would finds out they are A, B or C, owning real estate like to do it, but your letter is not quite strong in different portions of the city, and they swear to enough. Could not you make it a little stronger? property sufficient to make them competent bail, Now this comes generally from the officials and so the prisoner is bailed. Then when you come those who hang about the Governor. How will that to prosecute the bail bond, sometimes you find talk answer to the person who is appointed in that A, B and C swore falsely, and were men of that room ? Would it not have more effect than straw. This is what we call straw bail.
it would to go to a man who is elected by the Mr. GOULD-Why was it, that from the year people? There have been almost weekly mis 1857 to the year 1861 not one single dollar was sions from that room. I do not say it is so now, collected for estreated bail in the city of New because I have no intelligence from there now. York?
But from the old executive chamber of this State · Mr. SCHUMAKER—I suppose the money there were weekly trips to the city of New York could not be made. That is not such a singular and Brooklyn to ascertain whether something fact. In some counties in the State there never could not be done for poor Peter Dawson or for has been a dollar collected of estreated bail. Some- Four Fingered Jack, or poor pick pocket this, or times courts direct that recognizances shall not pickpocket that. Now, if you have your district be prosecuted; sometimes, after bail has been for- attorney appointed in that room, I ask yon, and feited, the bondsmen bring the criminal into court this Convention, whether there is not room for and deliver him up, and he is tried and convicted. Igrave fears that the district attorney will be inIn such case his bondsmen should not sufler. I posed upon by the satraps and hangers-on of the do not believe that a bail bond has been prose-executive chamber, in relation to all sorts oiletcuted and the money collected upon it in the ters that a district attorney may write. We county of Kings, in ten years. I think it is almost God's sake don't let the pardoning power mal impossible to collect money upon a bail bond if the and unmake your district attorneys. party does not appear for trial. There is always Mr. GREELEY – I present this case: There some rascality about it, or some personation of is a local sentiment hostile to a general pulak parties who are good, by parties who are bad. In law of the State. Now, I wish the contlem:33 nine cases out of ten it is found the party who would tell us by what means that law is to live gave the bail bond is utterly bankrupt, or that he executed against that local hostile sentiment, a:1 is cot the person he represented himself to be. he secure his election or re-election. Will not I remember a case of this kind. A cele- the district attorney have his hands practically brated burglar was arrested in Brooklyn, and tied so he will do nothing? two men appeared and offered to go bail for the 'Mr. SCHUMAKER — I will tell the gentleman. prisoner. One represented himself as living in Let the Governor send there the Attorney-General Elizabeth street, and the other professed to live of the State, who is a sort of general supervisor in the Bowery, possessed of fine real estate in of its criminal interests. If there is a trial for their respective places. They were examined to murder in some portion of the State, let the Goverthe satisfaction of the county judge; they were por send the Attorney-General to conduct the trial taken as bail. Upon the trial the defendant did It always has been done; and I suppose when not appear. The parties who went bail were occasion requires it will be done again. I was about looked up. Men were found in each of the places, to say, before I was interrupted, that this infiuin Elizabeth Street and in the Bowery, who ence pervades and embraces every action of the represented the same amount of property, as was district attorney. I have not seen much of it sworn to by those who appeared before the but when the district attorney is appointed, there county judge, but they were different persons is no independence carried with it at all. How is altogether. The persons who went bail were he appointed ? In the first place, the general "straw bail," who personated those two men committee has resolved that Peter Kernips shall from the fact of their having entire knowledge be district attorney of a county. How many of their property. They could not be found. are there of this general committee ? Forty or When a man gives good bail he generally is fifty. He has to make his bow to them. One present at the trial. He stands his trial, and if lives in this place, another lives in that place, dishe is convicted there is an end of it. That may tributed throughout the whole county. There be the reason why prior to 1867 there was no are other leading and special politicians who are money paid on estreated bail bonds in the city about Albany all the year round, who know every of New York, from the fact that the worthless thing about Albany which has money in, and straw-bail bonds were the only ones upon which who have influence with the Governor. They live judgment had been obtained. Before I was in in the county where the district attorney is to be terrupted I was about to say that of all places on appointed from; and they have something to say. He the face of the earth, where a district attorney has to ask their influence in getting his appointment