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4 Brief Case 1 (1929-1930)

handle is hein.journals/briecas4 and id is 1 raw text is: The Common Pleas Court for the City
of Detroit is an innovation in the judicial
system of Michigan.
In it are consolidated the courts of the
six justices of the peace for the city of
Detroit, the justices becoming by opera-
tion of the statute creating the court,
judges of the court. Two additional
judges were appointed by the governor
and also a presiding judge to hold office
until January 1, 1930.
The procedure, in 'so far as assumpsit
and trespass on the case actions are con-
cerned, is materially different.
The procedure with reference to re-
plevin actions and assumpsit started by
attachment, is not materially changed.
The jurisdiction of the court, with refer-
ence to the amount of dollars involved,
the territory included and the persons
involved, is unchanged.
It is not a court of record, any more
than the old justices courts were.
The principal structural differences are
the unification of the court and the pre-
siding judge system.
'Obviously, when six different men oper-
ating independently of each other are not
bound to consult each other in matters of
procedure, the opportunities for differ-
ences of opinion are manifold. That was
one of the difficulties with the old justices
courts. There was little concerted action.
Different' justices had different systems
for the calling of cases, the joining of issue
and the trial of contested matters. All
the records might be differently handled.
There were six different heads to six
different courts and little uniformity of
action. Each of the six justices was so
overburdened with the enormous increase
in litigation-from 43,000 to 130,000 cases
annually in ten years with no increase in
facilities or number of judges-that they
could scarcely keep abreast of the wave
of the continuing increase of new cases,
to say nothing of finding time to devise
ways and means for simplifying methods.
It was necessary in the old justices
courts, that each justice of the peace spend
the time every morning to call the list of
cases returnable on that day, enter the
pleadings in longhand, render default
judgments, assign dates for alias and
pluries summons, and do many other
purely clerical acts, which generally occu-
pied his time until 10:30 a. m. The morn-
ing was half gone without the trial of a
single contested case. Hundreds of law-
yers and litigants had waited patiently,


not to try cases but merely to answer and
plead, or ask for the issue of new process.
The call of cases kept other hundreds of
lawyers and litigants waiting for an oppor-
tunity to be heard on the trial of con-
tested cases.

Judge Arthur E. Gordon
Six separate mob scenes were enacted
daily in the justices court rooms. All of
the hundreds of litigants came together
at the same hour, 9 a. m., and tried to jam
into the small court rooms, in an effort
to hear a justice call, their names. And
after the call and the hearing of argu-
ments on motions to dismiss, to amend,
for new trial, etc., ad nauseam, the justice
was practically exhausted, before he
reached the real business of the day, i. e.
the trial of contested cases.
No wonder, lawyers and litigants gave
up in disgust and went away, leaving their
cases to be dismissed, or perhaps tried
on appeal if the clients had enough money!
No wonder the circuit court was con-
gested by cases which might properly
have been tried in the minor courts.
The new system makes a mighty change
in this work. Suits ate instituted in the
same way, by the filing of a praecipe, set-
ting forth the form of action, the parties
and their addresses. Writs, prepared by
the lawyers as before, are signed in the
name of the new court and not by indi-
vidual justices. This is a saving of time.
(Continued on Page 5)


VOL IV                      DETROIT, MICH, OCTOBER, 1929

No. 1


Have you stood on some sultry day iir
August, when the parched earth cried to
the pitiless skies for life-giving showers,
and have you watched some tiny cloud ap-
pear on the horizon and rapidly expand until
it filled the heavens and descended upon the
fields in gratified rain? It was from such
small beginnings that the Detroit College
of Law took its origin.
Back of every human action is a definite
motive, and to become a member of the
Detroit College of Law is to express a
motive which may be defined as reaching
out toward knowledge. It was this aspira-
tion  that  inspired  the  Thracian  youth
Antisthenes, upon hearing. the fame of the
teachings of Socrates, to leave a house of
ill repute, where he was employed as a slave,
and travel 200 Grecian stadia by night, in
order that he might sit down at the feet of'
the master, and partake of the banquets of-
pure reason. The ideal of better things had'
existed in his soul, and the impediments of
distance and environment crumbled to earth
before the invincible strength of his awak-
ened purpose. So it is with you members
of the freshman class.    Your invincible,
strength has been awakened. It is prepared;
to surmount the long journey of four years
at night, and the impediments of distance
from the hom to the class rooms. If you
should falter during this journey, remember
that others have sat at the feet of the
master, and have partaken of his banquets,
and now are reaping the rewards of. his
The Detroit College of Law that welcomes
you here includes in its membership all parts
of its collegiate body from the youngest
student to the oldest professor. Nor is it
the membership alone that welcomes you.
That great body of alumni whose feet have
trod the very paths that you are now stand-
ing upon, they also welcome you.
In the name of the faculty and students,
we welcome you to the Detroit College of
Law, feeling that if this college can inspire
you, you in turn will see that its future is
This is a field of opportunities, not the
least of which is the privilege of contri-
buting to the advancement of the Collem
itself. You may here participate in many
activities which lead toward that goal, but
your largest contribution should come
from your own mental, moral and spiri-
tual growth.   Great students make an
institution of great learning.
This College has great men within its
walls and will continue to produce great
We would have you cherish the welfare
of the College to the end that its useful-
ness may increase.

By Judge Arthur E. Gordon

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