State v. Williams, (No. 25799.)

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtRagland
Citation291 S.W. 481
Decision Date15 February 1927
Docket Number(No. 25799.)
PartiesSTATE ex rel. BEVAN, v. WILLIAMS, Probate Judge, et al.
291 S.W. 481
STATE ex rel. BEVAN,
v.
WILLIAMS, Probate Judge, et al.
(No. 25799.)
(Supreme Court of Missouri, in Banc.
February 15, 1927.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Macon County; Vernon L. Drain, Judge.

Proceeding in certiorari by the State, at the relation of William James Bevan, against B. R. Williams, Judge of the Probate Court of Macon County, and another, to quash the records and proceedings of the probate court. From a judgment quashing the records and proceedings, defendants appeal. Reversed.

Matthews & Jones, George N. Davis, and Waldo Edwards, all of Macon, and Elmer O. Jones, of La Plata, for appellants.

[291 S.W. 482]

Carter, Norton! & Jones, of St. Louis, Ben Franklin & Son, of Macon, and a J. Richards, of Milwaukee, Wis., for respondents.

RAGLAND, P. J.


This is an appeal from a judgment of the circuit court of Macon county, in a proceeding in certiorari, quashing the records and proceedings of the probate court of that county, wherein the relator, William J. Bevan, was adjudged to be a person of unsound mind and incapable of managing his affairs.

The purported adjudication occurred on March 1, 1921, and the appointment of a guardian of relator's person and estate on March 2. Following the adjudication of insanity and the appointment of a guardian, relator was taken to the State Hospital for the Insane at St. Joseph, where he was confined until March 19, 1923. On that date he was placed under the care of Dr. M. A. Bliss, of St. Louis, a specialist in nervous and mental diseases; on April 19, 1923, Dr. Bliss filed in the probate court "an allegation in writing, verified by oath," that relator had been restored to his right mind ; and on the day following, April 20th, the court held an inquiry as to relator's sanity, and duly found and adjudged that he had been restored.

Following the relator's discharge, the guardian, on May 1, 1923, filed in the probate court a final settlement of his accounts as such. According to the inventory and appraisement filed by the guardian, the value of the relator's estate at the time he took charge of it was approximately $35,000. The paper filed by him as and for his final settlement disclosed that $7,487.48 is all that now remains of the estate. Relator, contending that the appointment of the guardian was void on the ground that the probate court was without jurisdiction, evidently instituted this proceeding in order that it might be determined whether in his endeavor to recover his property he was bound to deal with the alleged guardian as guardian. or whether he might proceed against him as a meddler, a trespasser.

The contention that the probate court was without jurisdiction to appoint a guardian is based on these grounds: (1) The information by which the inquiry into relator's sanity was initiated was insufficient ; (2) relator was not notified of the proceeding in accordance with statutory requirements ; and (3) no judgment was rendered by the probate court, adjudging relator to be a person of unsound mind and incapable of managing his affairs.

I. The information alleged, among other things :

"That the said William James Bevan is suffering * * * with a disease or mania, * * * and that his condition is such that he is incapable, on account of said mental disability, to manage and take care of and preserve his person and estate. * * * "

It is said that the information was fatally defective because it did not allege that Bevan was (1) a "person of unsound mind" and (2) "incapable of managing his affairs." It is true that these are jurisdictional facts, and unless alleged in the information the entire proceeding was void. Section 444, R. S. 1919. But it was not necessary that their existence be averred in the precise words of the statute. In charging a statutory crime in an indictment, the language of the statute need not be followed; language of equivalent import will suffice. To say that one is suffering from a disease or mania, and that his condition, on account of said mental disability, is such that he is "incapable to manage and take care of and preserve his person and estate," is to say that he is of unsound mind and incapable of managing his affairs. The information did not charge in the alternative that Bevan was suffering from either disease or mania. "Disease" and "mania" were used as co-ordinate terms in describing his affliction. That infliction was an infliction of the mind. Mania in its usual and ordinary sense means derangement of the mind; madness ; insanity. And the information further averred that, on account of "said mental disability," Bevan was in-capable, etc. "Affairs," used in the phrase "incapable of managing his affairs," relates solely to the person and estate of the alleged incompetent, because the appointment of a guardian to care for these is the whole purpose of the proceeding. The information sufficiently averred that the relator was a person of unsound mind and incapable of managing his affairs.

II. The information above referred to was filed on February 14, 1921. Thereafter, and on the same day, the probate court issued a written order, signed by the judge under the seal of the court, directed to the sheriff of Macon county, which after reciting the filing of the information commanded the sheriff—

"to take the said William James Bevan and him safely keep until the probate court of said county shall convene to inquire into the sanity of said William James Bevan."

On the same day the sheriff made return of the order as follows:

"Served the within summons in the city of Macon, etc., on this 14th day of February, 1921, by delivering a copy of the within petition to the within named defendant, James Bevan."

The record of the probate court of the same date recites :

...

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9 practice notes
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 34073.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 8, 1936
    ...(5) The holders of the bonds of the Missouri Utilities Company are indispensable parties to this action. State ex rel. Bevan v. Williams, 291 S.W. 481, 316 Mo. 665; Chase Natl. Bank v. Norwalk, 291 U.S. 431, 78 L. Ed. 894. (6) The doctrine of equitable estoppel and laches is applicable to m......
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...R.S. 1929. (7) The holders of the bonds of the respondent company are necessary parties to this action. State ex rel. Devan v. Williams, 291 S.W. 481. (8) The Attorney-General has no right to maintain this action. State ex rel. Hequembourg v. Lawrence, 38 Mo. 535; State ex rel. Boyd v. Rose......
  • Finley v. Farrar, No. 38367.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • May 4, 1943
    ...right to and did waive the element of time between service of notice and the sanity hearing. State ex rel. Bevan v. Williams, 316 Mo. 665, 291 S.W. 481; State ex rel. v. Brasher, 201 S.W. 1150; Zorn v. Farrell, 142 S.W. (2d) 879. And Skelly v. The Maccabees, 272 S.W. 1089, l.c. 1090, is not......
  • Schuler v. Schuler, No. 29460
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 15, 1956
    ...331 Mo. 1083, 58 S.W.2d 459; Reynolds v. Maryland Casualty Co., 274 Mo. 83, 201 S.W. 1128; State ex rel. Bevan v. Williams, 316 Mo. 665, 291 S.W. 481; 31 C.J.S., Evidence, Sec. 147, p. 826; 28 Am.Jur., Insane and Other Incompetent Persons, Sec. 121, p. 751; Jones on Evidence, Fourth Edition......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 34073.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 8, 1936
    ...(5) The holders of the bonds of the Missouri Utilities Company are indispensable parties to this action. State ex rel. Bevan v. Williams, 291 S.W. 481, 316 Mo. 665; Chase Natl. Bank v. Norwalk, 291 U.S. 431, 78 L. Ed. 894. (6) The doctrine of equitable estoppel and laches is applicable to m......
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...R.S. 1929. (7) The holders of the bonds of the respondent company are necessary parties to this action. State ex rel. Devan v. Williams, 291 S.W. 481. (8) The Attorney-General has no right to maintain this action. State ex rel. Hequembourg v. Lawrence, 38 Mo. 535; State ex rel. Boyd v. Rose......
  • Finley v. Farrar, No. 38367.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • May 4, 1943
    ...right to and did waive the element of time between service of notice and the sanity hearing. State ex rel. Bevan v. Williams, 316 Mo. 665, 291 S.W. 481; State ex rel. v. Brasher, 201 S.W. 1150; Zorn v. Farrell, 142 S.W. (2d) 879. And Skelly v. The Maccabees, 272 S.W. 1089, l.c. 1090, is not......
  • Schuler v. Schuler, No. 29460
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 15, 1956
    ...331 Mo. 1083, 58 S.W.2d 459; Reynolds v. Maryland Casualty Co., 274 Mo. 83, 201 S.W. 1128; State ex rel. Bevan v. Williams, 316 Mo. 665, 291 S.W. 481; 31 C.J.S., Evidence, Sec. 147, p. 826; 28 Am.Jur., Insane and Other Incompetent Persons, Sec. 121, p. 751; Jones on Evidence, Fourth Edition......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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