Shea v. Gehan

Citation28 S.E.2d 181,70 Ga.App. 229
Decision Date01 December 1943
Docket Number30180.
PartiesSHEA v. GEHAN.
CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)

Henry G. Howard, of Augusta, for plaintiff in error.

Fred T. Allen, Vaux Owen, and Ivan F. Parrigin, all of Atlanta for defendant in error.

STEPHENS Presiding Judge.

Edward F. Shea, a nonresident of Georgia, while a patient in the United States Veterans' Bureau Hospital in Richmond County sought to be discharged therefrom. Thomas P. Gehan petitioned the court of ordinary of Richmond County to have Shea adjudged insane and incompetent and therefore subject to be committed to the veterans' hospital. At the hearing Edward F. Shea appeared by guardian ad litem in opposition to the petition and filed pleadings in which he urged that the court of ordinary of Richmond County did not have jurisdiction of the subject matter of the petition, and denied that he was subject to be committed to or restrained in the veterans' hospital. The court of ordinary after hearing evidence sustained the plea to the jurisdiction, and dismissed the petition on two grounds: first, because the evidence failed to show that Shea was a resident of Richmond County, but showed that he was a nonresident of Georgia and was also a patient in the United States Veterans' Hospital on a United States government reservation, and second, because the court of ordinary of Richmond County was without jurisdiction to commit a person to a United States hospital operated by the Veterans' Bureau on a United States reservation, although it was located within the territorial limits of Richmond County, Georgia. Thereupon the petitioner applied to the superior court for a writ of certiorari, in which he excepted to the judgment of the court of ordinary overruling and denying exceptions to the judgment dismissing the petition for want of jurisdiction. The superior court, after a hearing on May 3 1943, rendered a judgment sustaining the certiorari and remanding the case to the court of ordinary with instructions. However, on May 6, 1943, during the term that order was revoked and nullified by the court and the following judgment was rendered: "On May 3, 1943, I entered an order sustaining the certiorari in the above stated case and setting aside the judgment of the court of ordinary of Richmond County, Georgia, dated February 4, 1943. I further directed the ordinary of Richmond County, Georgia to issue a commission, as provided by Section 49-604 of the Code for the purpose of determining the sanity or insanity of Edward F. Shea, and follow the proceedings set out in that section and related sections, and that if the commission made a return finding the said Shea subject to be committed, then I directed the ordinary to commit him to the Veterans Administration Hospital at Augusta, Georgia. The aforesaid order of May 3, 1943, was not a final judgment but was of a directory nature, and not being a final judgment, a direct bill of exceptions cannot be filed thereto for the purpose of settling the legal questions raised in this proceeding, and, as the decision of such questions is of paramount importance in this case, I have, therefore, during this the March Term, 1943, of the superior court of Richmond County, Georgia, same being the term at which said order was entered, reconsidered the same, and I now revoke and set aside that order, and in lieu thereof enter the following order and judgment in said case, towit, as follows: Upon due consideration of the issues of law in this case, it is ordered and adjudged that the certiorari be sustained and that the judgment rendered in the court of ordinary, dated February 4, 1943, be reversed and set aside and a final judgment is hereby rendered in favor of Thomas P. Gehan, the plaintiff in certiorari, and against Edward F. Shea, through his guardian ad litem, the defendant in certiorari." To this judgment Edward F. Shea through his guardian ad litem excepted.

A state under its general police power to look after and protect the general welfare and safety of the people thereof generally has the power, and it is its duty, to enact laws relative to the treatment and confinement of persons who are within its territorial limits and who are found to be insane. The State does not seek simply to confine insane persons, but in a broad sense, acts as their guardian and will confine them in any asylum, both for the protection of the people at large, and for the safety and well being of the insane persons. An asylum is not a prison but a place of refuge and safety. Insanity is a disease, and under the police power, as stated, each State has the right to treat one within its borders who has the misfortune to suffer from this disease. "The state alone, as parens patriae is charged with the duty of caring for the insane within its borders, and may adopt whatever method of procedure it may desire for inquisition into their condition and the necessity for their confinement, provided the same is not in contravention of the Constitution or laws of the United States." Shapley v. Cohoon, D.C., 258 F. 752, 755; Hammon v. Hill, D.C., 228 F. 999, 1001; 32 C.J. 679; 12 C.J. 925, 1211; 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, § 598. "Generally speaking, an insane person,...

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6 cases
  • Sorrells v. Sorrells, 36634
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • January 16, 1981
    ...the probate court's jurisdiction. Coker v. Gay, 154 Ga. 337, 114 S.E. 217 (1922); Grier v. McLendon, 7 Ga. 362 (1849); Shea v. Gehan, 70 Ga.App. 229, 28 S.E.2d 181 (1943). Our holding in this case does not affect such non-residents, because they are granted no special venue rights under the......
  • Smith v. Nuckolls
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • May 18, 1961
    ...has been no legal adjudication if the facts alleged in the petition to set aside are true. (On the question of venue see, Shea v. Gehan, 70 Ga.App. 229, 28 S.E.2d 181). The court did not err in overruling the general demurrer to the petition to set Judgment affirmed. BELL and HALL, JJ., con......
  • Bailey v. State, 18254
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • September 16, 1953
    ...sanitarium for the insane is not punishment under the law, but is protection of the insane individual and of society. Shea v. Gehan, 70 Ga.App. 229, 230, 28 S.E.2d 181. Prior to the enactment of the 1952 act, juries in this State frequently were confronted with cases where a brutal homicide......
  • Anderson v. Smith, 31764.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • November 4, 1947
    ...a resident of Irwin County and not of Wilcox County where the lunacy proceedings were instituted and adjudicated. In Shea v. Gehan, 70 Ga.App. 229, 232, 28 S.E.2d 181, 183, the court laid down this principle: "Neither the Code, § 49-601, nor the act of 1929, p. 248 et seq., as amended by th......
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