Document Type



Notes on Judicial Organization and Procedure, 22 American Political Science Review 936 (1928)


The Judicial Council Movement. Woodrow Wilson wrote that no
government is better than its courts, to which ex-President Taft replied
that our judicial failure has been more outstanding than our failure in
municipal government. The task of making our courts as efficient as
possible is thus both an important and an urgent one.
Many factors have contributed to the present charges of inefficiency,
but none perhaps of greater weight than that of delay. This has been
particularly true of the larger cities, with their principal trial courts
as much as two years behind in their work. The jury system, both in its
expense and delays and in its freedom from control by the courts, has
been a frequent source of complaint. English and Canadian writers
have been telling us that their juries are generally selected in a few
minutes, and that almost never does it take more than half an hour.
Having impanelled the jury, the case is disposed of expeditiously, even
murder cases consuming but three or four days at most. In Detroit, a
murder case was called just as a judge of the Ontario High Court
arrived to hold the assize court directly across the river. The Canadian
judge tried nearly thirty contested cases, divided equally between
criminal and civil actions, sent nine persons to the penitentiary, and
adjourned court while in Detroit the jury was still incomplete.

Date of Authorship for this Version



judicial council, courts, delay