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an associate county judge, and counties exceeding seventy thousand two such associate judges. The County judge would be responsible for the administration of justice in his county, within jurisdictional limits, which would probably be about as follows: Civil, to five hundred dollars (or perhaps in thinly populated state, eight hundred dollars); criminal to all offenses, not punishable by life imprisonment, being concurrent for minor misdemeanors, with the circuit court; probate, complete trial jurisdiction. The County judges would also be local masters and referees of the circuit court.
Within every county, districts would be created based partly on population and partly on area. Probably no such district would exceed six townships or 216 square miles, and few would be larger than four townships, the greatest diameter being then twelve miles. Where there is a town or more dense population, a single township might make such a district. In every such district, there would be a place for holding county court and the county judge would hold court there as often as needed, not less frequently than once in sixty days. In every such district, there would be a resident magistrate who would act as deputy to the clerk of the county court, issuing process and keeping a docket. The magistrate would also be clothed with the jurisdiction of the County Court, subject to the directions of the county judge, who might take any matter from the magistrate at any time. In criminal matters, the magistrate would have no power to try and sentence, except in matters involving slight punishment (not exceeding thirty days in jail) and not then, unless the accused waives jury trial, as the magistrate would have no right to preside over a jury in any civil or criminal cause.
The great majority of men who come into court on a drunk and disorderly condurt charge, would prefer to have a speedy decision, rather than take a long time to have the case heard. You take even in our Municipal Court of Chicago, probably the most efficient court of its kind in the world, which was at one time right up to date and which has jurisdiction broad enough to overlap the circuit court, when it was new a good many started all their cases there and that court now is getting behind even on its criminal business. If a man gets a speedy
trial, in one to four weeks, he must waive a jury; if he demands a jury, he adds to the time, and the court is now, four or five months behind on its jury calendar.
The organization of such a court would be as follows:
This system of courts is to be linked together by having a single chief justice for the state, who will preside over the meetings of the court to be held annually, and over the monthly meetings of the Judicial Council, in which is vested the authority for making rules and generally governing the entire court organization. The Chief Justice is the executive to carry into effect the will of the Judicial Council, which is supreme in administrative functions subject only to the state legislature.
In lesser administrative matters, requiring prompt action, the chief justice would have wide discretion, as in assigning judges to hold court throughout the state, and especially if the former schedule needs to be supplemented. In more important matters requiring less promptness the Judicial Council would decide.
The chief justice will also be charged with compiling and publishing statistics under five heads:
(4) Efficiency. (5) Financial.
To him reports will be made monthly by county judges and presiding justices of divisions, and such reports for districts will be made monthly or weekly by magistrates to the county judges. Full statistics to be published semi-annually. The chief justice may or may not be presiding justice of the Supreme Court.
The Judicial Council to be about five or seven in number, and to be composed of presiding justices of divisions of the Circuit Court, one or two representatives of the Supreme Court, and such additional Circuit judges as are needed to make up the number.
The procedure under this plan would be provided for by an accompanying schedule of rules. The act would repeal all statutes existing in a given state, constituting the statutory proce
dure, and continue it as rules of court, subject to amendment by the Judicial Council so the state would start out with the rules with which it is familiar by reason of the statutes but they could be changed upon suggestion by the Bar or upon the initiative of the Judicial Council itself.
The legislature would have opportunity to pass on amendments to the schedule of rules, and failure to act by the legislature would give such new rules the force of law. There could be a compact practice act embodying the most important procedural matters, which would not be subject to amendment by the Judicial Council, the same being a sort of Bill of Rights, as I have outlined heretofore.
With reference to the selection of judges, under this scheme the judges of the supreme and circuit courts will not represent districts, but will be judges "at large." Under the Short Ballot system, it may be fairly contended that circuit judges, being inconspicuous in relation to the size of the district (the entire state) and the district being unwieldly, they should not be elected, but be selected by some person or group held accountable to the entire electorate for the due administration of justice.
The position of Supreme Court justice is, at least, in one of the less populous states, sufficiently conspicuous to justify making it an elective office.
Several methods of selection are possible, either a modern effective elective system or the appointment of judges would be by the governor with the consent of the senate or judicial council, but is it not the more logical way to have the people elect the chief justice, who will be directly charged with the administration of justice throughout the state, and delegate to him authority to appoint judges.
Upon a given ballot in the State of Illinois, we have had as many as two hundred men running for judicial office, and there is no man at the bar, to say nothing of the public, who can pick out a ticket, from those two hundred men, which should be elected. The proposed plan will center the whole attention of the public upon the selection of a chief justice, and his great function would be the selection of other men to occupy the places upon the bench. To get him out of politics he should be permitted to become a judge of the Supreme or Circuit Court upon
failure to be re-elected or to become a candidate to succeed himself. He may be made ineligible to more than one successive term, as a further check against political affiliation on his part.
It is in accord with short ballot principles to have county judges elected, as the district would be wieldy and the position conspicuous. An ideal form of election should be adopted. It might be like this: nomination by petition, election by preferential vote, on a separate non-partisan ballot at a general election or in some cases by party nominations on non-partisan ballot. After a term of three full years, at the succeeding spring election the name of the county judge to be submitted to the voters on a ballot which will inquire whether the incumbent is to be continued in office, yes or no. If so continued a like submission six or eight or ten years later. If not continued, then his suecessor to be elected at the succeeding general election, an appointment ad interim to be made by the Chief Justice.
Magistrates should be expertly elected. They cannot be elected, because their districts would not coincide with any political divisions. They might be chosen by the county board, subject to the approval of the county judge, and should serve indefinitely until removed by the County Judge, the Chief Justice approving.
The tenure of the Supreme Court justices to be for the accustomed term, if elected, but if appointed, then the same as circuit judges, whose term would be for good behavior.
The retirement of all judges could be:
1. By impeachment.
2. By address of the legislature.
3. By order of the judicial council after trial, on charges
to be preferred by
a. The chief justice.
b. The judicial council.
c. Petition of judges to the number of at least five.
d. In the case of county judges, a petition of lawyers, not less than ten, nor less than twenty-five per cent of the lawyers practicing in the county.
The eligibility to these positions should be fixed as follows: The judges to have been admitted to practice and been actually engaged in the practice of law at least five years and to be
not over sixty years of age. The magistrates might be either lawyers or laymen.
This Judication act is merely to create a judicial machine readily responsible to the intelligent citizenship of the state, and calculated to encourage ambition on the part of lawyers to seek judicial honors. The procedure is not expected to affect private rights in any respect, or to change any rules affecting rights, but merely to smooth the course of administration and to make pleadings and practice rational and simple. There would be but one appeal in any case, direct to the Supreme court, and as that court would have the right to receive new evidence, very few cases would ever be remanded for retrial.
The principle of definite responsibility is made to serve at every point. It may be made in many respects more democratic than any existing scheme of courts. Administrative efficiency would necessarily be emphasized in every court room. The meeting of all judges annually, would make for uniformity, and quicken the ambition and consciences of judges. Each judge would be comparable with other judges of the same class, and would be continued or dropped upon his own record. Politics would become less a factor than now, in the selection of judges. The published statistics would reveal every detail to the people, point every advance, perfect an ideal of efficiency to be attained, and afford a basis for all criminal and social legislation. There might be promotion by appointment of the most capable county judges to the circuit bench, and from that to the Supreme Court, or preferably, perhaps, lawyers of pre-eminent ability could be appointed directly to the highest court. There would be a place for suitors to lodge complaints so that the defects of trial judges or of counsel would be revealed, and a much stronger hold on lawyers would result, making them more amenable to discipline by the court.
With reference to criminal procedure, a person charged with a petty misdemeanor, by waiving jury trial, could be sentenced at once by the magistrate, or his case, before sentence, could be taken by the county judge. More serious misdemeanors would be tried by the county judge at the county seat, or in the district where arrest is made, at the option of the county judge. In felony cases, the magistrate or the associate county judge in the