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Public Criticism Of Courts

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Parent Issue
Public Domain
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How far a court ahould be exempt from public criticism by the bar or pros is often questioned, but tho teudenoy of public opiuiou is evident ly townrd greater f'roedoui ÍB thil matter ; and that, too, witli ut im pairiug the respect due the eoun or impending judicial proceedin. A caso ha just passed through tho Punusylvania courts which brings thia tact out in strong light. The editora ot' the Lancaster Intelligencer, botli of whom happen to be lawyers.publishedaiiarticlechargiugthejudges of quarter sessions in Lancaster county wilU deciding a certain case wrongfully from motives of political partisanship. They were at once ordered to show cause why they should not bo debarred for contempt of court in nuiking the publication. They declared their nadiness to uiake good the charge before a jury, bm the court adjudged them guilty of professional misbehavior and ordured their ñames stricken from the roll of attorneyn. A writ of error to review the conviction was sued out of the supreme court, belbre which the cnse was argucd by soujc of tho ablcst counsel in Pennsylvania. The court has now unanimously reserved the conviction for contempt andqrderedthecditorsrestorod co the bar. In piving the opinión of the supreme court Chief Justice Sharswood uses ibis strouK lauguage : "It Is now the riglit mul duty of a lawyer t brlng to the notice of people. who etoot tho Judges, every iustance of whnt he beliivis t. be corruption or partlsanship. No class of the community ou?ht to le allowed ircer In the expression or publtcation of opinión as to thecapaclty, linpartlalityorlnleisrity ofjnilisen Uittil members of tbe bar, To say that au atttinihy m.. ...i. iu.1 r-reoh on thl subject under llablllty to be called to account, mui to be deprived of hls professlon and livelihoml by c 1 ie very ludgo or jutirs wtaom he niay oonslder it hls duty to attack and exposé. Ik a poKltlon too monstrous to be eatartalned ;i m.. nifiit under uur present systein." This is cur'ainly jroing as far an the most zealous advocate of' tho tivudoui ol' npeeoh could raaaonkbly :isk ; but no farther, wc think, tluin wili bu appmved by the bost rurresi nt:itives of both bench and bar tfiroughout the oonnfry. It makos it, nof uieruly the privilege, but the duty of mem Imts of tlie bar to make public what tliey believe lo be official niisconduet. It would, however, be a gross and inexcusable abuse of this privilege to make Biich strictures otherwise than in rood faith, without lualice and solely for the public good.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News