The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 17
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Grass Lease Fight and Attempted Impeachment
that this was done "after the 'Land Enclosure Act' of 1884 went
into effect, and had never been done before."
Then the House found that Goodnight and Henry Taylor, a
relative and employee, sat on the grand jury at Clarendon in
January, 1886; that several of the petit jurors were Goodnight's
employees and hence not only partial but parties to the violations;
that in fifty-six trials "involving in most cases the same issues of
law and fact" the jury remained practically unchanged; that all
trials took place in four days and "a verdict of not guilty was
returned and a judgment in full and due form entered thereon in
each case"; that the judge was tampered with in the matter of
his charge to the jury; that Nelson and others were indicted, tried,
and acquitted in one day without their knowledge, even when the
possible punishment was two years in jail; that Willis knew of
the salaries paid the sheriff and attorney-"that fact being open,
notorious and undenied in his judicial district"; that he made no
effort to suspend these unusual proceedings; that "the common
people" believed he was "influenced and controlled on the bench
by the 'cattle corporations'"; "that the proceedings .
in court were unprecedented in form, farcical in effect, and
subserved the interests of the cattlemen who were violating the
law. . .,27
On the basis of these findings the Committee brought its charges
that the Judge "was guilty of criminal neglect, oppressive in
office," and, by "reason of influence wielded over him by the afore-
said cattlemen and corporations," is now "wilfully obstructing and
preventing the State of Texas from collecting the just revenues
due. . .'s28
The record proves that all rules of evidence were manfully
slaughtered, for when Nelson's testimony was not available Hogg
merely placed upon the stand one of the House committee, who
had heard him testify a month before, and elicited from him in
detail what Nelson had said about lands, ranching and leasing.
In his general demurrer to the Senate, Willis asked for dis-
missal of the charges on constitutional grounds, citing six points
in support besides the lack of a "two-thirds vote." But when the
House proceedings were found "legal and right" he pleaded certain
"7House Journal, 1887, pp. 461-463.
'"House Journal, 1887, pp. 461-464.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935, periodical, 1935; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/m1/25/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.