Home > Journals > Michigan Law Review > MLR > Volume 38 > Issue 1 (1939)
HABEAS CORPUS - INSANE PERSONS - TORTS - CIVIL ACTION FOR OBSTRUCTION OF RIGHT TO TEST LEGALITY OF IMPRISONMENT
Claimant had been adjudged insane and committed to a state hospital by order of the court. On March 6, 1936, he signed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, placed it in an envelope addressed to his attorney and left it with an employee of the hospital to be mailed. In the past claimant had written many letters asking for assistance to men in public life, who in turn annoyed claimant's wife. The superintendent of the hospital, therefore, complying with the request of claimant's wife that all his letters be sent to her, mailed her the letter containing the petition. The wife suppressed the petition and it was not until April 2d that claimant was discharged from custody as the result of a hearing upon a writ signed by his attorney. Claimant sued the state of New York for damages resulting from the misfeasance of the superintendent of the hospital. Held, he may recover. The superintendent, in diverting the petition to claimant's wife, obstructed claimant's right to test the legality of his imprisonment. An officer of the state may not accomplish by indirection what is forbidden to the state. The presumption of continuance of insanity does not apply where there has been only an order of commitment. Since the jury's finding that claimant was sane on March 6, 1936, is supported by the evidence, the state is liable for damages caused by the delay. Hoff v. State, 279 N. Y. 490, 18 N. E. (2d) 671 (1939).
John P. Cofrin,
HABEAS CORPUS - INSANE PERSONS - TORTS - CIVIL ACTION FOR OBSTRUCTION OF RIGHT TO TEST LEGALITY OF IMPRISONMENT,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol38/iss1/18