Appellant, having been for a time confined in an asylum as an
insane person after due proceedings in a state probate court, took
no appeal or other proceedings in the state courts, but, long after
Page 245 U. S. 511
filed this bill against the owner and officials of the asylum,
the present and former judges and registers of the probate court,
and others to regain certain documents and set aside the
that no construction or application of
the Constitution was involved, and hence this Court lacked
jurisdiction of a direct appeal from the district court.
The case is stated in the opinion.
MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Having heard the cause upon bill, answer, and replication, the
district court dismissed the bill. In support of this direct
appeal, it is said that the construction or application of the
federal Constitution is involved. Judicial Code, § 238.
The defendants are the corporation which owns and operates Oak
Grove asylum in Genesee County, Michigan, the medical director and
chief guard of that institution, the present and a former judge,
and also the present and a former register of the Probate Court of
Genesee County; two examining physicians who upon an inquest held
before that court certified complainant's insanity, and the
attorney who represented the petitioner therein.
The bill is a nebulous recital of grievances against defendants
and many others, all alleged to have been wicked conspirators
seeking to deprive appellant of his liberty and money. It appears
that the appellant, a citizen of Indiana, having effected his
escape from an
Page 245 U. S. 512
insane asylum in Wisconsin, was taken by his family and friends
to Oak Grove for medical care and treatment in May, 1906, and that,
directly thereafter, a petition asking an inquisition concerning
his sanity was duly presented to the probate court by the
superintendent of that institution, as provided by a state statute.
After a hearing, he was adjudged insane and committed for
treatment; the right to appeal was not exercised. In October, 1906,
he escaped, and this bill was filed May 11, 1912, without prior
application for relief to any court of the state. It prays (1) that
defendants be required to give an account of and restore to
complainant all writings, letters, documents, and papers placed in
their hands in connection with the inquisition, and (2) that the
judge and register of the probate court be required to set aside
and hold for naught the pretended inquisition in insanity, and make
adequate entry accordingly on the record.
All equities of the bill are fully denied in the answer, and the
claim that the cause really involves construction or application of
the federal Constitution is without foundation.
We have no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal, and it must