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Subject: [Bklyn] Brooklyn Standard Union Jan 29,1931 News
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 18:09:42 EST


B.S.U. Thursday, Jan 29,1931
News

Girl Jailed Without Trail For Staying Out Late,Dreed After Serving 18
Months
400 Similar Cases, DIKE Told In Court

After she had served eighteen months in Bedford Reformatory- although she
was only sentenced for a year- Lena BURLATT,17, of 174 Keap street, was set
free and a charge of being a wayward minor was dismissed by Justice Norman
S.DIKE, who sat in Supreme Court, today as a committing magistrate.
Lena was one of forty-nine girls taken to the Jefferson Market Prison
from Bedford recently after it had been found that many of them had been sent
there illegally. When the others were taken back her counsel, Bernard AUSTIN,
obtained a writ of habeas corpus, keeping her in the city until a decision on
the propriety of her detention could be made by the court.
COURT MADE NO RECORD
After considering the matter during the night,Justice DIKE decided that he
had the power to sit as a committing magistrate.He expressed astonishment at
the fact that the girl was not only charged with nothing more serious than
being out late at night,but that she was sent to Bedford without a hearing
and that no stenographic record of the procedure conducted by Magistrare Leo
HEALY, who committed her from Adams street court,existed.
Lena was just 16 July 1.1929,when her mother had her taken to Adams
street court.She pleaded guilty, the commitment showed,and on July
20,1929,was sentenced for a year. At the outset,Assistant District Attorney
Henry J.WALSH said to the court: ''The District Attorney of King County does
not want to do anything to impede justice in this or any similar case and I
state now for the record that if it can be shown,and I believe it can,that
this girl has a home to go to,we have no objection to sustaining the writ and
freeing the girl.''
''I congratulate the District Attorney and you, Mr.WALSH,'' Justice
DIKE said. ''You show a broad minded conception of fair play and justice.I
feel a grievous error has been made by the magistrate who sent this girl
away,so I shall tryt his case now and attempt,if possible,to right it.''
At that point Mrs.BURLATT,Lena's mother,was called to the stand and
questioned by Bernard AUSTIN,Lena's counsel.
''Are you the mother of Lena BURLATT?
''I am.''
''Do you wish to press a complaint against her''?
''Have you any grievance or any complaint against this girl or to make
against her''? Justice DIKE interrupted to ask:
'' You said she kept late hours, did you not,in the magistrate court?
Mrs BURLATT gave a deprecating shrug of the shoulders,and Justice DIKE
asked:''This girl was attending high school''?
'' She was,and she was graduated from Junior HighSchool at fifteen.Then
she went to Textile High School.''
''You don't want to prosecute this girl now,doyou''? AUSTIN asked.
''No.''
'' As a matter of fact you never did intend to prosecute her or have her
imprisoned,did you?'' ''No''.
'' What transpired at the hearing? interrupted Justice DIKE.
'' There was no hearing, may it please the court,''Austin interjected.
Justice DIKE leaned over the bench,and looking over the top of his
glasses,said :
''Do I understand you properly? There was no hearing?
''There was none,your honor'' Austin said. '' I now move for a dismissal
of this case.Ther was no evidence before and your honor,of course, has heard
none now, against the girl.
'' It seems to me as though the situation might well be corrected'' the
court replied
'' It is the duty of the State to protect its minors and I can do nothing
better than to quote from a recent opinion of my esteemed contemporary and
associate on the bench,Justice HAGERTY, who said; ' The law is not only just
in the protection of civil rights,but has a special regard for the rights of
minors. I shall discharge the prisoner
and I again congratulate the District Attorney on his attitude.If this
decision is right,and I hope it is. I trust that it will have an important
bearing on the cases of others who doubtless are illegally detained and who
have been illegally and improperly imprisoned. Are there many such cases,
doyou think?Justice DIKE asked,turning to AUSTIN. ''There are about four
hundred'', AUSTIN replied.
'' Pitiful, Pitiful,'' the court said.

Transcribed for the BKLYN info pages by, Patty82856


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