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State in Interest of S.I. A Juvenile

Decided: June 23, 1961.

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF S.I. A JUVENILE, AGE 17. THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF J.G. A JUVENILE, AGE 16


Kole, J.J.D.R.C.

Kole

[68 NJSuper Page 599] J.G., age 16, has been charged with juvenile delinquency in an amended complaint alleging

that she ran across the state line in the company of S.I., age 17, without the consent of her parents and is pregnant by him. S.I., age 17, has been charged with juvenile delinquency in a complaint alleging that he abducted J., age 16, across the state line without her parents' consent and committed an act of carnal abuse against her. The complaints were filed by J.'s parents after the juveniles had been married in Elkton, Maryland.

S. waived indictment and trial by jury and requested treatment as a juvenile offender. N.J.S. 2A:4-15.

I find the following facts:

J. and S. were both residents of this State, each of them residing with their respective parents, until on or about April 14, 1961, when they ran away, without the consent of J.'s parents, to Elkton, Maryland, where they were married on April 15, 1961. Prior thereto and while residents in New Jersey, they had been seeing each other against the wishes of J.'s parents, and had engaged in sexual intercourse in this State, as a result of which J. became pregnant. In view of their ages, neither juvenile could have been legally married in New Jersey without parental consent. N.J.S.A. 37:1-6. Immediately after their marriage, they went to Pennsylvania, where they resided with relatives of S. for a short period until they found an apartment nearby. Soon thereafter, after the complaints were filed, they were returned, through the cooperation of the Pennsylvania authorities, to New Jersey and the matter came on for hearing.

S. moved to dismiss both complaints, claiming that this court has no jurisdiction over either him or J. as juvenile delinquents because of their marriage, relying on In re Olcott , 141 N.J. Eq. 8 (Ch. 1947).

I have concluded that the court does have jurisdiction over both these juveniles despite the fact that they may be validly married under the laws of Maryland.

In re Olcott, supra , held merely that the juvenile court was without jurisdiction to hear a juvenile delinquency complaint which (1) charged incorrigibility against a 16-year-old

girl, a New Jersey resident, who ran away to New York and married a New York resident without her parents' consent, and (2) was filed by her parents after her marriage and while she was in New Jersey for only a few hours on a temporary errand. Her marriage to the New York resident, the court held, emancipated her from the authority of her parents, and made her as much a New York domiciliary when brought before the juvenile court as if she had always lived in that state. Incorrigibility, the court held, is a type of offense involving a course of conduct evidencing the need of the State, or its agency, the juvenile court, to intervene as parens patriae. Since the primary subjects of the State's jurisdiction of this character are children here domiciled, said the court, the New Jersey court had no jurisdiction of a child so charged who was legally domiciled in New York.

There is no need to determine whether Olcott should be followed in this case, since it is clearly distinguishable.

There may be some question, however, of the desirability of importing into the juvenile court statute the concept of a married woman's domicile and applying it to a juvenile who would be a New Jersey domiciliary but for a marriage which could not have legally taken place in New Jersey. Whether the legislative philosophy is served by removing such a juvenile from the protection, guidance and control afforded by our juvenile court act might well be subject to re-examination when the appropriate case arises. It should be noted that the statute itself contains no express provision which would exclude jurisdiction in such a case; that it defines juvenile delinquency as the commission of certain acts "by a child under 18 years of age"; that it is the age, not the marital status, of the child that determines jurisdiction; and that the State and the court are interested in ...


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