B-44548, SEPTEMBER 28, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 261

B-44548: Sep 28, 1944

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IN VIEW OF THE RULE THAT NO ORDER OF A COURT IS EFFECTIVE TO REACH FUNDS IN THE UNITED STATES TREASURY OR IN THE HANDS OF GOVERNMENT DISBURSING OFFICERS WHERE THE UNITED STATES HAS NOT CONSENTED TO BECOME A PARTY TO THE PROCEEDINGS. 1944: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 14. - WHEN SHE WAS FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE. - WAS DECLARED A DELINQUENT CHILD BY THE JUVENILE COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT. WAS COMMITTED TO THE CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE JUVENILE PROBATION OFFICER. THAT SHE WILL REMAIN A WARD OF THE COURT UNTIL SHE REACHES THE AGE OF TWENTY UNLESS THE COURT SEES FIT TO REVOKE ITS ORDER PRIOR TO THAT TIME. THAT THE ACTION OF THE COURT IN THAT REGARD WAS INFLUENCED BY A BELIEF THAT THE MOTHER OF LAURA GONSALVES HAD SHOWN POOR JUDGMENT IN THE TREATMENT OF THE CHILD.

B-44548, SEPTEMBER 28, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 261

COMPENSATION - PAYMENT OF DELINQUENT MINOR'S SALARY TO COURT IN THE ABSENCE OF A LOCAL STATUTE AUTHORIZING THE JUVENILE COURTS TO CONTROL THE ESTATES OR FINANCES, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE PERSONS, OF DELINQUENT CHILDREN, AND IN VIEW OF THE RULE THAT NO ORDER OF A COURT IS EFFECTIVE TO REACH FUNDS IN THE UNITED STATES TREASURY OR IN THE HANDS OF GOVERNMENT DISBURSING OFFICERS WHERE THE UNITED STATES HAS NOT CONSENTED TO BECOME A PARTY TO THE PROCEEDINGS, ACCRUED COMPENSATION DUE A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE--- A MINOR DECLARED A DELINQUENT CHILD BY A JUVENILE COURT IN THE TERRITORY OF HAWAII--- MAY NOT BE PAID TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT PURSUANT TO A REQUEST OF THE JUDGE; HOWEVER, IF THE EMPLOYEE CONSENTS, THERE WOULD BE NO OBJECTION TO TRANSMITTING SALARY CHECKS TO THE EMPLOYEE IN CARE OF SAID CLERK.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1944:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1944, JAG:II:WJG:Z L-16-4:LL, WITH ENCLOSURES, PRESENTING A QUESTION AS TO THE MANNER OF PAYMENT OF ACCRUED WAGES TO LAURA GONSALVES, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE U.S. NAVY YARD, PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII.

IT APPEARS THAT UNDER AN ORDER DATED MAY 16, 1942, THE SAID LAURA GONSALVES--- WHEN SHE WAS FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE--- WAS DECLARED A DELINQUENT CHILD BY THE JUVENILE COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT, TERRITORY OF HAWAII, AND WAS COMMITTED TO THE CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE JUVENILE PROBATION OFFICER, AS A RESULT OF A COMPLAINT MADE BY HER MOTHER; AND THAT SHE WILL REMAIN A WARD OF THE COURT UNTIL SHE REACHES THE AGE OF TWENTY UNLESS THE COURT SEES FIT TO REVOKE ITS ORDER PRIOR TO THAT TIME. FURTHER APPEARS FROM A LETTER OF THE CHIEF PROBATION OFFICER OF THE COURT DATED JULY 27, 1944, THAT UPON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENCE OF LAURA GONSALVES BEFORE THE COURT ON MAY 31, 1944, AS A CONSEQUENCE OF CERTAIN MISCONDUCT ON HER PART,"THE JUDGE ASKED THAT LAURA'S EMPLOYER BE REQUESTED TO MAKE PAYMENT OF HER SALARY DIRECTLY TO THE CLERK OF THE JUVENILE COURT," IN ORDER THAT THE PROBATION OFFICER ACTING ON THE CASE COULD SUPERVISE THE MINOR'S EXPENDITURES; AND THAT THE ACTION OF THE COURT IN THAT REGARD WAS INFLUENCED BY A BELIEF THAT THE MOTHER OF LAURA GONSALVES HAD SHOWN POOR JUDGMENT IN THE TREATMENT OF THE CHILD, PARTICULARLY IN THE HANDLING OF HER FINANCES.

YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT OF THE ACCRUED WAGES OF LAURA GONSALVES MAY BE MADE BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER, 14TH NAVAL DISTRICT, TO THE CLERK OF THE JUVENILE COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT, TERRITORY OF HAWAII.

THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE TO BE OBTAINED IN THIS CASE, AND OTHER SIMILAR MATTERS INVOLVING THE DISBURSEMENT OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS, IS TO SECURE A VALID ACQUITTANCE TO THE UNITED STATES AND THAT, OF COURSE, IS ACCOMPLISHED BY PAYMENT TO THE INDIVIDUAL TO WHOM THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED. THE EMPLOYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CIVILIAN PERSONNEL IS NO DIFFERENT FROM AN ORDINARY CONTRACT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES SO FAR AS CONCERNS THE UNDERTAKING OF THE EMPLOYEE TO PERFORM SUCH SERVICES, IN RETURN FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT ENGAGES TO PAY THE SALARY FIXED BY LAW TO THE EMPLOYEE, AND TO NO ONE ELSE. HENCE, PAYMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S SALARY TO THE CLERK OF THE JUVENILE COURT IN THIS CASE MIGHT NOT ACQUIT THE GOVERNMENT AND WOULD BE MADE ONLY AT THE DISTINCT PERIL TO THE UNITED STATES OF HAVING TO PAY THE EMPLOYEE, ALSO, UNLESS IT IS ESTABLISHED THAT THE CLERK OF SAID COURT HAS A LEGAL RIGHT THERETO WHICH IS PARAMOUNT TO THAT OF THE EMPLOYEE.

SEC. 4613--- CHAP. 133, REVISED LAWS OF HAWAII, 1935, PURSUANT TO WHICH THE EMPLOYEE IN THIS CASE WAS DECLARED A DELINQUENT CHILD, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THE JUDGE SHALL PROCEED TO HEAR AND DISPOSE OF THE CASE, AND IF THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE CHILD ARE PROVED, THE COURT MAY ADJUDGE THE CHILD A DELINQUENT OR DEPENDENT CHILD AS THE CASE MAY BE. IF IT SHALL APPEAR TO THE JUDGE THAT THE PUBLIC INTERESTS AND THE INTERESTS OF SUCH CHILD WILL BE BEST SUBSERVED THEREBY, HE MAY ORDER THE RETURN OF THE CHILD TO HIS PARENTS OR GUARDIANS OR FRIENDS, OR HE MAY PLACE HIM, IF DELINQUENT, UNDER PROBATION AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED AND IN ALL CASES HE MAY DECREE THE CHILD FOUND DELINQUENT OR DEPENDENT TO BE THE WARD OF THE COURT AS FAR AS HIS PERSON IS CONCERNED, AND IN SUCH CASES, WHERE ANY CHILD HAS BEEN DECREED TO BE THE WARD OF THE COURT, THE AUTHORITY OF THE JUDGE OVER HIS PERSON SHALL CONTINUE UNTIL THE JUDGE SHALL OTHERWISE DECREE. (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

THUS, IT IS EVIDENT FROM THE SPECIFIC TERMS OF THE ABOVE STATUTE COVERING THE PROCEEDINGS REFERRED TO THAT A DECLARED DELINQUENT CHILD IS A WARD OF THE COURT "AS FAR AS HIS PERSON IS CONCERNED" ONLY, AND THAT THE AUTHORITY OF THE COURT IS RESTRICTED TO SUPERVISION OR CONTROL OF THE "PERSON" OF THE MINOR. AN EXAMINATION OF THE STATUTES OF HAWAII RELATING TO SUCH PROCEEDINGS DISCLOSES NO PROVISION AUTHORIZING THE COURT TO CONTROL THE ESTATE OR FINANCES OF THE DELINQUENT CHILD, OR WHICH MAY BE CONSTRUED AS LEGALLY OBLIGATING A DEBTOR OF THE MINOR TO MAKE PAYMENT DIRECT TO THE COURT OR TO AN AGENT THEREOF. HOWEVER, EVEN IF THAT WERE CASE, IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT WHERE, AS HERE, THE UNITED STATES HAS NOT CONSENTED TO BECOME A PARTY TO THE PROCEEDINGS, NO ORDER OF THE COURT WOULD BE EFFECTIVE TO REACH FUNDS IN THE UNITED STATES TREASURY OR IN THE HANDS OF ITS DISBURSING OFFICERS. APPLEGATE V. APPLEGATE, 39 F.1SUPP. 887; MCCARTHY V. UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD MERCHANT FLEET CORPORATION, 53 F.2D 923; MCGREW V. MCGREW, 38 F.2D 541.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT PAYMENT OF THE ACCRUED WAGES DUE LAURA GONSALVES AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NAVY YARD, PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII, MAY NOT BE MADE TO THE CLERK OF THE JUVENILE COURT, FIRST CIRCUIT, TERRITORY OF HAWAII. HOWEVER, IT MAY BE STATED THAT IN THE EVENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S CONSENT, NO LEGAL OBJECTION IS PERCEIVED TO TRANSMITTING THE CHECK OR CHECKS COVERING SUCH WAGES TO LAURA GONSALVES IN CARE OF THE CLERK OF SAID COURT.