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Sonnenberg v. Markley

April 6, 1961

HAROLD ALLEN SONNENBERG, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
T. WADE MARKLEY ET AL., WARDEN, UNITED STATES PENITENTIARY, TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Author: Knoch

Before DUFFY, MAJOR and KNOCH, Circuit Judges.

KNOCH, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner filed a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in which he alleged that he was illegally detained in the custody of respondent at the United States Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana, an institution for adult criminals. The petition further stated:

"1. That on or about August 28, 1958, Petitioner was adjudged a Juvenile Delinquent under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, Title 18, U.S.C. Sec. 5031, and committed to the custody of the Attorney General; or, the National Training School for Boys; or, a comparable institution for care, custody and training of juveniles; by the United States District Court at Oxford, Mississippi, until he reached the age of twenty-one (21)."

and

"7. That the Attorney General does not have the power or authority, under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, or any other statute in the United States Code, to commit, or transfer juveniles to penal institutions basically criminal in nature and designed primarily for custody and punishment of adult criminals; and that further, the power and authority granted to the Attorney General in the Act extends only to commitment or transfer to the National Training School for Boys, or a comparable institution primarily designed and denoted for the care, custody and training of juveniles."

The District Court granted respondent's motion to dismiss, based on the theory that petitioner failed to state grounds on which the Writ might be granted; and petitioner appealed.

It appears from the record that petitioner was committed to the custody of the Attorney General and subsequently transferred to the United States Penitentiary at Terre Haute. The record does not show the reason for the transfer. The petitioner states the contested issue as:

"The [issue] involved in this appeal is whether or not the Attorney General can treat this Petitioner, a Juvenile Delinquent, in the same manner as an adult criminal by confining him in a Federal Penitentiary for adult criminals, which has no facilities for the care, custody, and training of juveniles, nor which is comparable to the National Training School For Boys."

The pertinent statutes are in Title 18 U.S.C.:

"§ 5031. Definitions

"For the purposes of this chapter a 'juvenile' is a person who has not attained his eighteenth birthday, and 'juvenile delinquency' is the violation of a law of the United States committed by a juvenile and not punishable by death or life imprisonment."

"§ 5032. Proceeding against juvenile delinquent

"A juvenile alleged to have committed one or more acts in violation of a law of the United States not punishable by death or life imprisonment, and not surrendered to the authorities of a state, shall be proceeded against as a juvenile delinquent if he consents to such procedure, unless ...


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