Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 41 of 61
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the courthouse, its judgments and its decrees. It is the one tribunal
whose sole function is to make life sacred and property secure.
It is the outgrowth of the centuries, the ripened product of civilization.
When people ignore the courthouse and defy the law, they are
blasting with the dynamite of destruction at the very foundation of
their government. Without the courthouse the weak would be made
to surrender to the strong. I am for the courthouse and against the
mob. If civilization is worth preserving on the battlefield when war
shakes her bristling bayonets, it is worth maintaining in the courthouse,
where justice, when properly supported, holds forth her delicately
balanced scales. In this deluge of lawlessness and disrespect
for governmental authority which has submerged the State, the courthouse
will prove to be the Mount Ararat upon which the ark of the
law must finally rest, to send forth the dove of peace and civilization.
The Constitution imposes upon me the duty of seeing to it that
the laws of the State are enforced. I am anxious to discharge that
obligation. In order that I may do so, legislation, constitutional or
statutory or both, should be had along the following lines:
First. A law providing that felonies may be presented and prosecuted
by filing a complaint as is now done in misdemeanor cases, thus
making it possible, as it is in many States, to prosecute without the
delay and necessity of a grand jury indictment.
Second. A short form, simplified complaint or indictment, charging
the defendant in the language of the statutes with the commission
at a certain time and place of a specified, indictable offense.
Third. Permitting complaints or indictments to be amended as to
Fourth. A law that will give the prosecution the right to discuss
and the jury to consider the fact that the defendant did not see fit,
while on trial to testify in his own behalf.
Fifth. Joint trial, at the discretion of the court, of all those jointly
Sixth. Providing that reversals on appeal shall not be had for
harmless 'technical error in no way touching the guilt or innocence of
Seventh. Repeal of the Suspended Sentence Law.
Eighth. Make it a violation of law with a penitentiary penalty
to possess liquor or malt or a still or any other device or equipment
capable of making intoxicants. Let a person who has liquor or equipment
on his person or premises be tried by the same rules of evidence
you would try a person for carrying on or about his person
Ninth. Make it a violation of law with a jail sentence for any
person to be found in a public place under the influence of an intoxicating
Tenth. A law providing for the seizure and forfeiture of animals,
automobiles, flying machines and other things of whatever character
used for the transportation of intoxicants.
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/41/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .