Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas. Page: 23 of 28
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MESSAGE OF THE GOVERNOR.
governing charges of trial courts on all questions of crime on the line presented
and advocated by message to the first session of the 22nd legislature to
which reference is here made, the codes would be quite unexceptionable.
There has never been and can never be. in sound justice and principle, any
reasonable excuse for civilized people to permit technical complications to remain
in the way of the conviction of men who are guilty of the highest crime
known to their laws. The law of murder can be so simplified that the offender
cannot escape on technicalities any more for that high crime than he could for
stealing a horse. But when the court has to charge on murder of the two degrees,
man-slaughter and justifiable or excusable homicide in nearly every
for murder, to jurors not of trained and discriminating minds who
must pass upon the varied questions arising from so many delicate features
of the law, it is not at all astonishing that so many of that class of the worst
criminals escape. A revision of the jury system so as to remove most of the
exemptions and disqualifications that now unnecessarily place a premium on
ignorant and professional jurors, would tend greatly to eradicate the existing
evil. When a person unlawfully kills another, he should be certain of a
speedy, fair, public trial before an intelligent jury without the hope of escape
by artfully dodging through a meshwork of technicalities.
It may not be inappropriate here to state that when, from a mal(udlin sentiment
or other less commendable spirit, the people of any country permit offenders
against the gaming and other misdemeanor laws, including those reggulating
the liquor traffic, to go unpunished in their open and defiant criminal
course, they must expect and be prepared to submit to the frequent shock of
their feelings of humanity by the crack of the assassin's gun. It is as necessary'to
enforce one law as another. An officer who neglects or refuses to
perform his duties in the supression of the minor offenses is none tot) good to
connive at higher crimes, or to avoid all responsibility in relation to their
prevention. Reform in the suppression of crime, like that of all other reform
movements, must begin at the bottom. A fair demonstration of this now is
in full public view, for here in the capitol city all the misdemeanor laws have
been more rigidly enforced for the past two years than in any other city in
the State; and as a consequence there have been less crimes of the graver
class committed, and less beggers and tramps roving around within its limits
during that period than in most any other citv of equal size in the South.
This example is a good one. Its emulation by all other communities will
place Texas, in a short time, above all suspicion that her people are lawless.
The practice of carrying concealed deadly weapons marks the unmanly
spirit and cowardice of those who indulge in it, or points to radical defects
in the machinery of justice. It is a fruitful source of crime, to effectually
check which the efforts of every law-abiding citizen and officer must be blend.
ed, and the laws to encourage and support them in the work should be made
in all respects adequate. Everyone who engages in the business of selling or
offering for sale any deadly weapon capable of being carried concealed on or
about the person should be required to pay a high State tax annlally, and to
enter into solvent bond conditioned that he will not sell or offer to sell or
give away any such weapon to any minor, madman or person in a state of
wrath or intoxication. The fee bill should be so amended as to materially
increase the fees of all the officers who may perform duties in the arrest and
conviction of every person for violating the law prohibiting the carrying of
deadly weapons. Intent to murder, and not the spirit of self-protection lies
in the heart of most men when they deliberately violate this law, and no
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas., book, January 12, 1893; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5861/m1/23/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .