Kendall v. People

Decision Date22 December 1952
Docket NumberNo. 16948,16948
Citation126 Colo. 573,252 P.2d 91
CourtColorado Supreme Court

John W. Elwell, Pueblo, for plaintiff in error.

Duke W. Dunbar, Atty. Gen., H. Lawrence Hinkley, Deputy Atty. Gen., and Frank A. Wachob, Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant in error.

HOLLAND, Justice.

Plaintiff in error was respondent in a lunacy proceeding instituted in the county court of the City and County of Denver on the 10th day of January, 1950, by which he was adjudged insane, and on January 30, 1950 was committed to the Colorado State Hospital at Pueblo.

Alleging that the county court of the City and County of Denver was without jurisdiction in the premises and that his commitment was therefore illegal and void, counsel for respondent filed a petition on May 15, 1952 in said court, seeking revocation of the commitment order; a dismissal of the lunacy proceeding; and that he be discharged from the hospital. The jurisdiction of the county court being continuous in proceedings under the lunacy statute, and any judgment or orders entered therein being open to change and modification on application of any party in interest, the filing of this petition was orderly. On hearing, the present judge of the county court denied the petition on August 7, 1952, and we are asked to review the proceedings on the ground that respondent was at all times a resident of Montezuma county, Colorado; without an established residence in the City and County of Denver; and that the report of the lunacy commission was ambiguous and contradictory.

The Attorney General, appearing on behalf of the people, defendant in error, has very commendably confessed error; by a lengthy and well-reasoned brief joined with plaintiff in error seeking a reversal of the judgment; and more particularly, is desirous of ending the practice of shifting such cases from outlying counties to the Denver and Pueblo county courts for disposition without jurisdiction, for the protection of the individual involved as well as the interests of the state.

The files in the case disclose the following factual situation:

Respondent established his residence in Montezuma county during the year 1944, when he purchased a twenty-acre tract of land therein, on which he made his home with his mother. Immediately prior to November 2, 1949, when he was about forty-one years of age, and under the delusion that he had been sent to earth to personify 'truth and light on earth,' and 'that my communications with the etherian or spiritual world are far above what is known as spiritualism,' he had written many letters to the President of the United States and to Joseph Stalin. There being no copies of such letters before us, we assume that there was a violation of the postal regulations, since the federal secret service department at Denver, Colorado, caused his arrest in Montezuma county and he was transported to Denver by the federal officials and placed in the Denver county jail about November 2, 1949. For undisclosed reasons, a federal court order was obtained on November 29, 1949, for hospitalization at the Federal Correctional Institution, near Englewood, Colorado, for observation and examination. He remained there until December 15th, when, upon his discharge, he was returned to the Denver county jail. The report of the physician at the correctional institution, which gives an historical, physical and mental background, concludes with the statement that it is obvious that respondent is a fanatic, laboring under a system of delusions, and that he is insane.

Upon receipt of this report the United States District Attorney communicated with the judge of the county court of Montezuma county requesting, in substance, permission to file lunacy proceedings in the City and County of Denver. In reply the judge of the county court of Montezuma county stated, 'We are quite willing that the examination as to the mental condition of Mr. Kendall be held in the City and County of Denver at the expense of Montezuma county.' He further stated that this has been done on other occasions in a satisfactory manner and at a saving to Montezuma county in the cost of transportation and other unnecessary expenses. Upon receipt of the this letter a letter was obtained from the attorney for the City and County of Denver requesting the clerk of the Denver county court to permit the filing of the complaint in lunacy against respondent. The complaint was filed as hereinbefore stated, in which it was alleged that respondent was 'a resident at county jail in the City and County of Denver,' and it was complained that respondent is, (1) so insane or distracted in his mind as to endanger his own person or property, or the person or property of another, or others, if allowed to go at large; (2) and is, by reason of old age, disease, weakness of mind, feebleness of mind or schizophrenia, incapable, unassisted, to properly manage and take care of himself or his property, and therefore would be likely to be deceived or imposed upon by artful or designing persons; and it was prayed that inquiry be had as provided by law. This complaint apparently is in the customary form used in such cases; covers all of the statutory disabilities and infirmities; and no doubt was designed by one complaint to cover all phases of insanity or mental incompetence.

A commission and guardian ad litem were regularly appointed upon the filing of the complaint; a hearing had; and the commission answered all three of the statutory questions in the affirmative, which presents a contradictory situation so far as respondent is concerned, namely, if the respondent is not dangerously insane, but by reason of old age and feebleness of mind is incapable, unassisted, to care for himself and his property, it is the duty of the court to allow respondent to be...

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10 cases
  • People in Interest of Clinton
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • October 17, 1988
    ...of complaint prevents Denver county court from acquiring jurisdiction where respondent was resident of Elbert County); Kendall v. People, 126 Colo. 573, 252 P.2d 91 (1952) (person arrested in Montezuma County and brought to Denver is not a Denver resident, and therefore is not a person "in ......
  • Gilford v. People, No. 99SC79.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • May 30, 2000
    ...with criminal convictions, it must be stressed that commitment proceedings are not criminal in nature. See Kendall v. People, 126 Colo. 573, 577, 252 P.2d 91, 93 (1952). Rather, they are special proceedings conducted according to statutorily defined procedures. See Sabon v. People, 142 Colo......
  • Blevins v. Cook
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • January 11, 1960
    ...53 A.2d 175; Lommason v. Washington Trust Co., 6 N.J.Super. 572, 70 A.2d 797; Shields v. Shields, D.C., 26 F.Supp. 211; Kendall v. People, 126 Colo. 573, 252 P.2d 91; Rickey v. People, 129 Colo. 174, 267 P.2d 1021; Snyder v. Superior Court, 206 Cal. 346, 274 P. 337. The reasons for so holdi......
  • People in Interest of Lynch
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • November 27, 1989
    ...the power to act. See, e.g., Iwerks v. People, 130 Colo. 86, 273 P.2d 133 (1954) (faulty service of process); Kendall v. People, 126 Colo. 573, 252 P.2d 91 (1952) (attempted exercise of jurisdiction over nonresident of In the present case, the court of appeals, relying on its decision in Pe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • Pre-trial Technical Defenses to Mental Health Certification
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 07-1988, July 1988
    • Invalid date
    ...86, 273 P.2d 133, 135 (1954); Rickey v. People, 129 Colo. 174, 267 P.2d 1021, 1024 (1954); Barber, supra, note 8; Kendall v. People, 126 Colo. 573, 252 P.2d 91, 94 (1952); Okerberg v. People, 119 Colo. 529, 205 P.2d 224, 225 (1949). 17. See generally, Schmidt, supra, note 15. 18. Clinton, s......
  • The Clinton Mental Health Case-a Civil Procedure Lesson
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 19-9, September 1990
    • Invalid date
    ...8. Clinton, supra, note 1 at 1385. 9. Lynch, supra, note 2 at 851. 10. Clinton, supra, note 1 at 1384. 11. 273 P.2d 133 (Colo. 1954). 12. 252 P.2d 91 (Colo. 1952). 13. 267 P.2d 1021 (Colo. 1954). 14. Clinton, supra, note 1 at 1385. 15. Id. at 1387. 16. See, C.R.C.P Rule 3(a). 17. Lynch, sup......
  • Clinton Redux: a Mental Health and Technical Defense Follow-up
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 22-11, November 1993
    • Invalid date
    ...16. See Dveirin, supra, note 10. 17. 236 P. 995, 77 Colo. 310 (1925). 18. 273 P.2 173 (Colo. 1954). 19. 267 P.2d 1021 (Colo. 1954). 20. 252 P.2d 91 (Colo. 1953). 21. Supra, note 7 at 1312. Column Ed.: Daniel Taubman, Colorado Court of Appeals, Denver---(303) 837-3788 This newsletter is prep......

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