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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/781

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FORMS AND FAILUBES OF THE LAW.

committees and Judge Lynch supplant the regular courts. That is the natural outcome for any locality where the lawyer, and especially the able criminal lawyer, achieves his highest successes. Lynch law dwarfs immensely the lawyer's importance, and while it is a dangerous remedy for legal evils, it is well to remember that it is best avoided by such an administration of the law as not only gives the criminal a fair chance, but in addition protects society.

It may be charged that a general feeling of hostility to criminal lawyers would make it easy for real criminals to involve the innocent in trouble. This is to be considered; but the history of judicial proceedings in recent years rarely shows that persons leading lives of probity, faithful to every duty of the good citizen, are often arraigned at the bar of justice. In general, under a free government, those charged with great crimes are guilty, and their swift conviction and punishment are demanded by every interest of society. In other cases suspicion may be due to bad habits and bad company, and when this class of people are charged with crimes they have themselves mainly to blame. What is wanted is swift punishment for real transgressors, and that our present system of criminal jurisprudence does not bring. The safeguards provided for the innocent are perverted to the use of the guilty by lawyers who foolishly imagine that their own interests will be promoted through the defeat of justice, forgetful that reactions must come when public interests are persistently disregarded.

A reform of great value to the State would be the education and training of judges at public expense, instead of taking them, as now, from among practicing lawyers. We have a National Military Academy and a National Naval School from which to obtain officers for the army and navy, though only at long intervals and in great emergencies is there any serious need of them; but the administration of justice, which is an every-day need, is left pretty much to chance. The lower courts, those presided over by justices of the peace in the rural districts, as well as the lower grade of city courts, are usually held by petty local politicians, without, generally, any pretense to legal knowledge except such as they obtain from certain printed forms prescribed for them, and whenever an important case is tried by them it is of course appealed. It should be said, however, that in spite of many drawbacks, these petty courts—in the country at least—dispose satisfactorily of a great deal of litigation without a tithe of the cost, delay, and parade of the higher courts, which are invariably presided over by lawyers sitting during regular terms, and where justice is balked at nearly every step by the various arts—impossible for a layman to catalogue—so familiar to lawyers, and with which the judges, from their education and long and close association with lawyers, very earnestly sympathize. If the United States, or each State, had a school for the education of judges in which the course of study, in addition to a knowledge of the principles of law, aimed to fit the pupils to admin-