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Newspaper Page Text
CHARGES AGAINST U. S. JUDGE DAYTON,
COURT CZAR OF WEST VIRGINIA
BY GILSON GARDNER
Washington D. C, July 1.
Should a federarndge permit his son
to try a railroad case before his court
and during the trial leave the bench
and assist the son by cross-examining
the witnesses against the road?
That is 6ne charge made against
Judge Alston G. Dayton of West Vir
ginia, in mpeaphment proceedings
before the House Judiciary Commit
tee. In an affidavit presented to the
committee it is set forth that Judge
Dayton has a son, Arthur, who re
cently graduated from law school and
immediately upon securing his li
cense to practice law was hired by
the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as
sole counsel in the district presided
over by Judge Dayton. At one time
Judge Dayton himself had been at
torney for the Br & O.
The case is cited of J. W. West vs.
the B. & 0., recently tried at Philippi,
Barbour county, W. Va., before
Judge Dayton, with son Arthur rep
resenting the company. The judge
sustained a motion to exclude the
evidence of the plaintiff and directed
a verdict for the company. Arthur
made the motion to strike out the
evidence, and father Dayton, accord
ing to this affidavit, immediately took
from his pocket a two-page opinion,
written in longhand, sustaining the
motion of his son.
During the trial of this same case,
and while the plaintiff was still in
troducing testimony, it is charged,
Judge Dayton left the bench and as
sisted his son in cross-examininer
Another interesting case is cited
from tne court records. Elizabeth
White, a widow, sued the railroad for
injuries claimed by reason of the
road's negligence in coupling cars.
Without any request by the widow's
counsel, Judge Dayton ruled, over the
counsels protest, that the road was
guilty of negligence per se, and di-.
rected a verdict. This, it is alleged,
was for the purpose of permitting his
son, Arthur, who was counsel for the
road, to take the case uj. for reversal
to the Circuit Court of Appeals. The
widow, of course, did not have money
to defend the appealed case, and it
was then easy for the railroad to
compromise the case for a small sum.
It is charged that the court records
will show that in seventy per cent of
the cases aeainst the B. & O. heard
before Judge Dayton, he has taken
the cases from the jury and directed
a verdict in favor of the road.
On one occasion, the Interstate
Commerce Commission tried to force
the B. & 0. to report on the hours
of its employes, as required by law,
but Judge Dayton declined to assist
in enforcing this law, stating, it is al- -
leged, "that he would not compel the
railroad to furnish evidence of its
own guilt," or words to that effect.
It is charged that the judge has
frequently advised litigants in his
Court to discharge their lawyers and .