Ex Parte Crouse

4 Wharton Reports 9 (1839)

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Ex Parte Crouse

Pennsylvania Supreme Court
4 Wharton Reports 9 (1839)

Facts

Mary Ann Crouse (defendant) was a child who was detained in the House of Refuge, a state-established residence for children who were vagrants or charged with or convicted of crimes. Additionally, managers of the House of Refuge had the discretion to take custody of boys under the age of 21 and girls under the age of 18 whose parent stated that the parent could not control the child because of his or her incorrigible or vicious conduct. Residents of the House of Refuge were taught morality, religion, and skilled trades with the purpose of reforming the children and giving them the skills they needed to support themselves. Crouse’s father filed a writ of habeas corpus on Crouse’s behalf. In response, a manager of the House of Refuge stated that Crouse’s mother had asked the court to detain Crouse for her own well-being, because Crouse’s mother could no longer control Crouse’s vicious behavior. The magistrate found that there was enough evidence to detain Crouse and gave her custody to the house managers. Crouse’s father’s attorney argued that Crouse’s detention was unconstitutional under the Sixth and Ninth Amendments because Crouse was detained without a trial by jury.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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