페이지 이미지

This plan was challenged in the case of United States v. The Dela ware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Co. and The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Coal Co. The Government lost in the district court, but an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, which in an opinion handed down on June 21, 1915, unanimously reversed the decision of the lower court (238 U. S., 516).

I stated in my last annual report that even should the Government be successful in this case in the Supreme Court, the commodities clause would still fall short of accomplishing its purpose—the divorce of transportation from production. This is not less evident now that the case has, in fact, been decided in favor of the Government, since railroads are still able to claim that the clause does not prohibit them from engaging in production along their lines, provided only that they sell the articles produced before transporting them.

I therefore again recommend an amendment which will prohibit a railroad from transporting in interstate commerce articles which it manufactured or produced, or which were manufactured or produced by any corporation controlled by it or affiliated with it by having the same controlling stockholders, irrespective of whether such railroad or such controlled or affiliated corporation has an interest in the articles at the time of transportation. It is also necessary, if transportation and production are to be completely divorced, that Congress prohibit any railroad owned or controlled by a producing or trading corporation, and not operated merely as a plant facility, from transporting in interstate commerce articles produced or owned by such corporation.

A bill to carry out this recommendation was introduced in the last Congress by the chairman of the House Committee on Interstate Commerce (H. R. 20470).


In its provision for the removal of indicted persons to the districts where the indictments were returned the Federal criminal procedure is grievously defective. A person indicted in a particular district, if found in another district, may successfully resist removal if a United States commissioner in the district where he is found is willing to find lack of probable cause; or he may give bond to appear, fail to do so, and, upon forfeiture of his bond and further removal proceedings, give a second bond, and so on indefinitely. At present several persons indicted for grave felonies are thus enjoying absolute asylum within this Union and practical immunity from prosecution.

It is notorious that removal proceedings are more cumbersome, expensive, and uncertain than extradition proceedings.

As the criminal process of a State after indictment runs to any place within the State, so should a Federal warrant run to any part of the United States after indictment, but with privilege to the defendant to give bail.

This defect in the Federal criminal procedure has been frequently pointed out by my predecessors:

By Attorney General Wickersham in his report for 1909, page 20. By Attorney General Bonaparte in his report for 1908, page 10. By Attorney General Bonaparte in his report for 1907, volume 1,

pages 5–6.

By Attorney General Moody in his report for 1906, pages 3-4. By Attorney General Moody in his report for 1905, pages 6–10. By Attorney General Moody in his report for 1904, pages 4–11.

I therefore renew very urgently the recommendation in my last report that section 1014 of the Revised Statutes be amended so that the judge into whose court an indictment is returned may consider the testimony introduced before the grand jury and enter an order making the warrant of arrest run to all parts of the United States.



Judges of United States courts who have attained the age of 70 and have served 10 years may retire upon full pay. In the past many judges have availed themselves of this privilege. Some, however, have remained upon the bench long beyond the time when they were capable of adequately discharging their duties, and in consequence the administration of justice has suffered. The power of Congress to correct this condition is limited by the provision of the Constitution that judges shall hold their offices during good behavior.

I again renew the suggestion made by my predecessor that Congress pass an act providing that when any judge of a Federal court below the Supreme Court fails to avail himself of the privilege of retiring now granted by law, the President be authorized, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint another judge to preside over the affairs of the court and have precedence over the older one. This will insure at all times the presence of a judge sufficiently active to discharge promptly and adequately the duties of the court.


As stated in my last annual report, there is great need for legislation with reference to the preparation and printing of the records of cases in the appellate courts. The act of February 13, 1911 (36 Stat., 901), entitled "An act to diminish the expense of proceedings on appeal and writ of error or of certiorari,” has led to confusion. I

23871°-Ab. 1915- vol 1-35

repeat my recommendation that the Supreme Court be empowered to promulgate uniform rules governing the preparation and printing of records for all of the appellate courts of the United States and to fix the fees and charges in connection therewith.


Under section 140 of the Federal Penal Code it is a crime to assault, beat, or wound an officer of the United States engaged in serving or executing process, but there is no Federal law making it a crime to kill an officer under these circumstances. I again suggest that section 140 of the Penal Code be amended so as to make it a crime against the United States to kill an officer under the circumstances therein mentioned.


Impressed with the importance of considering the question of the amendment, revision, and codification of the laws in force in the District of Columbia pertaining to children and to the jurisdiction, practice, and procedure of the Juvenile Court of the District, my predecessor, on March 6, 1914, appointed a committee, composed of Bernard Flexner, of Chicago, chairman; Miss Julia C. Lathrop, chief of the Children's Bureau, Department of Labor; Rev. William J. Kerby, professor of sociology, Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C.; Walter C. Clephane, Washington, D. C.; and William H. Baldwin, Washington, D. C., to study the present laws and needs of the District in this particular and to advise the Attorney General, accompanying its report with a draft of a code adequate to give the District satisfactory laws upon these subjects, and which might be used as a general model.

This committee, acting without compensation, devoted a very large amount of time to the problem, and submitted to me a report thereon including drafts of two bills intended to carry out their recommendations. I sent to Congress at its last session a copy of this report, it having been received by me after my regular annual report had been submitted, and have attached a copy as an exhibit hereto. I am of the opinion that the present juvenile laws of the District of Columbia are antiquated, and earnestly recommend the passage of legislation substantially as presented by this committee.


Attention is again called to the urgent need of a building for the department, which now occupies seven different buildings, originally constructed for residential purposes, and a few rooms in a regular

office building. The seven residential buildings are not fireproof and are without vaults, and in consequence the office records, many of them of the highest public importance, are constantly exposed to destruction by fire. The buildings are scattered; not being designed for business purposes their interior arrangements are wholly unsuited to the business of the department; they are crowded and insanitary. In short, it is no exaggeration to say that as regards housing, the condition of the department could not be worse. This condition interferes with the proper organization of the work and renders the highest degree of efficiency impossible.

A new building would be greatly in the interest of both public efficiency and public economy. Section 31 of the public building act approved June 25, 1910, authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to prepare designs and estimates for a new building, but Congress has not yet authorized its construction. A site has been purchased by the Government, and I recommend and urge that an appropriation be made with which to begin construction.


In the course of the European war and the Mexican revolution questions have arisen which show the need of a revision of the statute law bearing on our international relations. In two or three respects immediate action seems necessary.

First. There is at present no adequate law under which the Government may seize and retain arms and ammunition which are being exported or which there is reason to believe are about to be exported in violation of the President's proclamation of an embargo on shipments of arms to Mexico, pursuant to the joint resolution of Congress of 1912. Neither is there any adequate law under which the Government may seize and retain arms and ammunition about to be used in connection with military expeditions prohibited by section 13 of the Federal Penal Code. Obviously, the end in view is the prevention of the export of arms in the one case and the prevention of the expedition in the other, and as an effective means to that end I recommend that authority be given to seize arms and ammunition under the circumstances stated.

Second. It should be specifically made a crime against the United States to place bombs or other explosives on vessels sailing from the ports of the United States.

Third. It should be made a crime against the United States for any person to escape or attempt to escape from an interned warship of a belligerent nation; and in any event, authority should be given to some department of the Government to arrest and return any such person to the place of internment.


Under existing law it is no offense to send threatening letters through the mails unless in furtherance of a scheme to defraud or as a means of accomplishing extortion. Letters threatening injury to life or property may be sent with impunity. Obviously, this should not be so.


Sention 36 of the Federal Penal Code provides that thefts of property of the United States furnished for the military or naval service shall be punished as prescribed in section 35. That section prescribes two different punishments. The punishment for its violation being thus uncertain, section 36 is of little force. Obviously, the uncertainty should be removed.


Criminal prosecutions under the bankruptcy act must be brought within one year as the law now stands. This seems too short a period. Unquestionably it has defeated justice in some cases. To illustrate, most of the cases of embezzlement by trustees in bankruptcy have been disclosed by the periodical examinations of the offices of referees in bankruptcy conducted by the Bureau of Investigation of this department. Speaking generally, it has never been found possible to conduct such investigations oftener than once every two years, except, of course, where there was reason to suspect wrongdoing. It frequently happens, therefore, that by the time such embezzlements are discovered the statute of limitation has barred prosecution. I recommend that the period of limitation in such cases be extended to

three years.


There is a division of opinion in the district courts on the question as to the lawfulness of having a stenographer present to report the proceedings of grand juries, and in order that all doubt may be removed, it is recommended that an act be passed specifically authorizing the presence of a stenographer in the grand-jury room for the purpose of reporting the proceedings.


I recommend that the law be amended so that a party dissatisfied with the appraisement made by a local appraiser may have a reappraisement before a single general appraiser with the right of appeal on the law and the facts to a board of three general ap

« 이전계속 »