Ex parte Soborsky

Citation199 A. 757
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Vermont
Decision Date09 June 1938
PartiesEx parte SOBORSKY.

Original petition by Raymond Soborsky for writ of habeas corpus to be released from the Vermont State Hospital for the Insane.

Petition dismissed and petitioner remanded to his former custody.

Argued before MOULTON, SHERBURNE, BUTTLES, and STURTEVANT, JJ., and JEFFORDS, Superior Judge.

John Molla, of Barre, for petitioner. Lawrence C. Jones, Atty. Gen., for respondent.

STURTEVANT, Justice.

This is an original petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The petition is brought by John Molla, Esq., a practicing attorney of this Court, in behalf of one Raymond Soborsky. Hereinafter the term "petitioner" refers to Soborsky. The petitioner alleges that he is without law or right confined at the Vermont State hospital for the insane at Waterbury, Vermont, by Dr. J. C. O'Neil, superintendent of said state hospital. The following undisputed facts appear from petitionee's return:

At the June term of Windsor county court in 1926, said Soborsky was convicted of two crimes, viz., burglary and assault with intent to kill. On the 14th of July, 1926, said court imposed sentence upon Soborsky in each of these cases. In the burglary case he was sentenced to be confined at the State prison at Windsor for the term of not less than six years or more than eight years, and in the assault case he was sentenced to be confined in said prison for a term of not less than eight years or more than ten years. These sentences were not to run concurrently. He was committed to said prison and began serving these sentences on July 14th, 1926. Soborsky remained at said prison serving said sentences until July 19, 1937, when by authority of an order of the governor, issued in accordance with the provisions of P.L. sec. 8794, and not otherwise, he was transferred from said prison and committed to said Vermont State hospital for the insane at Waterbury, into the custody of Dr. J. C. O'Neil, superintendent of said hospital. He has been confined in the so called criminal ward at said hospital. The term for which he is committed to said hospital as shown by said order is "* * * during the remainder of his said terms of imprisonment, to-wit; such time as added to the time already served by the said Raymond Soborsky will equal the terms of his original sentences."

The petitioner contends that he is unlawfully confined at said hospital for the following reasons, viz.:

1. That his confinement at said hospital is not temporary, but permanent.

2. Because the law, by authority of which said order of transfer issued, at tempts to give to the governor judicial powers and that he, as governor, cannot lawfully exercise such powers.

3. Because his transfer to said hospital was without due process of law, since he was not given notice of hearing or opportunity to be heard upon the issue of his in sanity.

As to petitioner's first objection, it is sufficient to note that from that provision of the governor's order above quoted, the term of Soborsky's commitment to said hospital is for "* * * such time as added to the time already served by the said Raymond Soborsky will equal the terms of his original sentences." Hence it appears that the term of petitioner's commitment to said hospital is not permanent as contended, so we give no' further consideration to this objection. P.L. sec. 8795 provides for the return of the petitioner to the Vermont State prison, should he become sane before the time covered by the two sentences has expired.

Consideration of petitioner's second objection, as above stated, requires an examination of the provisions of the statute in question. P.L. sec. 8794 reads as follows:

"Sec. 8794. Removal to state hospital for insane. When a person confined in the state prison, house of correction, Vermont industrial school or a county jail for a specified time or for life, becomes insane, he may be removed to the Vermont state hospital for the insane only upon the order of the governor, based upon such expert examination as to insanity as the governor directs, there to remain until the expiration of the term for which he was committed."

The above quoted statute was amended into its present form by the Legislature in 1912. Hence this statute was in full force and effect...

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