Messages of Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas to the thirty-seventh legislature Page: 25 of 36
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HOUSE BILL NO. 7-WITH GOVERNOR'S VETO.
March 30, 1921.
To the Secretary of State:
Message Vetoing By the authority vested in me by the ConstituAmendment
to the tion and laws of the State of Texas, I herewith
Suspended Sentence file with you House Bill No. 7, which is an amend.
ment to the Suspended Sentence Law, and which
bill is hereby disapproved and vetoed, for the following
To permit this bill to become a law is to commit myself to the
principle underlying the legislation, to which I have serious objection.
In view of the very great importance of this subject, I have
decided to ask the Special Session of the Legislature, soon to be reconvened,
to repeal outright the Suspended Sentence Law, of which
this bill is only an amendment, and in the main makes only slight
changes in the original law. I therefore conclude that it would be
unwise to further encumber the statutes with amendments to this
bill until the Legislature shall determine finally the question as to
whether or not it would be advisable to repeal the entire law.
This bill is not based fundamentally upon the condition surrounding
the defendant, but receives its probative force by reason of the
particular crime committed, and the effect of it is to extend mercy,
not to the defendant who commits the crime, but evidences leniency
toward the character of crime committed. The same defendant
may on the same day commit several crimes, some of which may be
suspended, while others cannot. The bill applies alike to the youth
who under improper influences commits his first offense, and the old,
seasoned and experienced man who has committed many crimes. It
applies alike to the quick and trained mind, and the weak and uneducated
mind. As above stated, its application depends solely upon
the particular crime committed. If there must be a suspended sentence
law, it should be based upon the age and condition of the defendant,
rather than on the crime committed.
The probability of the reformation of the defendant, as such, does
not enter into our present suspended sentence law. This amendment
to the law says that a person who steals an automobile shall
not receive the benefits of the suspended sentence, but if a person,
sin exactly the same circumstances, steals a horse or a herd of cattle,
or burglarizes a bank or illegally pockets ten thousand dollars belonging
to his employer, or forges another's name to a check, the crimiPage
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Neff, Pat M. Messages of Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas to the thirty-seventh legislature, book, 1921; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5871/m1/25/?rotate=90: accessed April 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .