Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Natural and legal rights, Habeas corpus Pages: 8 (2639 words) Published: September 20, 2013
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ex rel. MICHAEL O'CONNELL v. ROBERT TURNER, Superintendent of the Reform School of the City of Chicago.



55 Ill. 280; 1870 Ill. LEXIS 355

September, 1870, Decided

OPINION:   Mr. JUSTICE THORNTON delivered the opinion of the Court:

By the order of this court, the writ of habeas corpus was issued, commanding Robert Turner, superintendent of the reform school of the city of Chicago, to show cause for the caption and detention of Daniel O'Connell.

The petition of Michael O'Connell represents, that he is the father of Daniel, a boy between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and that he is restrained of his liberty contrary to the law, without conviction of crime, and under color of the following mittimus:  


Superior Court of Cook county. Of the Sept. Term, A. D. 1870.  
The People of the State of Illinois to the Superintendent of the Reform School of the city of Chicago: Greeting:

We do hereby command you, that you take the body of Daniel O'Connell, a boy above the age of six and under the age of sixteen years, who, upon due examination by the Hon. Wm. A. Porter, one of the judges of the Superior Court of Cook county, has been found, by competent evidence, to be a proper subject for commitment in the said reform school, and whose moral welfare and the good of society require that he should be sent to said school for instruction, employment and reformation, and that you confine the said Daniel O'Connell within the said reform school, according to the statute in such cases made and provided, and for so doing, this shall be your sufficient warrant.

To the sheriff of Cook county to execute.

Witness, Augustus Jacobson, clerk of our said Superior Court, and the seal thereof, this ninth day of September, A. D. 1870.


The return is, that the boy had been detained by authority of the mittimus, which accompanied the petition, the original of which was filed with an endorsement thereon by the sheriff of its due execution, by the delivery of the "body of the prisoner to the superintendent of the reform school."

It is admitted, that the relator is the father of the boy, alleged to be restrained of his liberty, and that he is of the age stated.

The only question for determination, is the power of the legislature to pass the laws, under which this boy was arrested and confined.

The first act, in relation to this "reform school," is a part of the charter of the city of Chicago, approved February 13, 1863, and the second is entitled, "an act in reference to the reform school of the city of Chicago," approved March 5, 1867.

The first section establishes "a school for the safe keeping, education, employment and reformation of all children between the ages of six and sixteen years, who are destitute of proper parental care, and growing up in mendicancy, ignorance, idleness or vice."

Section four, of the act of 1867, provides, that "whenever any police magistrate, or justice of the peace, shall have brought before him any boy or girl, within the ages of six or sixteen years, who he has reason to believe is a vagrant, or is destitute of proper parental care, or is growing up in mendicancy, ignorance, idleness or vice," he shall cause such boy or girl to be arrested, and, together with the witnesses, taken before one of the judges of the superior or circuit court of Cook county. The judge is empowered to issue a summons, or order in writing, to the child's father, mother, guardian, or whosoever may have the care of the child, in the order named, and if there be none such, to any person, at his discretion, to appear, at a time and place mentioned, and show cause why the child should not be committed to the "reform school," and upon return of due service of the summons, an investigation shall be had. HN2The section then directs,...
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