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WALTER D. MEALS:-I think a body of lawyers in convention assembled should act intelligently. The recommendation provides that a committee be appointed to draft a Bill extending the powers of the Chief Justice over the several counties of the State. In the first place, the Court of Appeals, which is the next lower Court, derives its jurisdiction from the Constitution of the State and for that matter the legislature has no more power over that Court than a rabbit and legislation of that kind would be of no consequence and no competency whatsoever. Duties cannot be imposed upon it that are not imposed on it by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has so held. Its jurisdiction can neither be enlarged nor diminished. Now so far as the Common Pleas Court is concerned, I know of no power of supervision over it that can be given by the legislature that is not already given by the Constitution of today. Every Common Pleas Judge in the State as every Court of Appeals Judge in the State may be assigned to duty in every county of the State. The Chief Justice is exercising that power today as respects the Common Pleas Courts. The Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals is exercising that duty as respects the Court of Appeals. What further power can be given by legislative enactment on the subject I do not know. What further control or supervision can be vested in the Chief Justice of the State on the subject I do not know. What the condition is that calls for such legislation I do not know. At least I am not apprised of it. I think we are very well constituted in that regard and we are limited by the Constitution in that respect and I do not believe a body of lawyers should go on record as endorsing something that it is clearly beyond the power of the legislature to enact or to suggest that a Committee should be appointed to draft legislation which the legislature has no power to enact.
I believe a convention of lawyers should act like lawyers and not propose legislation that is not constitutional or legislation that is not needed, and I therefore oppose this recommendation.
THE PRESIDENT:Are there any other remarks on this question, gentlemen? It ought to be thoroughly discussed.
CHARLES B. HUNT, of Coshocton:-I move that this matter be referred back to the Committee on Judicial Administration and Legal Reform for further consideration.
Motion seconded and carried.
THE PRESIDENT:-That concludes the consideration of that report. The next matter on the program is the report of the Special Committee on Uniform System of Reporting, Daniel W. Iddings, Chairman.
Mr. Iddings then presented the following report:
REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON UNIFORM
SYSTEM OF REPORTING.
CEDAR POINT, OHIO, July 8, 1919. To the Officers and Members of the Ohio State Bar Association:
GENTLEMEN:—At the Thirty-ninth Annual Meeting of this Association, held last year in Cleveland, on August 27th, 1918, the Report of your Special Committee was presented, unanimously adopted, and the Committee continued.
Barring a resume of the confusion and chaos existing with respect to the official and unofficial reports of the Ohio Appellate Courts, and the unavailing efforts of your Committee to secure relief, due to the selfishly stubborn private publishers and lack of co-operation by the Appellate Judges themselves, the big appeal of our Report was to bring to the attention of the bench and bar of Ohio the very timely Memorial of the American Bar Association, decrying the multiplicity of reports and calling upon the Judiciary to assist the Bar in reducing the number of printed volumes of decisions. This Memorial had been adopted by the National Association at its Saratoga Springs meeting in September, 1917, and represented a condensation of the comprehensive paper on the subject by ex-Solicitor General John W. Davis, read at the Chicago session the year before.
Our Cleveland meeting was not as well attended as it should have been and therefore the appeal was not as great as it should have been—not an unusual record for our Association—and your Committee then stated that it was its purpose anyhow to carry the war into the enemy country, and present “the Memorial to the several courts in formal manner during the next few months so that no judge can hope to escape at least the 'listening process.'"
(1918) 39 O. S. Bar Association Report 60.
We did this work conscientiously, presenting the Memorial to the Annual Meeting of the Appellate Judges in Columbus, on September 17th, to the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court on October 1st, to United States District Judge Howard C. Hollister, at Dayton, on October 7th, and to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals Judges at Cincinnati, on October 8th. At this latter presentation Hon. George Hoadley, President of the Cincinnati Bar Association, Mr. Charles B. Wilby and other members of that bar participated and contributed towards an impressive ceremony at the autumn opening of that court.
Individual members of the Committee were also responsible for the presentation of the Memorial to other Judges, including United States District Judges Killetts, at Toledo, Westenhaver, at Cleveland, and Sater, at Columbus. The last named jurist in characteristic language, stated in reply:
“I join in the effort of the American Bar Association to limit the number of cases reported and to curtail them in length. It has long been my policy to have no opinion of my own published, outside of those written for the Circuit Court of Appeals, excepting such as involve new points. Very few of my opinions have been going to print. In cases in which my opinions are not designed for publication, but which I have reason to believe will go to a higher court, I am much more elaborate than in those instances in which publication is contemplated. That, however, is simply for the benefit of the higher court, that they may know how I view cases decided by me.
I have long thought that a very large percentage of all cases reaching reviewing courts should be disposed of without report or in mere memorandum opinions, and that there ought to be an officer or board who shall determine for each State Supreme Court and for the Federal Courts, (other than the Federal Supreme Court, at any rate), what opinions shall be published. I should think that at least fifty per cent. of all the cases published are of no material advantage to either the bench or the bar."
Necessarily this propaganda had a direct bearing on the intolerable situation of our own Appellate Court Reports, and elicited a further responsive chord on the part especially of the Judges of our Supreme Court, who through their Chief Justice assured us of their approval of any workable plans, however drastic, and of their active co-operation even if legislation became necessary.
But of course our conference with the Appellate Court Judges themselves in Annual Meeting last September was our principal effort of this sort. They listened to the Memorial with interest and favorable comment, and then, at our suggestion, as token
of fullest co-operation, nominated their Chief Justice for membership on our Committee to fill a vacancy. President E. N. Brown immediately appointed on our Committee Chief Justice Robert S. Shields to serve until January 1st last, and thereafter the succeeding Chief Justice, Hon. Silas S. Richards, who is now serving as a member of your Committee.
It was the consensus of the Appellate Judges, afterwards reiterated by Chief Justice Richards when regretting his inability to attend an important meeting of the Committee and the publishers of the rival and offending publications, held in Columbus on January 10th last, that the plans of our Committee met their entire approval and they were hopeful that a satisfactory arrangement could be made so that there will be published in permanent form only one set of reports, and that of course, the official one. It seemed to them (the Appellate Judges) that if Mr. Randall, the State Reporter, could furnish to the law publications without expense copies or galley proofs of the opinions, and do so promptly, thus permitting the law magazines to publish the same in that form, in advance of the official bound volumes, that this would be a satisfactory adjustment of the matter. Enquiry of Mr. Randall brought forth the fact that while his office was making a charge for opinions furnished to the private publishers, yet the money received went into the general funds of the State, was of no avail to his office, and accordingly the charge would be gladly dispensed with if the publishers would refrain from issuing bound volumes in competition with the official set.
We counted this as a good tentative basis for a satisfactory agreement with the publishers in behalf of the bench and bar, to end the long drawn out controversy existing since and responsible for the origin of this Special Committee on July 7th, 1915.
(1915) 36 0. S. Bar Association Reports 43-48. Therefore we called a meeting with the publishers at Columbus on January 10th, 1919, as before stated, where, besides our Committee, were present the following gentlemen: E. O. Randall, State Reporter; W. J. Tossell of the Ohio Law Publishing Company, Norwalk, publishers of "Ohio Law Bulletin” and “Ohio Circuit Decisions (O. C. D.)," Vinton R. Shepard, of The Ohio Law Reporter Company, Cincinnati, publishers of “Ohio Law Reporter” and “Ohio Circuit Court Reports, New Series (O. C. C. n. s.)” amended on February 25th, 1918, to “Ohio Courts of Appeals Reports (O. C. A.);" also Hugh Jones of The W. H. Anderson Company, Cincinnati, publishers (by contract with the State as lowest and best bidder) of the official “Ohio Appellate Court Reports (0. A. C.)”
In behalf of The Ohio Law Publishing Company it is only fair to remark that its representative came to this meeting with its position satisfactorily stated in advance, that it "for more than two years has been ready and willing to publish advance sheets of the decisions of the Courts of Appeal” on the basis of one uniform set of official bound volumes, but that the other publisher would not join in such arrangement.
63 Ohio Law Bulletin, 495, (issue of Dec. 30, 1918). And beginning with volume 64, Part I, issue of January 6th, 1919, the Ohio Law Bulletin has added a “Court of Appeals Supplement,” similar in form to the advance sheets it includes of our Supreme Court Reports, but necessarily without the valuable official pagination, which can only be developed for the Appellate Courts when the editing of the advance sheets and official bound volumes are fully co-ordinated, as is the case with the Supreme Court Reports.
This meeting developed three important facts:
1. That volumes of the several reports could not be edited, published and bound for the present price of $1.50, and therefore the publishers were hanging on against the day, and merely to preserve themselves in business;
2. That the unofficial publishers each had many regular customers for their bound volumes, and that they could not afford to supply these customers with the official volumes in substitution unless some profit was possible; and
3. That the bar of Ohio are now substantially compelled to buy all three reports of the decisions of the Courts of Appeals at a total cost of $6.50, and therefore the price of one official set might well be slightly advanced, say to $2.50, which would effect a cash saving of at least $4.00, without estimating the great relief from confusion of citations, etc., which would inevitably result.
Thereupon your Committee accomplished a 'gentlemen's agreement” among all parties present covering the subject about as follows:
(1) To increase, by securing a change in the statute now governing the same, the price of the Reports of the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals, from $1.50 to $2.50 per volume;
(2) That the volumes of these reports when published and printed be furnished by the concern publishing the same, to The Ohio Law Publishing Company, The Ohio Law Reporter Company and The W. H. Anderson Company, at $1.50 per volume;