State ex rel. Henry Schumacher v. Hausewedell

Citation102 N.W. 204,94 Minn. 177
Decision Date27 January 1905
Docket Number14,250 - (228)
CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)

Appeal by relator from an order of the district court for Wabasha county, Snow, J., discharging a writ of habeas corpus and remanding relator to the custody of defendant as sheriff of that county. Affirmed.


Bastardy Proceeding.

Proceedings under the bastardy act, prosecuted by and on the complaint of the mother, are for her benefit as well as for the protection of the public. The court in such a case may make an allowance for the support of the child and other expenses to be paid to the mother, or for her use. State v. Zeitler, 35 Minn. 238, followed.


Section 15 of the act (G.S. 1894, § 2053) does not authorize the county commissioners to settle and release the mother's interest in such a case without her consent.

Henry W. Morgan, for appellant.

George H. Hammond and Frank M. Wilson, for respondent.



This is an appeal by the relator from an order of the district court of the county of Wabasha refusing to discharge him on habeas corpus from the custody of the defendant, as sheriff.

The short facts are these: The relator was duly charged with the paternity of a bastard child on the complaint of its mother an unmarried female. Such proceedings were had upon her complaint in the district court of the county of Wabasha that a verdict of guilty was returned into court by the jury on May 23, 1904. Before judgment on the verdict was entered, and on July 11, 1904, the relator deposited with the treasurer of the county of Wabasha the sum of $200 for the use and benefit of the county; and on the same day the county commissioners of the county, purporting to act by virtue of G.S. 1894 § 2053, adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, that the sum of $200, which is deposited with the county treasurer of this county, the receipt whereof is hereby exhibited to us, is in full settlement of the case of State of Minnesota vs. Henry Schumacher, and that said Henry Schumacher is hereby discharged from the custody of the sheriff of this county, and his bondsmen are hereby discharged and released from their obligations as his bondsmen in said case.

Thereafter, and on August 6, 1904, the district court awarded judgment upon the verdict, whereby it was adjudged that the relator was the father of the child, and that he be charged with the maintenance thereof in the sum of $50 per annum, to be paid in quarterly installments to the mother of the child, until such child reaches the age of fifteen years, or until otherwise ordered by the court, and, further, that within twenty days he give bond in the sum of $750, conditioned for the performance of the judgment. The relator failed to comply with any part of the judgment, and he was on December 12, 1904, by virtue thereof, committed to the jail of the county of Wabasha, there to remain until he complies with the judgment, or is discharged therefrom as provided by law. Thereupon he sued out a writ of habeas corpus.

It is obvious from the facts stated that the relator is in custody by virtue of a final judgment of the district court; hence the only question that can be here considered is whether the court had jurisdiction to render the judgment. The court certainly had jurisdiction in the proceedings in bastardy, and rightfully exercised it -- in any event, until the board of county commissioners passed the resolution here in question. It is, however, the contention of the relator that such action of the board ousted the court of its jurisdiction, and that the judgment thereafter entered upon the verdict is a nullity. We assume, for the purposes of this decision only, that the question of the validity of this judgment may be raised by habeas corpus.

The statute (section 2053) pursuant to which it is claimed that the board acted is in these words:

The county commissioners before or after judgment in any case under this chapter may make such compromise and arrangement with the putative father of any bastard child in such county, relative to the support of such child as they deem equitable and just and thereupon may discharge such putative father from all liability for the support of such bastard.

This section undoubtedly authorizes the board to settle and compromise with the father as to his liability to the county for the support of the child. But does it authorize the board to settle and release him, without the mother's consent from liability for...

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