Sutfin v. People

Decision Date11 February 1880
Citation43 Mich. 37,4 N.W. 509
CourtMichigan Supreme Court

The object of the bastardy statute is to provide for the support of the child, and protect the public against its becoming a charge upon it, and is not applicable to a case where a child is begotten within but is born without the state, and the mother and child are non-residents of the state.

Certiorari to the circuit court of Van Buren county.

Mills Crane & Hilton, for plaintiff in certiorari.

Otto Kirchner, for defendant in certiorari.


This was a proceeding under the Bastardy Act, instituted on the complaint of the mother of the child. The complainant is and has been a resident of the state of Indiana; the child was born in that state, and is now there living with its mother. It is claimed that the child was begotten in the state of Michigan while the mother was here attending school. Under these facts it is claimed the defendant cannot be held under our statute.

The proceedings under this act are purely statutory; they are partly for the benefit of the complainant, and may be instituted in her name, and partly for the purpose of indemnifying the public, and may be instituted in the name of the people.

The warrant may be executed in any part of the state, and if upon the trial, the defendant is found guilty, he shall be adjudged to be the father of the child, and shall stand chargeable with the maintenance thereof, with the assistance of the mother, in such manner as the court shall order. The person so adjudged to be the father shall give bond to the superintendents of the poor of the county, with sufficient sureties, to the satisfaction of the court, to perform such order, and also to indemnify the county which might be chargeable with the maintenance of such child. The mother and superintendents, respectively, may recover from the defendant any sum of money which ought to have been paid them respectively in pursuance of such order of the court, and the superintendents are given power to compromise and arrange with the father relative to the support of such child, and thereupon to discharge him from all liability for the support of such bastard.

It seems very clear indeed from these several provisions that the support of the bastard child, and thereby to prevent its becoming a charge upon the public, is the primary object and purpose of the act. In so far as the putative father is...

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