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In re Truslowe

Decided: October 5, 1956.

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR THE COMMITMENT TO AND CONFINEMENT IN THE NEW JERSEY STATE HOSPITAL AT GREYSTONE PARK OF DOROTHY TRUSLOWE, AN ALLEGED INSANE PERSON


Mintz, J.c.c.

Mintz

Dorothy Truslowe was arrested May 28, 1956 by the Madison (Morris County) police on a "bad check" charge, arraigned before the magistrate of the municipal court, and lodged in the Morris County jail awaiting grand jury action. The following day the warden of the Morris County jail made application for her transfer to and confinement in the New Jersey State Hospital at Greystone Park. The application was supported by the physician's certificates required pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-29, where insanity is involved.

An order instituting inquiry was duly entered, and proofs taken before the county adjuster as to the insanity, indigency and legal settlement of said Dorothy Truslowe. In accordance with the findings of the county adjuster this court on June 27, 1956 entered a final order of commitment wherein it was determined that said Dorothy Truslowe be confined in said State Hospital, that she has a legal settlement in Bergen County, and that her care and maintenance while a patient in said institution be chargeable to her father Edward T. Truslowe, at the prevailing non-indigent rate.

Mr. Edward Truslowe now applies to this court for an order modifying the final order of commitment so as to relieve him from the financial responsibility for the care and maintenance of his daughter at the institution, contending

it should be imposed on the County of Bergen. He does not challenge the finding of insanity, legal settlement, or deny his financial ability to make such payment. He urges that these proceedings were initially instituted under N.J.S.A. 30:4-82, and that it is the clear intent of this statute that responsibility for care and maintenance in the instant case should be borne by the county of legal settlement, and that if there is no legal settlement, it should be borne by the State. His daughter has a legal settlement in Bergen County, and therefore he contends that her care and maintenance while a patient at the State Hospital is the responsibility and obligation of that county, and not his. He further argues that by the provisions of N.J.S.A. 30:4-25 it was the clear intent of the Legislature to provide a separate and different procedure with respect to a patient transferred from a correctional institution to an institution for treatment, and this section in the statute characterizes such a commitment as "Class E" and expressly states that "In all such cases the procedure shall be governed by the provisions of section 30:4-82 of this title." A reading of the cited sections in the statute to the exclusion of all the other related provisions would tend to support such contention. Such a limited consideration is, however, contrary to established rules of statutory construction.

The proper rule of statutory construction is expressed in the case of In re Huyler , 133 N.J.L. 171 (Sup. Ct. 1945), where the court concerned itself with the same Title 30. The court there said:

"It is a primary canon of construction that the provisions of statutes in pari materia shall be reconciled and harmonized, if possible, into a consistent, homogeneous whole. Crater v. County of Somerset , 123 N.J.L. 407; Broderick v. Abrams , 116 N.J.L. 40. This rule is in aid of the discovery of the legislative intent, and its application is circumscribed accordingly. The effectuation of the legislative will is the end to be served in the exposition of statutes; and this of necessity calls for an accommodation of apparent conflicts to advance the essential statutory policy, giving to each clause a meaning not in opposition to the related provisions, if that is reasonably consonant with the terms employed to voice the legislative design. The literal import of the terms ofttimes gives

way to the outstanding legislative purpose, considering the particular statute in relation to statutes in pari materia. * * *"

In order to ascertain the legislative intent and purpose it is necessary not only to analyze N.J.S.A. 30:4-82 and N.J.S.A. 30:4-25, but also to examine the related provisions in N.J.S.A. 30:4 pertaining to maintenance of patients in state institutions.

N.J.S.A. 30:4-25 expressly refers to N.J.S.A. 30:4-82 as a procedural statute. N.J.S.A. 30:4-82 appears as a section under article 4 of chapter 4 entitled ...


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