Chaloner v. Sherman,
242 U.S. 455 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chaloner v. Sherman, 242 U.S. 455 (1917)

Chaloner v. Sherman

No. 121

Argued November 16, 17, 1916

Decided January 8, 1917

242 U.S. 455


Omission of the statutes of New York concerning proceedings de lunatico inquirendo (Code of Civil Procedure, 1898, §§ 2320, et seq.) to provide expressly that notice of and opportunity to be heard at the inquisition shall be afforded to the alleged incompetent held not violative of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, it appearing by the decisions of the highest court of the state that the requisite notice and opportunity are otherwise impliedly afforded under the state law.

In proceedings under the New York statutes, supra, which resulted in the appointment of a committee of plaintiff's person and estate, the plaintiff, who was committed at a private hospital at the time, was served with notice of the application to appoint a commission to inquire into his mental capacity, of the inquisition, and of the motion to confirm its finding and appoint the committee. He was physically able to attend, but did not appear, ask anyone to represent him, or seek an adjournment. At the inquisition, the commission and jury, after hearing witnesses, concluded that his attendance was unnecessary, and did not require it, there being evidence that, if enforced, it would be detrimental to his mind. Held that due process was satisfied, and that the order appointing the committee was not open to collateral attack.

Subsequently the court accepted the resignation of the committee and appointed another in his stead, without giving notice or affording opportunity to be heard to the plaintiff or the other persons interested in the original proceedings. Held not violative of due process.

Orders of a state court declaring a person found within the state incapable of managing himself and his affairs and appointing a committee of his person and his property within the state are not assailable collaterally by proof that he was and remained a citizen and resident of another state, or that he was served in the proceedings through being corruptly lured into the first state and there illegally committed to a private hospital, or that the adjudication of insanity

Page 242 U. S. 456

was made on perjured evidence while he was actually sane, or that his sanity and competency have been established by a later adjudication of a court of his domicile and have since continued.

215 F. 867 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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