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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (July 31, 1908)
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VOLUME 8, NUMBER W
OltAIlMtS W. UltVAN, lUtiJIAlll) L. MOTCAM'IC,
' 1'ulilJnlior. , Mdltor.
02i-nao Hoti(li Twolflli Strcot, v
JFntcrcd nt tlio I'oMonico nt Lincoln, Noli., ns stcoml-clnw mntto
Olio Vonr S1.0O Xhrco MoiiUih - -
(Six Motillm SO SIiikIo Copy - -
Jn ClubH of I'lyo or more?. Snmilo Copies Free.
Per Year 78 Vorolirn I'osJuko 52 Ccnta Extra.
r i This ls'a robuko as well to every criminal
-. .- ' Judge in the United States. What judge ever
sentences the convicted defendant without tak
ing into account his associates, his record,
' wlinthnr ho is an old offender and the nature
of his offense? How can a, judge conscientiously
pronounce sentence without a "personal belief
that tho party deserves punishment?"
If by a change of incorporation from Ohio
to New Jersey, or Illinois to Indiana, the Stand
ard Oil company can appear "as a virgin offend
or' why should not any habitual burgler escape
a sentence as an old offender merely by chang
ing his namo or taking an aliis?
. . Go
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THE COMMONER, Lincoln, Neb.
The Commoner will te sent
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I trom now until Election Day
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company of John S. Miller, John Barton Payne,
leading attorneys of the Standard Oil company,
and W. W. Gurley, attorney for the Chicago
Traction companies, United States Circuit Judge ,
Peter S. Grosscup arrived here today and is. stop
ping at the Waldorf.
The object of this remarkable trip of Judge
Grosscup, begun a few hours aftor he had hand
ed down tho decision overthrowing the V29,
240,000 flnq imposed on the Standard Oil com
pany by Judge Landis, is not disclosed by any
of the members of tho party.
Judge Grosscup tonight was given an op
portunity of explaining why he journeyed east
with Some of the biggest attorneys of the Stand
ard Oil so soon after he had rendered a decision
Baving millions to the Rockefeller corporation,
but he declined to give any explanation.
In response to a request for an interview
at the Waldorf, Judge Grosscup sent word that
ho could not be seen. He was then sent a copy
of the statement of President Roosevelt criticis
ing his remarkable decision.
In reply to this ho dictated a statement
which is little less than a veiled defiance of the
chief executive. Tho statement is as follows:
"There is no more reason for my taking
notice of any comment Mr. Roosevelt has made
than if it were made by a private citizen. True,
he Ib president, but that office and the office filled
by a judge of the court of appeals are entirely
separate and independent branches of the gov
ernment." Further than this Judge Grosscup declined
to discuss the cause of hiB journey east.
NOT LIKE OTHER CRIMINALS
The following is taken from a New York
For tho size of the fine the appellate opin
ion censures Judge Landis harshly, it says
that he had no right to consider the iniquities
of the parent Standard Oil company and to sav
that it "was not a virgin offender;" that ho
!a? I f1?!11 t0 nct on "tlio' judged 'personal be
lief that the party marked by-himMfor punish
ment deserves punishments 'N ar .ii .,, .
HISTORY OF THE CASE
The history of the Standard Oil case is told
by tho Chicago Record-Herald in this way:
The prosecution of the Standard Oil com
pany of Indiana on the charge of accepting re
bates from ,tho Chicago and Alton railroad has
been in the courts for almost two years. The
indictment on which the conviction was secured
was one of ten true bills returned by the fed
eral grand jury, August 29, 1906.
A violation of the Elkins law was the
specific charge set up by the government. There
were in this indictment 1,903 counts, of which
441 subsequently were stricken out by Judge
Landis. Shipments of oil from the company's
refinery at Whiting, Ind., to East St. Louis at
rates lower than those published in the Alton's
tariff sheets formed the concessions about which
the government complained.
Those shipments and the acceptance by the
oil company of the alleged rebates covered a
period of eighteen months from September,
1903, to March, 1905.
While the legal rate of shipment from
Whiting to East St. Louis was eighteen cents
for each 100 pounds of oil the defendant cor
poration, according to the testimony, paid but
six cents. It also paid seven and one-half cents
on shipments to St. Louis, while the published
tariff called for nineteen and one-half cents.
The Standard Oil company maintained,
however, that it was paying to the Alton road
tho legal rate because its shipments did not
reach the lines of the Alton until they crossed
tho state line at Chappel, 111. To substantiate
this a typewritten billing order was submitted
showing that the rate from Chicago and neigh
boring points, including Whiting, should be six
The government was able to show that the
shipments were not made from Chappel but from
Whiting and that between the two points there
existed a legal ten cent rate. Whiting was over
the state line. and therefore this rate did not
Tho trial occupied the attention of Judge
Landis for six weeks. The jury was sworn in
March 4 and the first witness was heard the
following day. More than three tons of docu
mentary evidence were submitted to the jury.
This included more than 15,000 way bills, ship
ping orders, receipts and transcripts from rec
ords and accountants' books.
Throughout the trial there were numerous
contentions over technical points, and April 13,
the issues were submitted to the jury. After
deliberating but two hours and ten minutes the
jury returned the verdict of guilty on 1,462
Judge Landis, unable to obtain satisfactory
information as to the financial status of the oil
concern, on Juno 27 subpoenaed John D. Rock
efeller and other officials of the company. He
obtained but little information from them, and
on August 3 he gave his decision, fixing the
fine at $29,240,000, the maximum penalty.
A motion that the judgment be set aside
was overruled by the court and the case went
to the United States circuit court of appeals
on a writ of error. It came to a final hearing
beforo that tribunal May 7, last.
WHAT JUDGE LANDIS SAID
Following aro extracts from Judge Landis'
opinion when he imposed the fine -upon the
Standard Oil company:
Common honesty among men ought not to
be altogether ignored in business, even in this
It is the business of the judge to adminis
ter the law as he finds it, rather than to ex
patiate upon the inadequacy of punishment au
thorized for its infraction.
This court is unable to indulge the pre
sumption that in this case the defendant (the
Standard Oil company of Now Jersey) was con-
vlcted' of its virgin 'offense. ' m
J Wo might as well lopk upon this situation
squarely. The men who thus deliberately vio
late tho law wound society more deeply than
does he who counterfeits the coin or steals let
ters froln tho mail.
It is the defendant's position that its
offense was wholly technical; that nobody has
been injured and that therefore tho punish
ment, if any, should bo a modest fine. It is
novel, indeed, for a convict defendant to urgo
the complete triumph of a dishonest course as
a reason why such course should go un
punished. When the only possible motive for a crime
is the enhancement of dividends and the only
punishment authorized is a fine, great caution
must be exercised by the court lest the fixing
of a small amount encourage the defendant to
future violations by esteeming the penalty to
be in the nature of a license.
For the law to take from one of its corpora
ate creatures, as a penalty for the commission
of a dividend-producing crime, less than one
third of the net revenues accrued during the
period of violation falls far short of the imposi
tion of an excessive fine, and surely to do this
would not be the exercise of as much real
power as is employed when a sentence is Im
posed taking from a human being one day of
Under the doctrine insisted upon -by , the
defendant, the railway company might give the
Standard Oil company a low transportation rato
and by contract obligate itself to withhold the
same rate from the very man the taking of
Tvhoso property by condemnation rendered pos
sible the construction of . the road. A more
abhorrent heresy could not be conceived.
The court is not impressed by the doleful
predictions of counsel for tho defendants as to
the hardships upon the honest shipping public
to be anticipated from tho enforcement of this
rule. The honest man who tenders a commo
dity for transportation to a railway company
will not be fraudulently misled by the company
into allowing it to haul his property for less
than the law authorizes it to collect.
The nominal defendant is the Standard Oil
company of Indiana, a million dollar corpora
tion. The Standard Oil company of New Jer- '
sey,' whose capital is $100,000,000, is the 'real ,;
A dispatch to the Denver News under date
of Birmingham, Ala.., July 16, follows:
John W. Tomlinson, member of the na
tional democratic committee, announces that vol
unteers to assist in the campaign throughout
the United States would be accepted, and asks
all speakers to advise him immediately as to
states and time desired by the orators. Said he:
"Each speaker will be a volunteer fighter,
devoting his own time and money to the cause."
Tomlinson is one of the most aggressive
Bryan leaders in the south. For twelve years
he has battled to make the democracy of Ala
bama adhere to the policies of the great com
moner. "This is no ordinary campaign," said Tom
linson today. "Bryan by his declaration on the
matter of campaign contributions has raised a
tremendous issue. The interests are financing
Taft's campaign, and if elected Taft will in a '
great measure be the creature of the interests.
Bryan depends upon the people the plain peo
ple, if you please to make the fight for him,
and if he is elected he will be the servant of
"Confronted by such a civ .n, cut issue, it.
is time for every lover of his country to take off
,t. , . '
MOSTLY REPUBLICANS ..- .
D. G. Pickett, M. D., Fredonia, N.
Y. Enclosed find money order for
$28.20 and names of men whom I desire
The Commoner sent for one year. This
is the center of Chant county, N. Y.,
where republicans abound to a greater
degree than any other place in New York
state. Fully half of this list are republi-
cans, in fact they are the ones I solicit
most. Several republicans have tpid me
that they are tired of the old party and
want- democracy tried out. I began
with the first issue of The Commoner
and wish to continue until Mr. Bryan is
-- ,J- iattU-m
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