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State of Georgia, but no case could be taken from any city court directly to the Supreme Court. Then it would be feasible and practicable to fix the limit of cases, the character of cases that go to the Supreme Court from the court of appeals in some other way than by amount. Every small felony under the bill presented by the committee can be taken from the court of appeals, to the Supreme Court. Why should they? If a man's life is involved, and the court of appeals affirms the death penalty, that case ought to go to the Supreme Court; but for stealing a hog or any other minor felony, what necessity is there that as a matter of right the defendant should have his trial in the superior court, then have his trial in the court of appeals, and after that have the right to take that case up to the Supreme Court and have the Supreme Court pass upon it. Mr. Dessau: May I ask a question ? The President: Does the gentleman yield ? Mr. Barrow: Certainly, with pleasure.
Mr. Dessau: I think if you will make a more careful reading of the bill you will observe that felony cases do not go to the court of appeals.
Mr. Barrow: That is where I think they all ought to go except capital cases. I don't think the Supreme Court, if we want to relieve it and make it what it ought to be, a court for the correction of errors of law, a court whose time shall not be absorbed in minor matters, should have to consider these cases. If we want to do this, so long as we are making constitutional law, we can elevate the position of the judges of the Supreme Court to what it ought to be. A man can take capital cases to the Supreme Court and he can take any case that the court will order by certiorari, and in any felony case which reached the importance to make it necessary for that high court to review the decision of the court below, why the Supreme Court could send
down its certiorari to the court of appeals and have it sent up there.
But there is another objection that seems to me ought to be very carefully considered before we commit ourselves to this bill.I am one of those who believe that the right of appeal to the courts of last resort ought not to be valued in money. There are many who believe, and I am one of them, that a man whose property is of the value of one thousand dollars ought to have the same right to take his case to the Supreme Court from the decision of the court of appeals as if it was ten thousand dollars. I am not speaking of it in any political sense; I am not addressing myself to the question whether it will be popular or unpopular to draw the line on a money value and say that those above may go to the Supreme Court and those below may not. I am addressing myself to the abstract proposition as to whether it is right to do it or not. Suppose it was the most popular thing to say that a little case can not be heard in the Supreme Court, still I would say that the question is whether it is right to draw the line on a money value whether it be in property or in dollars. It is not in ac-cord with anything we, in Georgia, have ever done except in justice courts and some city courts, and in them the remedy was provided by giving them the right of appeal. The provisions in this bill are objectionable on this ground as no case can be taken to the Supreme Court where the amount of money involved falls below a certain sum. I say again I do not believe that it is fair, I do not believe that it is right to say that one suit can be taken to the Supreme Court because it involves a greater amount of money, and another can not because it involves less. A man may have a case in court involving the sum of $900. He may possess little. It may involve everything he has in the world. In that case may be the deepest, most intri
cate questions which demand deep research and the highest order of learning which can only be found in the Supreme Court. It is not right to say to him, without regard to the questions involved, that he can not take that case to the Supreme Court.
I am a believer in this court provided by the committee. I think it ought to be pushed. I think it ought to have the hearty support of the Association. Some gentlemen asked me to put these views I have urged in a bill. I did so. I prepared a bill along the lines of the committee's bill, which I think are the correct lines but for the points I have noticed in these remarks. That bill I sent to Mr. Slaton. At the request of some gentlemen I had it printed and forwarded it with the suggestions I had to make, asking that they engraft upon the committee's bill a provision to have these courts to meet in Savannah, Thomasville and Albany, in the first district; Augusta, Macon, Griffin and Columbus, in the second district; Athens, Atlanta, Newnan and Rome, in the third district; these are merely suggestions as to the points; for these judges to be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for twelve years; for the Supreme Court to hear no certioraris, no appeals from justice courts, no felony cases except where the judgment of the district court of appeals had affirmed the sentence of death, and no cases in which a new trial is granted, or in which any interlocutory hearing which is not a final determination of the case is under review. But without regard to the amount, if a verdict of ten dollars was rendered by the district court of appeals and a new trial was refused, the case would have the right to go to the Supreme Court from the district court of appeals.
As I stated before, I am in favor of the committee's bill. I believe that the line the committee has taken is the right lineof an intermediate court. I think the idea of the bill is the cor
rect idea. We all know that something is necessary. All I desire to do by making these suggestions, and all that I attempted to do by drawing the bill I sent to Mr. Slaton was to give him some outline of the way in which those who thought the committee's bill might be improved thought it could be improved.. I drew the bill to show what I thought should be done, but if I had to vote in the Legislature on no bill at all or the committee's bill, I do not hesitate to say that I would take the committee's. bill, but I think it can be improved.
Mr. Dessau: Whatever views the distinguished gentleman from Savannah may entertain are entitled to serious consideration by this Association. There is no gentleman in Georgia, who, by reason of his vast experience, and his commanding influence in the State as a citizen and a jurist, is better qualified to assume positions and maintain them than the distinguished gentleman who has just taken his seat. Coming to the merits. of the bill proposed,—but before I enter into any details in reference to it, allow me to try in my humble manner to comment upon these suggestions incidentally—the suggestions offered this morning in opposition to the bill.
The first is that this court of appeals ought to be ambulatory. It should be separated from a permanent domicile at the capital and should travel around the State. That matter received very serious and earnest discussion at the hands of the committee, and it was thought that any proposition to make the court ambulatory would generate rivalry as to the places where the court should be held, and that rivalry would impede the progress of the bill through the various stages of legislation to a perfect law. Besides it was thought, in the opinion of the committee, that it would not be really practicable to have the court ambulatory. So far as the committee is concerned, however, upon that proposition, that is mere detail and would not affect in any measure the propositions upon which the bill is drafted.
Now as to the second proposition or objection, that felony cases ought not, by reason of being felonies, to proceed directly to the Supreme Court on writs of error, and that the final disposition of minor felonies, as they have been termed, shall be left not to the highest court, but only to the court of appeals. Well, Mr. President, I don't know what it is to pass sentence upon a felon, and up to this time I have fortunately escaped receiving any such sentence, but I do know this, that in the case of a man convicted of crime and sentenced to imprisonment and hard labor there should be an opportunity afforded him according to the American idea of appeals, to have a hearing before the highest court in the State where he was tried and convicted, and therefore jurisdiction was given to the Supreme Court to try felony cases. Now let me show if I can in a word that the objection made by my friend is not a real one. If felony cases, minor felony cases, are to be disposed of by the court of appeals, a provision is inevitable in the law that upon a writ of error, or a certificate by the judge of the Supreme Court, that felony case, be it a minor felony or a major felony, can travel through the trial court, the court of appeals and ultimately to the Supreme Court, so that it occurred to the committee, and I apprehend to every lawyer, to every man, that in the disposition of felony cases there ought to be some distinction between these cases and misdemeanor cases. Consequently the committee undertook to provide for the trial of felony cases by writs of error in the Supreme Court. I think the members of this Association will think that that objection is not one which ought to control the deliberate judgment of this body.
The next objection which my friend makes is that in cases