State v. Troutman, 5680

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtMCNAUGHTON, J.
Citation299 P. 668,50 Idaho 673
Decision Date20 May 1931
Docket Number5680
PartiesSTATE, Respondent, v. ALBERT TROUTMAN, Appellant

299 P. 668

50 Idaho 673

STATE, Respondent,
v.

ALBERT TROUTMAN, Appellant

No. 5680

Supreme Court of Idaho

May 20, 1931


CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-STERILIZATION LAW.

1. Sterilization law held not unconstitutional as contravening constitutional guaranties of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and safety, but reasonable act protective of general welfare within state's police power (Laws 1925, chap. 194, as amended by Laws 1929, chaps. 68, 285; Const., art. 1, sec. 1; Const. U.S. Amend. 14).

2. Sterilization under provisions of sterilization act held not "cruel and unusual punishment" (Laws 1925, chap. 194, as amended by Laws 1929, chaps. 68, 285; Const., art. 1, sec. 6).

[50 Idaho 674]

3. Sterilization law held to afford due process of law (Laws 1925, chap. 194, as amended by laws 1929, chaps. 68, 285).

4. As regards constitutional safeguards, proceedings under sterilization act held not criminal prosecution (Laws 1925, chap. 194, as amended by Laws 1929, chaps. 68, 285).

5. Sterilization act held not unconstitutional as attempting to delegate judicial powers to executive board, i. e., board of eugenics (Laws 1925, chap. 194, as amended by Laws 1929, chaps. 68, 285; Const., art. 2, sec. 1).

6. Sterilization act held not unconstitutional as not affording equal protection of law (Laws 1925, chap. 194, as amended by Laws 1929, chaps. 68, 285).

APPEAL from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, for Canyon County. Hon. A. O. Sutton, Judge.

Proceeding by State Board of Eugenics. From order of District Court affirming findings of State Board of Eugenics defendant appeals. Affirmed.

Affirmed.

T. A. Walters, for Appellant.

The act transcends legislative power and imposes cruel and unusual mutilation upon some citizens, while constituting the like treatment of others a crime, thereby depriving some of the equal protection of the law. Our national and state Constitutions were designed to carry protection against unusual punishment to all persons and not alone to criminals. (Smith v. Board of Examiners, 85 N.J.L. 46, 88 A. 963; Davis v. Berry, 216 F. 413; Mickle v. Hendrichs, 262 F. 687.)

Clearly the act is intended to apply to only those unfortunate individuals who are confined to state institutions, and is, therefore, class legislation and void. (Osborn v. Thomson, 103 Misc. 23, 169 N.Y.S. 638; Smith v. Board of Examiners, supra; Haynes v. Lapeer, 201 Mich. 138, 166 N.W. 938, L. R. A. 1918D, 233.)

Fred J. Babcock, Attorney General, and Z. Reed Millar, Assistant Attorney General, for Respondent.

The act is a valid exercise of the police power of the state. (Smith v. Command, Wayne County Probate Judge, 231 Mich. 409, 204 N.W. 140, 40 A. L. R. 515; Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 47 S.Ct. 584, 71 L.Ed. 1000, and same case in Va. supreme court, Buck v. Bell, 143 Va. 310, 51 A. L. R. 855, 130 S.E. 516.)

Where action in court is expressly provided for, the due process clause of the Constitution is not violated. (State v. Johnson, 50 Idaho 363, 296 P. 588; Eagleson v. Rubin, 16 Idaho 92, 100 P. 765; Speer v. Stephenson, 16 Idaho 707, 102 P. 365; Chambers v. McCollum, 47 Idaho 74, 272 P. 707; Stark v. McLaughlin, 45 Idaho 112, 261 P. 244; Buck v. Bell, supra.)

MCNAUGHTON, J. Budge, Givens and Varian, JJ., and Babcock, D. J., concur.

OPINION [299 P. 669]

[50 Idaho 675] MCNAUGHTON, J.

This proceeding was instituted by the State Board of Eugenics under chapter 194, Session Laws of 1925, as amended by chapters 68 and 285, Session Laws of 1929. The act as amended is commonly referred to as the sterilization law. The Board of Eugenics, after hearing upon the facts presented, found the appellant afflicted with congenital feeble-mindedness, and recommended sterilization by vasectomy. The matter was heard in the district court where, after full hearing, judgment was entered sustaining the board's recommendations.

The case is here on appeal challenging mainly the constitutionality of the sterilization law.

Briefly, the act as amended creates the State Board of Eugenics composed of the State Public Health Adviser, and the superintendents of the Northern Idaho Sanitarium, the State School and Colony at Nampa, the Idaho Insane Asylum, the Idaho Industrial Training School and the warden of the penitentiary. It requires that said superintendent of each of the state institutions report quarterly to the Board of Eugenics all persons who are feeble-minded, insane, epileptic, habitual criminals, moral degenerates and [50 Idaho 676] sexual perverts, who are, or in their opinion are likely to become, a menace to society.

The law requires the board to inquire into the innate traits, the mental and physical conditions, the personal records and family traits and histories of all persons so reported, and if after such examination a majority of said board are of opinion procreation by such person would produce a child having inherited tendency to feeble-mindedness, etc., or would probably become a social menace or ward of the state, and there is no probability that the condition of such person so investigated will improve, the board shall make an order embodying its conclusions and...

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4 practice notes
  • Moore's Sterilization, In re, No. 72
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • January 29, 1976
    ...not presented in this case and those cases are not pertinent to decision here. See In re Cavitt, supra; [289 N.C. 109] State v. Troutman, 50 Idaho 673, 299 P. 668 (1931); Smith v. Command, This unfortunate respondent and his mother both consented to the performance of a vasectomy. While we ......
  • Adams v. City of Pocatello, No. 9754
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • February 9, 1963
    ...A.L.R.2d 1003, 1009 (1952) and cases cited therein. Cf. Twin Falls Canal Co. v. Huff, 58 Idaho 587, 76 P.2d 923 (1938); State v. Troutman, 50 Idaho 673, 299 P. 688 (1931); Boise City Irrigation and Land Co. Stewart, 10 Idaho 38, 77 P. 25, 321 (1904); People ex rel. Rice v. Wilson Oil Co., 3......
  • Skinner v. State of Oklahoma Williamson, No. 782
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1942
    ...Neurological Association Committee for the Investigation of Sterilization, 1 Am.Journ.Med.Jur. 253 (1938). 2 And see State v. Troutman, 50 Idaho 673, 299 P. 668; Chamberlain, Eugenics in Legislatures and Courts, 15 Am.Bar Ass.Journ, 165; Castle, The Law and Human Sterilization, 53 Rep.Am.Ba......
  • Cavitt, In re, No. 36648
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • March 8, 1968
    ...salpingectomy is not a cruel and unusual punishment and in no sense is it a punishment for crime. In re Clayton, supra; State v. Troutman, 50 Idaho 673, 299 P. 668. The fact that the sterilization statute is limited to mental defectives in the Beatrice State Home, the only state institution......
4 cases
  • Moore's Sterilization, In re, No. 72
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • January 29, 1976
    ...not presented in this case and those cases are not pertinent to decision here. See In re Cavitt, supra; [289 N.C. 109] State v. Troutman, 50 Idaho 673, 299 P. 668 (1931); Smith v. Command, This unfortunate respondent and his mother both consented to the performance of a vasectomy. While we ......
  • Adams v. City of Pocatello, No. 9754
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • February 9, 1963
    ...A.L.R.2d 1003, 1009 (1952) and cases cited therein. Cf. Twin Falls Canal Co. v. Huff, 58 Idaho 587, 76 P.2d 923 (1938); State v. Troutman, 50 Idaho 673, 299 P. 688 (1931); Boise City Irrigation and Land Co. Stewart, 10 Idaho 38, 77 P. 25, 321 (1904); People ex rel. Rice v. Wilson Oil Co., 3......
  • Skinner v. State of Oklahoma Williamson, No. 782
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1942
    ...Neurological Association Committee for the Investigation of Sterilization, 1 Am.Journ.Med.Jur. 253 (1938). 2 And see State v. Troutman, 50 Idaho 673, 299 P. 668; Chamberlain, Eugenics in Legislatures and Courts, 15 Am.Bar Ass.Journ, 165; Castle, The Law and Human Sterilization, 53 Rep.Am.Ba......
  • Cavitt, In re, No. 36648
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • March 8, 1968
    ...salpingectomy is not a cruel and unusual punishment and in no sense is it a punishment for crime. In re Clayton, supra; State v. Troutman, 50 Idaho 673, 299 P. 668. The fact that the sterilization statute is limited to mental defectives in the Beatrice State Home, the only state institution......

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