Williams v. Smith, No. 23709.

Docket NºNo. 23709.
Citation190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2
Case DateMay 11, 1921
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

190 Ind. 526
131 N.E. 2

WILLIAMS et al.
v.
SMITH.

No. 23709.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

May 11, 1921.


Appeal from Circuit Court, Clark County; James W. Fortune, Judge.

Action by Warren Wallace Smith, by Lincoln E. Lankford, his next friend, against Charles F. Williams and others. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendants appeal. Affirmed.


Ele Stansbury and Edward M. White, both of Indianapolis, for appellants.

Wilmer T. Fox, of Jeffersonville, for appellee.


TOWNSEND, J.

Appellants were enjoined from performing vasectomy on appellee, who is a prisoner in the Indiana Reformatory.

The chief physician, board of managers, and two chosen surgeons were proposing to act pursuant to the following:

“That on and after the passage of this act it shall be compulsory for each and every institution in the state, intrusted with the care of confirmed criminals, idiots, rapists and imbeciles, to appoint upon its staff, in addition to the regular institutional physician, two (2) skilled surgeons of recognized ability, whose duty it shall be, in conjunction with the chief physician of the institution, to examine the mental and physical condition of such inmates as are recommended by the institutional physician and board of managers. If, in the judgment of this committee of experts and the board of managers, procreation is inadvisable and there is no probability of improvement of the mental condition of the inmate, it shall be lawful for the surgeons to perform such operation for the prevention of procreation as shall be decided safest and most effective. But this operation shall not be performed except in cases that have been pronounced unimprovable: Provided, that in no case shall the consultation fee be more than three ($3.00) dollars to each expert, to be paid out of the funds appropriated for the maintenance of such institution.” Acts 1907, p. 377.

In Davis v. Berry et al. (D. C. S. D.) 216 Fed. 413, in passing on an Iowa statute similar to the one here in question, on page 418 the court uses this language:

“The hearing is by an administrative board or officer. There is no actual hearing. There is no evidence. The proceedings are private. The public does not know what is being done until it is done. Witnesses are not produced, or, if produced, they are not cross-examined. *** The prisoner is not advised of the proceedings until ordered to submit to the operation. *** Due process of law means that every person must have his day in court, and this is as old as Magna...

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7 practice notes
  • Moore's Sterilization, In re, No. 72
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • January 29, 1976
    ...Re Hendrickson, 12 Wash.2d 600, 123 P.2d 322 (1942), In Re Opinion of the Justices, 230 Ala. 543, 162 So. 123 (1935), Williams v. Smith, 190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2 (1921); equal protection because limited to those imprisoned or committed, Haynes v. Lapeer, Circuit Judge, 201 Mich. 138, 166 N.......
  • Skinner v. State of Oklahoma Williamson, No. 782
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1942
    ...to whether he is the probable potential parent of socially undesirable offspring. See Davis v. Berry, D.C., 216 F. 413; Williams v. Smith, 190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2. It is also suggested that the Act is penal in character and that the sterilization provided for is cruel and unusual punishmen......
  • Buck v. Bell
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • November 12, 1925
    ...given in discussing the Virginia act, we decline to follow the New Jersey case. The Indiana act was held invalid in Williams Smith, 190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2, because it denied the appellee due process of We have found no case involving similar statutes where the court has held that the Stat......
  • In re Hendrickson, 28248.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 5, 1942
    ...the defective subject notice and assure him his day in court violates this guaranty. Davis v. Berry, D.C., 216 F. 413; Williams v. Smith, 190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2; Brewer v. Valk, 204 N.C. 186, 167 S.E. 638, 87 A.L.R. 237; and, to the same effect, see an advisory opinion of the supreme cour......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Moore's Sterilization, In re, No. 72
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • January 29, 1976
    ...Re Hendrickson, 12 Wash.2d 600, 123 P.2d 322 (1942), In Re Opinion of the Justices, 230 Ala. 543, 162 So. 123 (1935), Williams v. Smith, 190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2 (1921); equal protection because limited to those imprisoned or committed, Haynes v. Lapeer, Circuit Judge, 201 Mich. 138, 166 N.......
  • Skinner v. State of Oklahoma Williamson, No. 782
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1942
    ...to whether he is the probable potential parent of socially undesirable offspring. See Davis v. Berry, D.C., 216 F. 413; Williams v. Smith, 190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2. It is also suggested that the Act is penal in character and that the sterilization provided for is cruel and unusual punishmen......
  • Buck v. Bell
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • November 12, 1925
    ...given in discussing the Virginia act, we decline to follow the New Jersey case. The Indiana act was held invalid in Williams Smith, 190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2, because it denied the appellee due process of We have found no case involving similar statutes where the court has held that the Stat......
  • In re Hendrickson, 28248.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 5, 1942
    ...the defective subject notice and assure him his day in court violates this guaranty. Davis v. Berry, D.C., 216 F. 413; Williams v. Smith, 190 Ind. 526, 131 N.E. 2; Brewer v. Valk, 204 N.C. 186, 167 S.E. 638, 87 A.L.R. 237; and, to the same effect, see an advisory opinion of the supreme cour......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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