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Association rotates from one division of the State to another, and this time it falls to Middle Tennessee. The members of the bar from Middle Tennessee held a formal meeting this morning and discussed whom they would suggest to the Association, or nominate before the Association as a suitable person for its President.
I want to say, Mr. President and gentlemen, at the outset, we had great difficulty in finding anyone who could fill the office as capably as our present distinguished President who is just finishing his term. But, after considering the material that we had, we felt that there was a gentleman in our midst in Middle Tennessee who was the best we could offer you from that part of the State.
In the first place, gentlemen, he has distinguished himself by his eminent and efficient services upon the Bench, where he has performed arduous duties with great credit to himself and to the State.
Not only so, but during the time of his incumbency as one of the Justices of the Court of Civil Appeals, he has furnished to the lawyers and people of the State six volumes of reports, and without his labors, we would have been without the reports of the decisions of this intermediate appellate court which he has given us.
Taking everything into consideration, his own fitness for this honorable position and the services he has rendered the Bar and the people of the State, and the further fact that we feel that from time to time the President of this Association should be one who has left the active practice of his profession and gone to the Bench-and we do that because we want to show the Bench that we have no hard feelings against them, I have been directed by the members of the Association fron Middle Tennessee to place in nomination as President of this Association, and I second the nomination which has been made, of Justice Joseph C. Higgins, of Fayetteville, Tennessee. Mr. Jas. H. Malone: Mr. President, I move that he be elected by acclamation.
The motion was duly seconded by Col. Joseph H. Acklen, and submitted to a vote, and Justice Joseph C. Higgins was unanimously elected by acclamation as President of the Bar Association, and as such assumed the chair, and presided over
the further proceedings of the meeting.
President Joseph C. Higgins: Mr. Retiring President and Gentlemen of the Bar Association-I have enjoyed at the hands of the people of Tennessee many great favors, more than I deserve, but I appreciate today, more than all of them and all that I expect to attain, the honor and laurel which have been conferred on me today. I sincerely hope you will accord me your aid and assistance, because I am going to have difficulty in filling this high position as successfully as our retiring President. I am going to do the best I can, gentle
The Association is now in order for further business. There should be elected three Vice-Presidents, one from each of the divisions of the State.
Mr. C. W. Heiskell: Mr. President, I nominate for VicePresident from West Tennessee, Mr. R. L. Bartels, of Memphis.
Mr. C. W. Metcalf: I second that nomination.
Judge John W. Judd: Mr. President, I desire to nominate for Vice-President from Middle Tennessee, Judge Douglass Wickle, of Franklin, Tennessee.
Mr. P. D. Maddin: I second the nomination.
Mr. W. A. Owens: I desire to place Mr. A. W. Chambliss, of Chattanooga, in nomination for Vice-President from East Tennessee.
The nomination was duly seconded.
The President: Gentlemen, you have heard the names suggested for Vice-President for the several divisions. All in favor of those nominations make it known by saying aye.
The gentlemen nominated for Vice-President, respectively, were elected by the unanimous vote of the Association.
The next order of business is the election of a Secretary and Treasurer, and nominations are now in order.
Mr. C. W. Metcalf: Mr. President, I am informed that Mr. Smith, our former Secretary and Treasurer, who has discharged the duties of this office for five or six years so efficiently and faithfully, has finally concluded that his professional engagements are such that he can no longer continue as our Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. Burch, am I correct about that?
Mr. C. W .Metcalf: And in accordance therewith, he declines to be Secretary and Treasurer any further. Now, in view of that, Mr. President, I nominate Mr. Lee Winchester, of Memphis, for Secretary and Treasurer.
The President: Any other nominations?
Mr. W. A. Owens: Mr. President, I move that Mr. Winchester be elected by acclamation.
The motion was duly seconded, and was carried.
The President: Now, gentlemen, there are to be designated three delegates to the American Bar Association.
Mr. Giles L. Evans: I move you that our President, Judge Higgins be made one of those delegates. I am sure he would be a most capable representative. I ask that Mr. Malone put that motion.
The motion was duly seconded, and was put to a vote by Mr. James H. Malone, and unanimously carried.
The President: Do I hear suggestions for two others? There should be three delegates.
Mr. James H. Malone: Mr. Harry R. Boyd, of Memphis, stated to several of us this morning, Mr. President, that he would attend that Association meeting, and I move you that he be elected a delegate.
Mr. C. W. Metcalf: I second the motion.
Mr. W. A. Owens: Mr. President, I suggest the name of Hon. Charles T. Cates, of Knoxville, for East Tennessee.
The President: Before this Association the names of Mr. Harry R. Boyd and Gen. Charles T. Cates have been suggested as additional delegates to the meeting of the American Bar Association. All in favor of those men as delegates make it known by saying aye.
The motion was unanimously carried.
The President: Gentlemen, are there any other matters to come before the Association?
Mr. W. A. Owens: Mr. President, I had prepared a paper along the line of the State of Tennessee allowing the law of perjury to become obsolete. I think we are too indifferent about the matter of allowing perjury to be committed in the Courts. It is done as a matter of course and without any no
tice being taken of it, and that being so, I want to ask, if you will, Mr. President, that the paper simply be incorporated in the proceedings.
Mr. Charles N. Burch: Mr. President, I make the motion that the paper be inserted in the proceedings.
Mr. James H. Malone: I second the motion.
The motion was put to a vote, and unanimously carried. The paper referred to by Mr. Owens is in the following words and figures, to-wit:
W. A. Owens, LaFollette, Tenn.
Remedial procedure means to remedy or remove some evil that has grown up under our present procedure, being a rule of practice or pleading, whereby rights are affected. Under these rules of procedure, the machinery of the court has become too cumbersome and we are now trying to find some set of rules that we may adopt which it is hoped will get us out of a hole, and enable us to more readily expedite the business of the Court.
This is a vast subject.
Its solution I am going to leave in the main to the judges who are commissioned to administer the law and who have adopted these rules. If not by the present judges, by their predecessors.
I desire to speak more especially on remedial laws, such as I hope will strike from the machinery of the Court the shackles of precedent and procedure, so that the Courts may more expeditiously administer the law.
But before I leave this subject, let me say that I would not adopt any rule either of procedure or practice, that would deny a trial of a case upon its merits, and in this connection I would have the lower courts modify their rule requiring all motions for new trials to be made within certain days and would modify the rule of the Supreme Court which cuts off and permits of no assignment of error outside of that assigned upon the motion for new trial in the lower courts.
Cases in the lower courts are not tried with the same amount of deliberation and care as are cases in the higher courts. Especially in the Circuit Court, where the evidence is
heard in open court and often the motion for new trial made while preparing some other case for trial.
But what would remedy this most would be to modify the statute so that the Circuit judges will be relieved of charging about anything except the law of the particular case under consideration, let their charge be confined alone to a statement of the theories of the respective parties, and the law applicable to each theory.
Under our present practice, or procedure, or statute, if it may be, a Circuit judge starts out charging about the law of evidence, manner of weighing evidence, all of the law that might be applicable to any case for damages, trespass, or whatever might be under consideration, and when through, usually the jury has very little idea of what they are expected to do, looking for their information to the Court's charge; but if we would do away with all this preliminary and general statement of propositions of law upon every phase or possible theory that might arise in the trial of a case for tort, trespass or whatever might be under consideration, and confine the judges to a brief and concise statement of the theories of the respective side, and only the law applicable to the facts of the case on trial, with directions as to what the jury should do and what their verdict should be in the event they found for one or the other theories, the practice in the Circuit Court would be very greatly simplified.
When some simple practice is adopted that will allow the Court to state to the jury just what the issues are and the law applicable to those issues, there will be no necessity or reason for a reversal of the case in the Appellate Court for any error in the charge of the Trial Court, and the juries will better understand the issues they are to decide and the law applicable to those issues, with the result that the verdicts of juries will be much more satisfactory.
Another matter of practice I would remedy. I would not allow motion for peremptory instructions except after the jury had returned its verdict, then if the Court was of the opinion, upon the facts proven and as a matter of law, that plaintiff was not entitled to a recovery, he should disregard the verdict of the jury and direct a verdict for the defendant; but if the