Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/330

This page needs to be proofread.

Reviews of Books fession. The efforts resorted to to bring about a reversal, and the tactics rather shamelessly pursued to aid the client by postponements, are treated as of course no one but a lawyer could write of them. No review of this book would be com plete without some reference to the subject of capital punishment, for it was written with the purpose of illus trating the wrongfulness of this. The suspect, after his melodramatic escape from the gallows solely in consequence of an eleventh hour confession by the real culprit, does not leave the stage, but reappears in a long epilogue or "confession," which is nothing less than an earnest argument for the abolition of capital punishment. The question is to be treated as a scientific problem, with the impartiality of the openminded criminologist, so the concluding section impresses us merely as a piece of able advocacy. Undoubtedly, how ever, both the events of the story and the points of Miller's argument that it serves to illustrate tend to bring out forcibly the evil of capital punishment at least in cases where there is not direct evidence establishing the prisoner's guilt.

JONES'S STATUTE LAW MAKING Statute Law Making in the United States. By Chester Lloyd Jones, Associate Professor of Political Science in the University of Wisconsin. Boston Book Co., Boston. Pp. 308+ 19 (index). ($2.) MR. JONES wrote this short treatise on the technics of legislation pri marily with the purpose of offering an orderly presentation of the principles which should govern the drafting of bills, and it is a book which may prof itably be studied by those engaged in the actual business of legislation, which will no doubt be found of practical use in this respect, and which will encourage


the cultivation of higher standards of draftsmanship. But it deserves to be prized for something more than this. It is no merely perfunctory performance, but an intelligent criticism of the short comings of American legislative methods, and it has highly suggestive observations for the publicist and higher type of legislator. The chapter on "Defective Organization of the Legislature" con tains pregnant matter, and the situation that it reveals is surely one to arouse misgivings. Reading it, one discovers at once the chief causes of the popular distrust of legislatures and of the agi tation for the initiative and referendum as the easiest if not the best way of cir cumventing legislative inefficiency. Some of the chief evidences of the political incapacity of the American people are to be found in the attitude which our citizens have maintained toward the serious and intricate business of legislation. One can see in Mr. Jones's pages how much harm has come from the steady underrating of the personal element in law-making. The incompetence of the American state legislature is the result of the failure to apply sensible remedies for legislative inefficiency; of the feeling that changes in the fundamental law can be relied on to cure evils that nothing short of the full assumption of civic responsi bility can overcome. Where legislators have shown themselves inefficient, the people instead of filling their places with competent representatives have so burdened the inefficient legislative body with constitutional prohibitions and restrictions that it has become practically no more than an agency of delegated powers like the government of a city. Unreasoning fear of a re sponsible law-making power has not only cut down the scope of legislative action, but has also led to constitutional