Terry v. Byers

Decision Date30 October 1903
Docket Number20,107
Citation68 N.E. 596,161 Ind. 360
PartiesTerry v. Byers et al
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

From Clark Circuit Court; J. K. Marsh, Judge.

Habeas corpus by Charles Terry against Joseph P. Byers and others. From a judgment denying the writ, plaintiff appeals.

Affirmed.

H. R Robbins, W. C. Pentecost and J. M. Fuller, for appellant.

C. W Miller, Attorney-General, C. C. Hadley, W. C. Geake, L. G Rothschild and M. Z. Stannard, for appellees.

OPINION

Dowling, J.

The appellant filed his verified petition in the Clark Circuit Court for a writ of habeas corpus, charging that he was restrained of his liberty at the Indiana Reformatory by Joseph P. Byers, Albert J. Warner, John G. Williams, Doctor J. Terhune, John S. McDonald, Charles E. Shively, Charles B. Bibelin, and James W. Comfort, who constituted the board of control of such reformatory. The cause of his restraint was alleged to be a certified copy of a judgment of conviction of the petitioner of the crime of larceny, rendered January 19, 1901, by the Allen Circuit Court in this State, and fixing his punishment at confinement in said reformatory for an indeterminate period of from one to fourteen years. The illegality of such restraint, it was averred, resulted from the fact that, since his commitment to said institution, the petitioner had faithfully observed the rules and requirements thereof, and thereby became entitled to his discharge therefrom January 19, 1902; but that the board of managers of the reformatory had falsely charged him with various infractions of the discipline of the institution, and, without giving him a hearing, had adjudged him guilty, degraded him in standing, and prolonged his term of imprisonment; and that he had already served as a convict for more than two years. The petition further stated that he had been subjected to cruel and inhuman punishments in the reformatory upon false accusations of misconduct; that he had been denied credits of time gained by good behavior, to which he was entitled; that the defendants and officers of the reformatory had neglected to furnish him the educational training required by the statute; that he believed he was being kept in the reformatory because he was skilful and obedient, and not for disobedience to any law. A copy of the rules of the reformatory was attached to the petition as an exhibit. A writ was issued, and the appellees produced the said Terry before the court according to the exigency of the writ. The appellees moved to quash the writ for the reasons following: "(1) Because the application and complaint upon which said writ of habeas corpus was issued do not state facts sufficient to authorize the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. (2) Because it appears from the averments of the application and complaint on which said writ of habeas corpus was issued that Charles Terry, the person named in said application and writ, was detained in the Indiana Reformatory at the time said writ was applied for and issued, under a judgment of the Allen Circuit Court of the State of Indiana. (3) Because it appears from the averments of said application and complaint that the above-entitled proceeding is a collateral attack on the judgment of the Allen Circuit Court of the State of Indiana, under and by virtue of which Charles Terry was and is committed to the Indiana Reformatory, of which institution these defendants are the board of control." The motion to quash the writ was sustained and the appellant remanded to the custody of the appellees. This ruling is assigned for error.

The points made by counsel for appellant are: (1) That by faithful observance of the rules of the reformatory an inmate thereof becomes entitled to discharge at the expiration of the minimum term of punishment for the crime of which he was adjudged guilty; (2) that the rules adopted by the board of control for the government of the inmates of the institution are unreasonable, and not authorized by law; (3) or that, if authorized, the statute so authorizing them is unconstitutional and void.

1. Section 8 of the act of 1897 (Acts 1897, p. 69, § 1906b Burns 1901) provides that a defendant over the age of sixteen years and less than thirty years, found guilty of any crime except treason or murder in the first or second degree, shall be sentenced to...

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