State v. Shumaker

Decision Date05 August 1927
Docket Number25,147
Citation157 N.E. 769,200 Ind. 623
PartiesState of Indiana v. Shumaker et al
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Motion for New Trial Overruled August 18, 1927, Supplemental Opinion Filed and Rehearing Denied July 20, 1928.

Editorial Note:

This Pagination of this case accurately reflects the pagination of the original published, though it may appears out of sequence.

1. CONTEMPT---Guilt or Innocence of Accused---new Determined.---In determining whether or not the author of an article, published and circulated among the people for the alleged purpose of controlling judicial action of a court, is in contempt, the whole article must be considered. p. 638.

2. CONTEMPT---Defined---Obstructing Administration of Justice.---Any act, conduct or directing agency pertaining to pending proceedings in a court of justice intended to play on human frailty and to deflect and deter the court from the performance of its duty, and drive it into a compromise with its own unfettered judgment by placing it through the medium of knowingly false assertion, in a wrong position before the public, which has little or no opportunity to investigate the facts, constitutes an obstruction to the administration of justice and is contemptuous. p. 639.

3. COURTS---Constituent Branch of Government---All Judicial Power Vested in.---The judiciary is one of the three departments of government, and, except in a few instances, is vested with all the judicial power of the state as a constituent branch of the government itself. p. 640.

4. CONTEMPT---Courts of Superior Jurisdiction---Power to Punish---Inherent in such Courts.---Courts of superior or general jurisdiction inherently have power to punish for contempt of court, and statutes on that subject confer no additional power. p. 640.

5. CONTEMPT---Response to Charge---Denial of Intention to be Contemptuous.---To say that a statement or thing is true or that certain conditions exist which are false and susceptible of such knowledge, or to falsify language by knowingly misstating it, or by material omissions misrepresent court rulings to those relying and known to be relying upon the truthfulness of such statement, cannot be excused by denying an intention to deceive. p. 642.

6. CONTEMPT---Criticism of Courts---Statement of Rule.---Judges are not beyond fair and respectful criticism for their personal or official conduct. Honest criticism may be helpful in the due administration of the law, but a knowingly dishonest, false or libelous publication, impugning the motives, honesty and integrity of the court or of its personnel because of acts done or being done in the administration of justice is not a criticism in the sense of aiding the court to correct error, but tends to destroy the usefulness of courts. p. 643.

7. CONTEMPT---Supreme Court---Power of.---The Supreme Court has power, not only to define criminal contempts, but also to punish them. p. 644.

8. COURTS---Subservient to Constitutions and Law of Land Only---Courts are subservient to federal and state constitutional mandates and the established law of the land only. p. 651.

9. COURTS---Power and Authority---Servants of the People.---Courts cannot be the servants of the people in the sense that they must conform their decisions to meet the desires of any class or even of the majority of the people p. 651.

10. COURTS---Determination of Questions Presented---Rule Stated.---In determining a question presented for decision, a judge is not free to act in accordance with his personal wishes, desires or predilections, but he must be controlled only by a consideration of the law as applied to the facts of the particular case, regardless of whether the decision meets with the approval of any person or class of persons interested in the result. p. 651.

11. CONTEMPT---Criticism of Courts---Influencing Courts as to Pending Cases.---One who prepares and publishes criticisms of decisions in disposed-of causes and veiled threats of defeat of judges for re-election calculated to and made for the purpose of influencing court decisions improperly in known pending cases of the same class and character, is guilty of contempt. p. 652.

12. CONTEMPT---Indirect may be Criminal----Not Criminal Action---Rules of Evidence.---An original proceeding before the Supreme Court charging indirect contempt of such court may be classed as a criminal contempt, but it is not a criminal action in the sense that rules for the admission of evidence in criminal cases apply. p. 693.

13. CONTEMPT---Of Supreme Court---Depositions of Foreign Witnesses---May be Used.---Evidence in the form of depositions of witnesses residing in foreign jurisdictions is not objectionable in an original contempt proceeding in the Supreme Court. p. 693.

14. CONTEMPT---Of Supreme Court---Review of Court's Decision---Motion for New Trial.---Any party to an original indirect contempt proceeding in the Supreme Court, feeling aggrieved at such court's ruling, may have the same reviewed by a motion for a new trial. p. 697.

15. JUDGES---Election---Influenced by Promises of Candidate.---The election of a judge of the Supreme Court should not depend in any respect upon promises made, either directly or evasively, of any "advantage" through decisions desired by any person, bloc or organization. p 699.

16. JUDGES---Election---Promise to Shape Opinions---Corrupt Practices Act.---A promise of an "advantage" through decisions to any person, bloc or organization by a candidate for a judicial office in furtherance of his election is possibly within the condemnation of the Corrupt Practices Act. p. 699.

Original action in the Supreme Court in the name of the State of Indiana against Edward S. Shumaker, Jesse E. Martin and Ethan A. Miles, charging contempt of the Supreme Court. The defendants Shumaker and Martin were found guilty and the defendant Miles acquitted. Subsequently, on petition of defendant Martin, he was permitted to file an additional response to the accusation, and this was held sufficient to purge him of the contempt charged. Original judgment against Shumaker confirmed.

Original action in the Supreme Court in the name of the State of Indiana against Edward S. Shumaker, Jesse E. Martin and Ethan A. Miles, charging contempt of the Supreme Court. The defendants Shumaker and Martin were found guilty and the defendant Miles acquitted. Subsequently, on petition of defendant Martin, he was permitted to file an additional response to the accusation, and this was held sufficient to purge him of the contempt charged. Original judgment against Shumaker confirmed.

Arthur L. Gilliom, Attorney-General, William Thompson and Solon J. Carter, for the State.

Bingham & Bingham and Ethan A. Miles, for respondents.

Moses B. Lairy, Fred C. Gause, George O. Dix, Dan W. Simms, Evan B. Stotsenburg and C. C. Shirley, Amici Curiae.

Myers, J. Travis, C.J., and Willoughly, J., concur. Gemmill and Martin, JJ., dissent.

OPINION

Myers, J.

The Attorney-General of Indiana, by an amended verified information filed in this court, in substance, alleged that the respondents, Edward S. Shumaker, superintendent and directing head of an association known as the "Anti-Saloon League of Indiana," Ethan A. Miles, an attorney and counsel for the league, and Jesse E. Martin, a trustee and attorney of the league, are guilty of an indirect contempt of this court, in that, Shumaker, with whom Miles and Martin collaborated, prepared, printed, published, circulated and distributed to the clergy and members of the Woman's Christian Temperance organization throughout the state a pamphlet, in which was incorporated misleading, false and defamatory statements of and concerning the Supreme Court, its judges, and decisions in respect to violations of the liquor laws of the state, a copy of which pamphlet, including said false and defamatory statements and matters, was, by Shumaker, caused to be printed in the Indiana edition of the "American Issue" of February 6, 1926, and circulated among its readers and subscribers. The entire pamphlet, as reprinted in the "American Issue," is exhibited with the information, and purports to be an annual report of the superintendent of the Indiana Anti-Saloon League, wherein, after asserting that the Supreme Court of the United States in 1907 changed its rule theretofore existing admitting evidence obtained by an invalid search warrant in the trial of an accused person, and for so doing has been very severely criticised by a text writer, it falsely and contemptuously stated that this court has "held that a defective search warrant should operate to let a guilty person go free"; that "this court in the Callender case from Elkhart, and more particularly in the Flum case from Beech Grove in Marion County, and these reenforced by a number of later decisions, has held that no matter how guilty a person may be of violating the prohibition law, even though he might have as many as three stills in his home and be engaged in manufacturing a 'white mule' that is poisonous and deadly in its effects--should there be any mistake in the search warrant--such a person must be turned free. We think that such rulings, coupled with the splitting of judicial hairs in many cases coming before our supreme court whereby substantial justice has been defeated repeatedly, has been to a great degree responsible for the great increase in the appeals of criminal cases to our state's highest judiciary." In 1918, twenty-four criminal cases were appealed to the State Supreme Court, while in 1925 there were 212. (Our italics.)

After asserting that a majority of the court is at least liberal in its sentiments, the report states: "One of its members is said to be bitterly hostile to prohibition, and, if he had it in his power, would...

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