Gardiner, District Attorney – Matter of

202 Public Papers of Governor Roosevelt

Opinion

State of New York
Executive Chamber
Albany, December 24, 1900

In the Matter of the Charges preferred against Asa Bird Gardiner the District Attorney of the county of New York — Opinion

The charge vitally affecting the conduct of the district attorney is that which relates to his attitude at and about election time toward the indictment of Chief of Police Devery after the latter had issued a scandalously improper and seditious order to the police force under him.

Where the conduct of the district attorney of the county of New York affects elections, this conduct becomes a matter not merely of county, but of State and National concern. Fraud or violence at the polls in New York county in a National election may concern not merely the county itself, not merely the other counties of the State, but also the other States of the Union. It is a mere truism to assert that honest elections, free from both fraud and violence, stand at the very basis of our form of republican self government. There is no use in discussing principles and issues unless it is settled that the conclusion which the majority reaches upon such principles and issues shall be honestly recorded in the election itself. There can be no possible justification for any man, and above all for any public officer, failing to do everything in his power to prevent crime against the ballot box. No more serious crime against the State, and in time of peace, no crime as serious, can be committed.

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