In re Idleman's Commitment

Citation146 Or. 13,27 P.2d 305
Decision Date28 November 1933
CourtSupreme Court of Oregon

Department 1.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Multnomah County; George Tazwell, Judge.

In the matter of the commitment of Mrs. C. M. Idleman, an insane person. From an order of the probate department of the circuit court requiring C. M. Idleman, as husband of Margaret Idleman, an inmate of the Oregon State Hospital for the Insane, to pay to the State of Oregon $20 a month during the time she remains in such hospital, the husband, opposed by the State, appeals.


C. M. Idleman and H. S. McCutchan, both of Portland (McDannell Brown, of Portland, on the brief), for appellant.

Charles S. Cohn, Deputy Dist. Atty., of Portland (Lotus L. Langley Dist. Atty., of Portland, on the brief), for the State.

ROSSMAN Justice.

The sole issue presented by this appeal is the validity of 1931 Session Laws, c. 187, p. 296, the title of which is "Requiring payment by the estate and/or relatives, who are financially able to do so, for the care and maintenance of insane and feeble-minded persons committed to state institutions and requiring counties to pay for maintenance in certain cases; to be administered by the state board of control, and providing an appropriation ; therefor." Section 1 of the act provides that if any person committed to a state institution for the insane or the feeble-minded "or a close relative of such person, shall be possessed of an estate or income sufficient to meet the expenses of his or her care and maintenance, without depriving of necessary support those, if any, dependent upon such person or relative, then the guardian or responsible relative of such person shall be required to reimburse the state of Oregon for the cost and expense of the care, board, lodging and clothing of such person during his or her stay in such state institution." Section 2 provides that the relatives shall be liable "as follows: The husband for the wife, the wife for the husband, the parent or parents for his or her children, and the children for their parents according to their respective abilities to pay." Section 3 provides that as a part of the proceedings for the commitment of an insane or feeble-minded person, the county judge shall cause a citation to be served by the sheriff "citing the said person against whom proceedings for commitment for insanity or feeble-mindedness shall have been commenced and his guardian, if such person or persons is under guardianship, and husband or wife, the parents and children, if any, of such person, to appear *** and show cause why an order should not be entered adjudging that said person and/or his or her estate and/or relatives are financially able to pay for the care and maintenance of such person in a state institution. *** If such person so charged with insanity or feeble-mindedness shall not have a guardian, it shall be the duty of said court, if necessary, to appoint some competent, disinterested person, at the expense of the county, as guardian ad litem to appear for and who shall have full authority to represent such person. *** Findings of fact shall be made as to the ability to pay for such care and maintenance as above set forth and an order therein against the proper person or persons or estate so found responsible, and fixing such liability. And an appeal may be taken to the circuit court within thirty (30) days in the ordinary manner for taking appeals from orders of the county court or other court having jurisdiction of probate proceedings." The same section further provides that upon request the district attorney must present evidence "with respect to the ability of the estate of said person or his relatives to pay the cost of such care and maintenance," and that when further directed by the board of control the district attorney must "appeal such cause to the circuit court, and/or the supreme court." Section 4 provides: "Each insane or feeble-minded person, his estate or relatives, as above set forth, found to have the financial ability to pay for care and maintenance as above specified, shall pay therefor the sum of twenty dollars ($20) per month, or such portion thereof as the court may find them able to pay, during the time such insane or feeble-minded person is an inmate of a state institution. *** It hereby is made a matter of record that the maximum amount of twenty dollars ($20) herein established is less than the actual total average cost per capita for care and maintenance of inmates at the Oregon state institutions for the insane and feeble-minded. *** If, at any time, it shall be proved that the actual total average per capita monthly cost for care and maintenance *** is less than twenty dollars ($20) then, and from that date, this monthly charge wherever it appears in this act hereby is reduced to the actual amount thus determined." Section 5 provides that upon the arrival of any committed person at the hospital for the insane, the superintendent "shall determine whether or not such insane person is violently insane and dangerous to life or property." If the individual is not violently insane, and if the court has found that his estate and relatives are unable to pay for his maintenance, then the full amount charged for care and maintenance must be paid by the county from which the commitment was made. Section 6 provides that all inmates of the aforementioned institutions "and their estate and/or relatives as their respective responsibility may appear, shall, upon the taking effect of this act, be liable for the payment" of the above-mentioned charges. Section 7 provides that after the enactment of this law the board of control must forward to the county judge of each county from which any of the present inmates of the above-mentioned institutions were received a list of inmates received from his county, and the county judge shall thereupon issue, a citation "for each person on such list, the guardian, and relatives aforesaid to appear and show cause and to determine their ability to pay as provided herein. Findings of fact shall be made relative to the financial ability to pay maintenance as above set forth and an order entered therein against the proper person or persons or estate so found responsible" in a sum not exceeding $20 per month from the time that the act became effective. Continuing, this section provides: "An appeal may be taken to the circuit and /or supreme court as in cases above specified. ***" Section 8 provides that after the enactment of this law the superintendent of the state's hospitals for the insane shall send to the county commissioners of each county a list of all nonviolent inmates committed from that county, and that if their maintenance charges are not paid by their estates or relatives it must be paid by the county from which the commitment was made. Section 9 provides: "The full cost of care and maintenance for each person committed to a hospital for the insane and found to be not violently insane or dangerous to life or property, shall be paid to the state by the estate or relatives of the said person or by the county. If the court has found that the said insane person, his estate or relatives have the financial ability to pay a portion but not all" of the charge, the county must pay the balance. Section 12 provides that where relatives or the county pay the above-mentioned maintenance charge "they shall not be required to furnish clothing as provided in section 67-1710, Oregon Code 1930." Section 14 reserves to the court, which has entered the order for the payment of the maintenance charges, the power to modify it upon a change in the attendant circumstances. We shall not pause to review the remaining sections of the act, nor portions of the sections already mentioned which we have not reviewed, because we deem them immaterial to the contentions advanced by the appellant.

The first contention advanced by the appellant is that the act and its title embrace more than one subject, in violation of article 4, section 20, of the Oregon Constitution, which provides: "Every act shall embrace but one subject, and matters properly connected therewith, which subject shall be expressed in the title." In support of this contention the appellant, after pointing out that the title of the act mentions insane and feeble-minded persons committed to the state institutions provided for their care, argues that the hospitals for the insane and the institution for the feeble-minded are the subjects of this act. Although we have given careful consideration to this contention, we are wholly unable to bring ourselves into accord with it. It is our belief that the subject of this new law is its requirement that the expense of the maintenance of the inmates of the institution for the feeble-minded and the nonviolent inmates of the state hospitals for the insane shall be defrayed by the estate of the inmate, if he possesses one; if he has none, then by such of his relatives as are mentioned in the act and are able to do so, and if they cannot discharge the expense, the county from which the commitment was made must do so. The fact that the unfortunate person is in the one institution or the other is a wholly immaterial detail. The support money exacted by this law is not payable to either of the two institutions and they remain wholly untouched by this legislation. In State v. Bateman, 110 Kan. 546, 204 P. 682, a Kansas statute, substantially similar to ours, was subjected to a similar attack; but the validity of it was sustained, even though its title was not as informative as that of ours. The purpose of acts similar to the one under investigation enacted in several of the other states have been construed in the same manner in which we...

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31 cases
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    ...§ 20 the Act is complete. Repeals by implication are not prohibited by Art. IV, § 22 and § 20 is mere surplusage. In re Idleman's Commitment, 146 Or. 13, 21, 27 P.2d 305, is decisive of the The decree is reversed, and the cause will be remanded to the Circuit Court for the entry of a decree......
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    ...IV, section 22, did not apply to a labor relations act that impliedly repealed parts of an earlier act); In re Idleman's Commitment , 146 Or. 13, 21, 27 P.2d 305 (1934) (applying that principle); cf. Martin v. Gilliam County , 89 Or. 394, 173 P. 938 (1918) (holding that an act amending an e......
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    ...of a claim, and they began to flesh out what kind of case, because of its “nature,” requires a jury trial. In In re Idleman's Commitment, 146 Or. 13, 27 P.2d 305 (1933), for example, the court held that a newly created statutory proceeding to require the estate and/or relatives of “insane a......
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