10 Women Law. J. 1 (1920-1921)

handle is hein.journals/wolj10 and id is 1 raw text is: WOMEN LAWYERS' JOURNAL
Entered as Second Class Matter October 1, 1917, at the Post Office at Jamaica, N. Y., under the Act of March 3, 1879.
VOL. 10, NO. 1.            NEW  YORK CITY, OCTOBER, 1920                      $1.00 a Year
NECESSITY OF A FAMILY COURT

A Family Court, properly constituted
and functioned is the handmaid of religion.
It enforces the precepts that the church
has been teaching the world for nigh on
to two thousand years, to the effect, that
the procreation of the race should be for
the honor and service of God and the wel-
fare of the State; that the family is the
unit of society.
In the struggle for existence the anti-
social part of the community, whether their
conduct is the result of lack of religious
and moral stamina, physical deterioration,
environment or dwarfed mentality, are the
rear guard of humanity. When they came
in contact with the law, the old penology
caused the penal statutes to be invoked
against them with the threefold object in
view, namely: Punishment of the offend-
ers, a deterrent to others of similar pro-
clivities and hope of reformation, by de-
privation of liberty.
Under this system of punition, however,
it developed that the percentage of in-
crease in the number of inmates in penal
institutions from year to year was greater
than that in the growth of the population.
This knowledge led to the study of the vio-
lator of the law as an individual rather
than in mass. By this investigation it was
discovered that there were passing through
our courts from day to day a group of
malefactors described by a committee of
which I had the privilege of being chair-
man as egotistical, selfish, cruel, shal-
low, lazy, unstable, neurotic, poorly bal-
anced, emotional, defective, stupid and in-
competent individuals. These types were
the result, as well as the potential makers
and breeders of crime, and it was evident
from their delinquencies that their family
life rested on shallow foundations.
The analysis likewise developed the fact
that criminal tendencies nearly always ap-
peared in childhood, and if these inclina-
tions in the delinquent child could be over-
come, the augmentation of the above named
individuals could be prevented. The moral
conscience of the country was aroused to
the enormity of this cancer in our body
politic, but how was the malignant growth
to be treated? Naturally, by going back
to first principles. As the natural organ-
ism of society is the family, the study of
the family and its units and the laws in
reference thereto became the first object
of consideration in the premises.
Now, the philosophy of law is not based
on revolution, but rather on evolution, and
while it was found that property rights
were carefully protected, the liberty and
person of the subject vigilantly guarded,
the submerged proletariat as a class were
not recognized in the judicial court organ-
ization. This omission should not be taken
as a criticism of either our Constitution
makers or our judiciary. It must be borne
in mind that it is one of the fundamentals

By Judge Edward J. Dooley
of a sane democracy that where the gov-
ernment chooses to do everything the citi-
zen is prone to do nothing, and therefore
the doctrine of free will should extensively
prevail, with the consequent responsibility
that flows therefrom.
There is a group of persons in this
world who are prone to shirk their moral
and legal obligations and this statement
is particularly applicable to the type of
human beings heretofore referred to. In-
cluded therein are also the improvident,
shiftless, lazy, irreligious, negligent, penur-
ious, obstinate and intemperate husbands,
parents, children and grandparents who
are able to, but refuse to support their
dependents. For these last named delin-
quents, the sane (as distinguished from
the faddist) sociologists determined that
the police power of the State should be
invoked to instill into them the lesson that
the home must be cared for, the neglected
wives and children nurtured, and the help-
less parents and grandparents sheltered.
The law of God and man so ordains, the
safeguard of society so demands, and the
State so decrees.
It was not intended by thus invoking
this power to prevent the giving of charity
in proper cases, for as Frederic Ozanam,
the founder of the St. Vincent de Paul
Society, so eloquently and aptly says: Pub-
lic charity ought to intervene in a crisis.
Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on
the wounds of the traveler who has been
attacked. It is the task of Justice to anti-
cipate the attack.  The results of these
deliberations were the organization of the
Social Courts, known as the Domestic Re-
lations and Juvenile or Children's Courts,
and functioning in the matters pertaining
to the family, generally speaking, their
jurisdiction is substantially as follows:
The Domestic Relations Court: Every
person who abandons his wife or children
without adequate support, leaving them in
danger of becoming a burden on the pub-
lic, or parents, grandparents, children and
grandchildren of sufficient financial abil-
ity of a poor person who is insane, blind,
old, lame, impotent or decrepit so as to be
unable by work to maintain himself, and
the parents and grandparents of a desti-
tute child, who, at their own charge fail
to support him in a manner sufficient to
prevent him from being or to avoid the
liability of his becoming a charge upon the
public, are declared disorderly persons and
compelled to pay a certain sum for the
support of their dependents or suffer im-
prisonment.  Also, in some jurisdiction,
against parents who contribute to the
juvenile delinquency of their children or
wards, or fail to keep them    at school
during school age, are treated as misde-
meanants, and fined or imprisoned there-
for.
The Juvenile or Children's Court: All
charges against children of the grade of a
misdemeanor generally, cases the punish-

ment for which is not more than one year's
imprisonment or $500 fine, or both; all
charges against children in which they can
be found guilty of juvenile delinquency
and all other cases in which the Court of
Justice thereof, or a magistrate, has power
to commit children as provided by law. A
child is usually taken to mean a person
under the age of sixteen years.
Attached to these Domestic Relations
and Children's Courts, in the cities par-
ticularly, is the probation system. Pro-
bation allows the justices of these courts
to place the defendants on probation for
stated terms and on condition that the
court may deem proper.
Thousands, aye, millions of dollars have
been collected through the Domestic Re-
lations Courts from recreant husbands,
parents, children and grandparents and
hundreds of families have been succored
through them, causing normal life to flow
and the rehabilitation of the home. So,
too, thousands of children have been sal-
vaged and reformatories and penal insti-
tutions have lost their source of supply by
the aid of and through the Children's
Courts in treating the child offender as a
child and not as a criminal.    Through
these courts the thought of Ozanam, ex-
pressed upwards of eighty years ago, that
justice should anticipate and ward off the
attack on the family, has been partially,
but not fully, carried out in America, the
land of progress and humanity.
The social courts recognize that demor-
alized homes and incipient criminality go
hand in hand. They seek to impress upon
the husband and father that he has not,
as the Roman head of the family of old,
the absolute power over the physical and
mental life of his children; that his duty to
society is to uplift the members of his
family rather than that they should be al-
lowed to degenerate; that the better the
family the better the State; that the fath-
er's duty, in addition to supporting, is to
educate his children; advising him of the
fact that illiteracy is more likely to lead
to crime than education, and the more
safeguards that can be thrown around the
child the more likely a normal develop-
ment will ensue, and therefore better citi-
zenship will follow.
It will be seen by the above recital that
the Domestic Relations and the Children's
Courts deal with two phases of the family
problem, the support of the family in the
Domestic Relations Court and the moral
cure and protection of the child in the
children's or Juvenile Court. But there
are other phases of family life affecting
the family and the units thereof, of which
neither of these courts have jurisdiction,
for instance, the guardianship and custody
of the children; the extradition of the
parent guilty of abandonment and neglect
to support, who has gone outside the juris-
diction of the State; the trial of the ex-
tradited parent; the attachment and the

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 2,700 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Access to this content requires a subscription. Please visit the following page to request a quote or trial:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?