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Brevier Legislative Reports, Volume XXI, 1883, 311 pp.
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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

TUESDAY, January 16, 1883 -10 a. m.

Mr. HUSTON made inquiry concerning the proper entry on the journal of the House of the petitions presented yesterday from 14,798 voters praying for the submission of a prohibitory amendment to the Constitution to a vote of the people at a special election, which was satisfactorily answered.

REPORTS FROM COMMITTEES

were submitted and concurred in recommending the indefinite postponement of the following described bills:

Mr Mock's [H. R. 127] to amend Section 21 of an net concerning the prosecution of criminal cases.

Mr. Mauck's [H. R. 128] to amend Section 412 of the act concerning proceedings in civil cases.

Mr. Copeland'y [H. R. 131] providing punishment for knowingly selling real estate or any interest therein, not having title for the same, shall be deemed guilty of felony.

Mr. Mesier's [H. R. 126] to amend Section 1,675 of the Revised Statutes of 1881, concerning assignees and trustees.

Mr. Frazier's [H. R. 77] to amend the justices' act.

JUSTICES' JURISDICTION.

Mr. Montgomery's [H. R. 97] to regulate and increase the jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace, being reported back with a Committee recommendation that it be indefinitely postponed.

Mr. JEWETT said: This report of the Committee was made because the Committee was unanimously of the opinion that any increase of the jurisdiction of Justifies would be unwise. My own opinion i that the jurisdiction should be curtailed rather than extended. In the first place those who are elected to the office of Justice of the Peace, while very excellent citizens, are as a rule without any considerable legal knowledge, and for that reason liable to err in judgment. These errors are harmful in proportion to the amount for which the wrong judgment Is rendered. But the strongest reason why the jurisdiction should not be increased arises from the fact that the records are so imperfectly made up and so exposed to loss or destruction.

Mr. SHOCKNEY: The people of my County are anxious to extend the jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace, under proper restrictions. They feel that if there is any claps in the State that needs relief, is the debtor class, and that this bill will lessen the costs of proceedings in civil cases can not be doubted. If It will, it is certainly in the interest of the common people of the State, and ought to be adopted.

Mr. WILSON, of Marion, said, the report of the Committee should be sustained; the jurisdiction of Justices should not be increased from $200 to $500. There are strong reasons against enlarging the present jurisdiction.

Mr. DEEM said: I am decidedly in favor of increasing the jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace, in civil cases. Such a measure would tend to give the people cheaper litigation, and at the same time expedite the collection of just claims.

Mr. MOCK thought the jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace is already too great.

Mr. SMITH, of Tippecanoe, said: Being in favor of the stability of the laws and opposed to the obliteration of the established landmarks, and not knowing the full sweep of this amendment, I feel that I ought not to support the bill.

Mr HEFFREN: I am opposed to the recommitment of this bill for several reasons, and am in favor of its indefinite postponement. I believe that Justices of the Peace have now a sufficient jurisdiction in civil cases. But one of my principal objections is that it is a bill to prevent appeals by poor men. A rich man can select his @wn Justice of the Peace, obtain a judgment against a poorman and however unjust, unless the poor man can give a bond of appeal, he is at the mercy of his creditor.

Mr. MONTGOMERY said: I do hope the members will not concur in the report of the Committee. This bill, as you are aware, proposes to give Justices of the Peace jurisdiction in civil cases to the amount of $300 in litigation, and may confess judgment o the amount of $500. In my judgment this would greatly reduce the costs of litigation, and would greatly reduce the inconveniences of attending Court, where the same might be settled in our own Townships.

Mr. WRIGHT said: There is no crying need er demand for enlarging the jurisdiction of Justices. The people of the State are not in favor of building a Court House in every Township in a County.

The report was concurred in-yeas, 58; nays, 60.

AFTERNOON SESSION.

ATTORNEYS' FEES ON NOTES.

A Committe reported back Mr. Gilman's bill [H. R. 19] declaring agreement to pay costs of collection or attorneys' fees contained in any bill of exchange, acceptances, drafts, promissory notes or other written evidence of indebtedness, illegal and void and making it the duty of the owner when suit is brought for collection to render judgment accordingly, with recommendation that the same be indefinitely postponed.

Mr. GILMAN said: My objection to the report of the Committee to postpone indefinitely is that the interest of the people, both creditor and debtor, and the attorneys themselves demand reform in the attorneys' fee law as at present administered.

Mr. WILEY said: The principle of the bill under consideration is, in my naiad, manifestly unjust, and should not become a law.

Mr. JEWETT said: If the gentlemen will move to recommit this bill to our Committee, with instructions to amend the bill so as to make all agreements to pay more than 5 per cent illegal, and that no amount shall be allowed unless the amount has been actually paid to the attorney, I will vote for his motion, and gladly assist in obtaining the proper action in Committee.

The report was not concurred in.

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On motion of Mr. GILMAN", the bill was recommitted to the Committee on Judiciary, with instructions.

NEW PROPOSITIONS.

The following bills were introduced, read the first lime, and refered to appropriate Committees, unless otherwise stated:

By Mr. HANSON [H. R. 166] to amend Section 51 of an act concerning public offenses and their punishment.

By Mr. MAUCK [H. R. 167] an act to amend Section 1,942 of an act concerning public offenses, being Section 2,101 Revised Statutes. The bill was passed to the second reading.

By Mr. HAMILTON [H. R. 168] a bill establishing County Courts, denning their power, prescribing compensation of Judges, etc. The bill was passed to the second reading.

By Mr. ROBINSON, of Jackson. [H. R. 169] to amend Section 28 of an act providing for a general system of Common Schools. The bill was passed to a second reading.

By Mr. GILLMAN [H. R. 170] an act providing for the sale of escheated estates and the disposal of the proceeds, etc. The bill passed to a second reading.

By Mr. FRAZER [H. R. 171] a bill to amend Sections 3, 4, 10, 12, being Sections 4,275, 4,276, 4,288, 4,283 of the Revised Statutes of 1881. The bill passed to a second reading.

By Mr. WILSON,of Kosciusko, [H. R. 172] an act to provide that all notes obtained by fraud or under false pretense should not be collectible.

Mr. COPELAND offered a resolution that a Special Committee be appointed to ascertain and report to this House the number of disabled Union soldiers, if any, who have been given appointments at the hands of the officers of this House.

On motion by Mr. HAM the resolution was laid on the table-yeas, 56; nays, 38.

The House adjourned till 10 a m.

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