A-32928, AUGUST 16, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 73

A-32928: Aug 16, 1930

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MCCONNELL WAS ADMITTED TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL JANUARY 6. WITH A STATEMENT THAT HE WAS BEING HELD FOR VIOLATION OF THE POSTAL LAWS. HE WAS INDICTED IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO. DURING THE COURSE OF THE TRIAL IT BECAME EVIDENT THAT HIS MENTAL CONDITION WAS NOT NORMAL. MCCONNELL HAD SHOWN NO ACUTE MENTAL DISORDER DURING THE TIME HE HAD BEEN UNDER OBSERVATION OF THAT HOSPITAL AND WAS NOT IN NEED OF FURTHER CARE AND TREATMENT. MCCONNELL THAT IT WAS READY TO DISCHARGE HIM. AS HE IS WITHOUT FUNDS TO PAY HIS OWN WAY THERE. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN A LETTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR OF JULY 31ST ADVISED IT THAT: "THERE IS NO APPROPRIATION UNDER THE CONTROL OF THIS DEPARTMENT WHICH IS IN ANY WAY AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES.

A-32928, AUGUST 16, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 73

TRAVELING EXPENSES - DISCHARGED INMATES OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL WHEN AN INMATE OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, COMMITTED THERETO AS A PERSON CHARGED WITH A CRIME, THE CRIMINAL CHARGE BEING DISMISSED, RECOVERS HIS SANITY, THE EXPENSES OF RETURNING HIM TO HIS FORMER RESIDENCE MAY BE CHARGED TO THE GENERAL APPROPRIATION FOR ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AUGUST 16, 1930:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7, 1930, AS FOLLOWS:

WILLIAM A. MCCONNELL WAS ADMITTED TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL JANUARY 6, 1930, BY TRANSFER FROM THE COUNTY JAIL AT DENVER, COLO., WITH A STATEMENT THAT HE WAS BEING HELD FOR VIOLATION OF THE POSTAL LAWS. HE WAS INDICTED IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO, CHARGED WITH VIOLATION OF A FEDERAL STATUTE. DURING THE COURSE OF THE TRIAL IT BECAME EVIDENT THAT HIS MENTAL CONDITION WAS NOT NORMAL. THE JUDGE THEREUPON DIRECTED THAT HE BE EXAMINED BY AN ALIENIST, AS A RESULT OF WHICH THE COURT DIRECTED THAT HE BE TRANSPORTED TO WASHINGTON, C., AND COMMITTED IN SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT.

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 7, 1930, THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL SENT A LETTER TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF PRISONS, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, INFORMING HIM THAT WILLIAM A. MCCONNELL HAD SHOWN NO ACUTE MENTAL DISORDER DURING THE TIME HE HAD BEEN UNDER OBSERVATION OF THAT HOSPITAL AND WAS NOT IN NEED OF FURTHER CARE AND TREATMENT.

UNDER DATE OF JULY 16, 1930, MR. A. H. MCCORMICK, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF BUREAU OF PRISONS, ADVISED THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL THAT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY AT DENVER, COLO., HAD ENTERED AN ORDER DISMISSING THE CASE AGAINST MCCONNELL. THE HOSPITAL THEN NOTIFIED MR. MCCONNELL THAT IT WAS READY TO DISCHARGE HIM, AND HE ASKED FOR TRANSPORTATION TO HIS HOME IN DENVER, COLO., AS HE IS WITHOUT FUNDS TO PAY HIS OWN WAY THERE. MR. MCCONNELL COMMUNICATED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN REFERENCE TO PAYING THE EXPENSE OF HIS RETURN TO HIS HOME IN COLORADO.

THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN A LETTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR OF JULY 31ST ADVISED IT THAT:

"THERE IS NO APPROPRIATION UNDER THE CONTROL OF THIS DEPARTMENT WHICH IS IN ANY WAY AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES. IT IS, HOWEVER, NOTED THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1931 (PUBLIC NO. 217, 71ST CONGRESS), UNDER THE HEADING OF "SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL," COVERS THE SUPPORT, CLOTHING, AND TREATMENT OF ,PERSONS CHARGED WITH OR CONVICTED OF CRIMES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHO ARE INSANE.' THE FIRST PROVISO UNDER THIS HEADING AUTHORIZES THE USE OF CERTAIN MONEYS THEREIN APPROPRIATED, IN ASCERTAINING THE RESIDENCE OF INMATES WHO ARE NOT OR WHO CEASE TO BE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO FEDERAL MAINTENANCE IN THE INSTITUTION "AND IN RETURNING THEM TO SUCH PLACES OF RESIDENCE.'

"THIS DEPARTMENT HAS AN INTEREST IN MR. MCCONNELL AS A DISCHARGED FEDERAL PRISONER, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING HIS COMMITMENT TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE APPROPRIATION ABOVE CITED IS THE EXCLUSIVE AND AVAILABLE APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF HIS RETURN EXPENSES TO HIS HOME IN COLORADO. IT IS UNDERSTOOD, HOWEVER, THAT THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE HOSPITAL HAS EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT THE APPROPRIATION MENTIONED IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES.'

THE LANGUAGE IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR 1931 FIRST APPEARED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1926, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, APPROVED MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1182. WHILE THE HOUSE APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE WAS CONSIDERING ESTIMATES FOR SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR 1926, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE FOR THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, MR. CRAMTON, TELEPHONED TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AND INQUIRED WHETHER THERE WERE NOT CERTAIN PATIENTS OF THE HOSPITAL CHARGED WITH OR CONVICTED OF CRIMES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, SENT THERE UNDER PRESUMPTION THAT THEY WERE INSANE, WHOSE TIME HAD EXPIRED OR IN SUCH CASE WHERE THE CASE HAD BEEN NOLLE PROSSED, AND WHO REQUIRED FURTHER TREATMENT AND, IF SO, HAD BEEN MADE TO RETURN SUCH PATIENTS TO THE STATE WHEREIN THEY RETAIN THEIR RESIDENCE, SO THE COST OF SUCH TREATMENT COULD BE BORNE BY SUCH STATE. HE WAS ADVISED THAT FROM TIME TO TIME EFFORTS HAD BEEN MADE TO HAVE THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE RETURN PATIENTS TO THEIR HOMES WHEN THEIR TERM HAD EXPIRED, OR BACK TO PRISON WHEN THEIR MENTAL CONDITION WOULD PERMIT. FOLLOWING UP THIS COMMUNICATION, THE LANGUAGE CITED WAS ADDED TO THE APPROPRIATION ACT.

YOU WILL NOTE THAT THE INQUIRY DID NOT BEAR UPON THAT CLASS OF PATIENTS WHO NO LONGER REQUIRE TREATMENT NOR TO RETURN PATIENTS COMMITTED THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN CASES WHERE A NOLLE PROSSE HAD BEEN ENTERED, NOR THE CASE DISMISSED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. FOR THIS REASON, SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL HOLDS THAT THAT PORTION OF THE APPROPRIATION ACT MENTIONED DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF WILLIAM A. MCCONNELL TO RETURN TO HIS HOME IN DENVER, COLO. THERE IS ANOTHER PROVISION IN THE ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL WHICH READS "AND NOT EXCEEDING $1,500 OF THIS SUM MAY BE EXPENDED IN THE REMOVAL OF PATIENTS TO THEIR FRIENDS.' WHETHER THE PAYING OF THE EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MR. MCCONNELL TO HIS HOME IN DENVER, COLO., BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS ACT, IS QUESTIONABLE. IN ORDER TO REMOVE THE DOUBT, KINDLY ADVISE ME AS TO WHETHER THE HOSPITAL IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF WILLIAM A. MCCONNELL TO DENVER, COLO., AND, IF SO, UNDER WHICH OF THE PROVISIONS NAMED.

THERE APPEARS TO BE NO DOUBT FROM YOUR SUBMISSION BUT THAT WILLIAM A. MCCONNELL WHEN ADMITTED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL WAS ADMITTED AS A PERSON "CHARGED WITH" A CRIME AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, AND THAT HE WAS CONSIDERED INSANE AT THAT TIME. SUCH BEING THE CASE, THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL WERE PROPERLY AVAILABLE FOR HIS SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE WHILE HE WAS LAWFULLY CONFINED IN THAT INSTITUTION.

IT FURTHER APPEARS FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT THE PROVISIONS IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR ,ASCERTAINING THE RESIDENCE OF INMATES WHO ARE NOT OR WHO CEASE TO BE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO FEDERAL MAINTENANCE IN THE INSTITUTION AND IN RETURNING THEM TO SUCH PLACES OF RESIDENCE" MAY HAVE BEEN INTENDED PRIMARILY TO TAKE CARE OF INSANE PRISONERS WHOSE TERMS HAD EXPIRED OR WHOSE CASES HAD BEEN NOLLE PROSSED AND WHO REQUIRED FURTHER TREATMENT FOR WHICH THE UNITED STATES WAS NOT LIABLE. HOWEVER, THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE PROVISION TO REQUIRE SUCH A RESTRICTED APPLICATION, AND WHERE THE COST OF MAINTENANCE OF AN INMATE CEASES TO BE A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER, INCLUDING RECOVERY FROM INSANITY, THE EXPENSES OF RETURNING THEM TO THEIR FORMER PLACE OF RESIDENCE PROPERLY MAY BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION.

THE $1,500 PROVISION FOR THE "REMOVAL OF PATIENTS TO THEIR FRIENDS" WOULD SEEM FROM ITS LANGUAGE TO INCLUDE ONLY SUCH PATIENTS WHOSE MENTAL CONDITION WOULD REQUIRE CONTINUED CARE AND HENCE IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE FACTS OF THE INSTANT MATTER.