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State ex rel. Conway v. Hunt

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 1, 1942

STATE OF ARIZONA ex rel. JOE CONWAY, Attorney General, Plaintiff,
v.
JOE HUNT, State Treasurer, Defendant

Original proceeding in Mandamus. Alternative writ quashed.

Mr. Joe Conway, Attorney General, and Mr. W. E. Polley, Assistant Attorney General, for Plaintiff.

Mr. Joe Conway, Attorney General, and Mr. Edward P. Cline, Assistant Attorney General, for Defendant.

OPINION

[59 Ariz. 257] ROSS, J.

Whether the writ of mandamus should issue against the state treasurer, Joe Hunt, depends upon the construction of certain provisions of Chapter 44, Laws of 1941, Regular Session, relating to the state hospital and providing for its administration. Sections 6 and 17 thereof read as follows:

"Sec. 6. Payment Of Maintenance. In the event a person is received by the state hospital whose estate is chargeable with his maintenance, the court shall fix the amount to be charged and shall collect and receive all moneys due therefor. Moneys so collected and moneys collected for the care of voluntary patients shall be paid to the state

Page 304

treasurer, through the state auditor, and credited to the fund for operation and maintenance of the state hospital."

[59 Ariz. 258] "Sec. 17. Section 8-303, Arizona Code of 1939 (sec. 1771, Revised Code of 1928), is amended to read:

"8-303. Cost Of Maintenance; Guardian Of Property. The superior court shall cause inquiry to be made into the ability of any insane person committed by it, to bear the charges and expenses of his examination, commitment and maintenance while in custody, and if the insane person is able by the possession of money or property, to pay such charges or any portion of them, such court shall fix the amount thereof, and appoint a guardian of the property of such person, as in other cases of guardianship. The guardian shall pay the cost of the examination, and the expenses of commitment and maintenance of said insane person, from the estate of said insane person, and all such costs and expenses shall be paid by the guardian to the state treasurer, through the state auditor, and credited to the fund for operation and maintenance of the state hospital...."

Some time after said Chapter 44 became effective, the state auditor paid to the defendant state treasurer $14,070.91, and of this sum the treasurer credited $8,639.91 to the fund for operation and maintenance of the state hospital, and the balance of $5,431 to the general fund of the state.

It appears from defendant's return to the writ to show cause that the latter sum consists of funds paid to the state hospital by the Government of the United States for the care and maintenance of its Indian wards committed to it, and moneys paid to said hospital on account by relatives and friends of the persons committed to such institution by a court of competent jurisdiction, and that no part of said sum is made up of moneys paid by voluntary patients or moneys coming out of the estates of persons who are or were inmates of the said hospital.

The pleadings disclose that the Attorney General of the state is acting in the dual capacity of attorney for both the plaintiff and defendant. As attorney for [59 Ariz. 259] plaintiff he makes the contention that said sum of $5,431 belongs to the fund for operation and maintenance of the state hospital, and as attorney for the defendant he contends it belongs to the state's general fund. We think, however, the Attorney General is not in disagreement with himself as to the facts, which are clearly stated in defendant's return to the writ.

Under section 6, supra, the money collected for two kinds of patients is to be credited to the fund for operation and maintenance of the state hospital, that is, a patient "whose estate is chargeable with his maintenance" and "voluntary patients" that may be admitted to the hospital as provided in section 7 of said chapter. Section 17, supra, makes it the duty of the court committing a person to such institution to determine whether he "is able by the possession of money or property" to bear the charges and expenses of his examination, commitment and maintenance and, if so, to fix the amount thereof; to appoint a guardian of the property, with the duty to pay the costs of his examination, the expenses of commitment and maintenance from his estate, which sums ...


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