Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas Page: 27 of 48
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MESSAGE OF GOVERNOR HOGG.
.The heaviest expense to the State arises from criminal prosecutions, consisting
of the fees of sheriffs, clerks, witnesses, and prosecuting officers.
The Governor has no control whatever over these matters. They are prescribed
and regulated by law. The laws in relation to them are either
lax or too liberal. At any rate, the public treasury is the subject of too
much abuse from these sources. To demonstrate this statement, your
attention is called to the following table, showing the appropriations for
witness fees, and for the fees of sheriffs, clerks, and attorneys in criminal
cases for and during the period of the past ten years:
For fees of
For witness sheriffs,
Time for which appropriation was made. fees. clerks and
From March 1, 1883, to February 28, 1885 ................. $40.240 $575,000
From March 1, 1885, to February 28, 1887 ....... .... 175.584 724,697
From March 1. 1887, to February 28,1889 .................. 237,851 999,635
From March 1, 1889, to February 28,1891......... . 202,458 700,000
From March 1, 1891, to February 28, 1893................. 225,598 823,827
From March 1, 1893, to February 28, 1895......... 250,000 850,000
By the foregoing it will be seen that the appropriation for witness fees
for the two years ending with 1885 amounted to only $40,240, and the
fees for the same period of sheriffs, clerks, and prosecuting attorneys aggregated
$575,000; while ten years later, for the two years ending February
28, 1895, the appropriations for witness fees aggregated $250,000,
and the fees of sheriffs, clerks, and attorneys $850,000. Ten years ago
it cost the State for the period of two years to prosecute the criminals
the aggregate sum of $615,240; whereas, for the past two years the appropriations
for said purposes aggregated $1,110,000. This means an
increase during that time of nearly 100 per cent.
There is something wrong in this, and it is with the Legislature alone
to remedy it. The Governor and other State officials are practically
helpless, for they can do no more nor less than obey the law, for that is
their solemn obligation under the Constitution.
To demonstrate more clearly that there is much abuse in the fee system
growing out of criminal prosecutions, your attention is called to the
following table of criminal statistics, showing the number of indictments,
-the number of trials, the number of convictions, the number of acquittals,
the number of indictments quashed, the number of cases dismissed,
exhibited by the dockets of the district courts of the State during the ten
years ending with 1893, the latest date for which complete tables are accessible:
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas, book, 1895; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5862/m1/27/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .