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REPORT No. 877
TO AMEND SECTION 284 OF THE JUDICIAL CODE OF
THE UNITED STATES
JUNE 9 (calendar day, JUNE 10), 1930.-Ordered to be printed
Mr. WATERMAN, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the
[To accompany S. 4425)
The Committee on the Judiciary, having had under consideration the bill (S. 4425) to amend section 284 of the Judicial Code of the United States, reports the same favorably to the Senate and recommends that the bill do pass with the following amendment:
On page 2, line 18, strike out the words, "to continue business unfinished”, and insert in lieu thereof the words, "to finish investigations begun but not finished”.
The above amendment is recommended by this committee for the purpose of clarifying the language of the bill.
This bill was introduced at the request of the Attorney General. The need and effect of this legislation is set out in a letter dated April 25, 1930, from the Attorney General to the chairman of this committee, together with letters dated March 26, 1926, March 11, 1930, and April 14, 1930, from the United States attorney, New York City, to the Attorney General, which letters are as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D. C., April 25, 1930. Hon. GEORGE W. NORRIS, Chairman Committee on the Judiciary,
United States Senate. MY DEAR SENATOR: Inclosed herewith are copies of letters dated March 11 and April 14, 1930, from United States Attorney Charles H. Tuttle, of the southern district of New York, in which he recommends the enactment of a law to permit more than two grand juries to be in session simultaneously in the southern district of New York; also a copy of a letter from former United States Attorney Buckner, of the southern district of New York, dated March 26, 1926, making the same recommendation.
These communications convince me that the suggested amendment should be enacted.
Existing law (sec. 284 of the Judicial Code; sec 421, title 28, U. S. Code), autnorizes a second grand jury in districts having a city or borough of at least 300,000 inhabitants; but has been held in the southern district of New York not to authorize the impaneling of a third grand jury. During the Sixty-ninth Congress this department recommended an amendment of section 284 which would have authorized the summoning of additional grand juries without limit in populous districts, where the exigencies of the public service required such action. The department did not, however, press that recommendation.
I now suggest and recommend the enactment of an amendment to section 284 to authorize a third grand jury in the southern district of New York only.
I have heretofore recommended legislation to empower the district judge, upon request of the United States attorney or of the grand jury or on his own motion, to authorize any grand jury to continue to sit during the term succeeding the term at which such request is made, solely to continue business unfinished by such grand jury, but providing that no grand jury shall sit for more than three terms. At my request, you have introduced a bill (S. 1932) to amend section 284 of the Judicial Code in this respect. I still regard this as desirable legislation; but believe it well to include it in one bill with the other amendment of section 284 now recommended. I have therefore caused a bill to be drafted to amend section 284 in both of the particulars herein referred to; and inclose a copy of it herewith and request that you introduce it and endeavor to secure its passage. Respectfully,
WILLIAM D. MITCHELL,
New YORK, March 26, 1926. The ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Washington, D. C. Sir: I desire to call your attention to the present state of the law concerning the summoning of grand juries. Section 284 of the Judicial Code has been interpreted by the senior judge of this district, and by those who have preceded him in that capacity, to mean that a third grand jury can not legally be impaneled during any one term.
The business in this district has grown to such an enormous extent that it is my judgment that the power to summon a third grand jury whenever the exigencies of the public service require it should be written into the law.
An important prosecution like the Miller case requires the functioning of a grand jury over a period of several months, and the investigations incident to the Volstead Act virtually require the time of another grand jury. When this situation occurs, the orderly presentment of criminal cases other than those mentioned is impossible, and I therefore suggest that as soon as possible the department make appropriate recommendation to the legislature. Respectfully,
EMORY R. BUCKNER,
United States Attorney.
New York City, March 11, 1930. The ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Department of Justice, Washington, D. C. Sir: By section 284 of the United States Judicial Code (sec. 421, title 28, U. S. Code of Laws) we are permitted to have in the southern district of New York not more than two grand juries simultaneously in session. Experience has proven that frequently two grand juries are not sufficient for the proper and expeditious dispatch of business. Sometimes one grand jury, and on occasions both grand juries, have become tied up by some extended and urgent investigation which has blocked the presentation of other matters, causing a congestion which is particularly unfortunate in the so-called jail cases.
I would most strongly recommend that the court should be authorized in its discretion, on application of the United States attorney, to summon a third grand jury.
May I inquire whether you would be willing to recommend to Congress such an amendment? If so, I shall be happy to compile the necessary data to show the necessity therefor. Respectfully yours,
CHARLES H. TUTTLE.
NEW YORK City, April 14, 1930. The ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Department of Justice, Washington, D. C.
(Attention Hon. Charles P. Sisson.) Sir: I write in answer to your letter of the 17th ultimo, in which you request me to compile and forward to the department all available data pointing to the need for an amendment to section 284 of the Judicial Code, so as to permit more than two grand juries to be in session simultaneously in the southern district of New York.
The southern district of New York comprises 11 counties and extends north through the Hudson Valley on both sides of the Hudson River to the southerly boundary line of Rensselaer County and Albany County. In this district there are probably embraced some seven millions of people and the commercial center of the world.
The entire responsibility for the dispatch of the Federal criminal business within this district falls upon my office. Included within the criminal and prohibition divisions of my office are some 32 law assistants, each of whom has many cases pending before him; and in many of these cases it is necessary to present the evidence before the grand jury. Each of our two grand juries sits only two hours a day, the one sitting in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Many of the matters handled by the criminal division are of great length, as is usual in mail fraud and bankruptcy fraud cases. The result is that many assistants find it necessary to endure considerable delay in presenting their cases because they can not obtain the necessary time before the grand jury.
During the course of my tenure of office many large investigations have been conducted before the grand jury. This has been found necessary for two reasons. In the first place, we are not equipped as is, for example, the city of New York, with a police department. The bureau of investigation of the Department of Justice is overburdened with cases and their men can not devote an adequate period of time for the investigation of matters which frequently arise. In the second place, it has been found that many witnesses who would otherwise be tempted to falsify matters if brought before the grand jury, make complete confessions. There might be enumerated, among other investigations, the "bankruptcy investigation, the so-called stock frauds investigation, the narcotic investigation, etc. During the course of the preparation for trial of the so-called "poultry trust, a great many days were consumed before the grand jury in the presentation of evidence following which a trial was had of almost 70 defendants at one time, nearly all of whom were convicted. Mr. Todarelli has charge of grand-jury work in my office, and he informs me that there is a constant struggle on the part of assistants to engage grand-jury time; and not infrequently he has found that grand-jury time is booked by assistants three weeks in advance.
The southern district is so large that undoubtedly sufficient jurors could be found who are ready and willing to serve if a third grand jury were authorized by law and obtainable whenever the court might order. The delay in proceeding to trial because of insufficient grand juries has frequently caused miscarriages of justice.
The only possible argument that could be advanced in opposition to additional grand juries is the cost thereof. Grand juries serve approximately 20 or 21 days of a month. They are paid at the rate of $4 per day and the cost is something like $1,800 per month. This, I submit, is a comparatively small amount of money, and the speedier administration of justice that would ensue from additional grand juries would more than compensate for the expenditure involved.
This proposal has the unanimous approval of the Federal Grand Jury Association for the Southern District of New York. This association includes the leading business men of the county who have from their own personal observation experienced the delays that result from insufficient grand juries.
In many instances witnesses who have been subpænaed from distant points of the co
to appear before the grand jury have been forced to remain in the jurisdiction for days at a time awaiting an opportunity to give their evidence before the grand jury; and this has cost the Government a great deal of money because it is forced to pay their expenses while here. Respectfully yours,
CHARLES H. TUTTLE. O
2d Session 5
REPORT No. 879
RAILROAD BRIDGE ACROSS LITTLE RIVER AT MORRIS
JUNE 9 (calendar day, JUNE 10), 1930.-Ordered to be printed
Mr. Dale, from the Committee on Commerce, submitted the following
[To accompany S. 4518)
The Committee on Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (S. 4518) granting the consent of Congress to the Texarkana & Fort Smith Railway Co. to reconstruct, maintain, and operate a railroad bridge across Little River in the State of Arkansas at or near Morris Ferry, having considered the same, report favorably thereon, and recommend that the bill do pass without amendment.
The bill has the approval of the Departments of War and Agriculture, as will appear by the annexed communications, which are made a part of this report.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D. C., June 3, 1930. Hon. HIRAM W. JOHNSON, Chairman Committee on Commerce,
United States Senate. DEAR SENATOR: Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of May 23, transmitting a copy of a bill (S. 4518), with request that the committee be furnished with such suggestions touching its merits and the propriety of its passage as the department might deem appropriate.
This bill would authorize the Texarkana & Fort Smith Railway Co., its successors and assigns, to construct, maintain, and operate a railroad bridge and approaches thereto across the Little River upon the location of the present bridge near Morris Ferry, in the State of Arkansas. The bill relates to a railroad bridge, and is without objection so far as this department is concerned. Sincerely,
R. W. DUNLAP, Acting Secretary.
Washington, June 3, 1930. Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on Commerce, United States Senate.
So far as the interests committed to this department are concerned, I know of uo objection to the favorable consideration of the accompanying bill (S. 4518. 71st Cong , 2d sess.), granting the consent of Congress to the Texarkana & Fort Smith Railway Co. to reconstruct a railroad bridge across Little River in the State of Arkansas at or near Morris Ferry.
F. TRUBEE DAVISON,
Acting Secretary of War. O