The deadly technicality has made its appearance in the Supreme Court again. Under a decision rendered yesterday by Justice Temple, a policeman's widow is deprived of a sum of money that many believe she is entitled to.
Patrick Slevin was on the police force of this city for the best part of his life, and as he raised a large family of children he never was able to amass much money to keep himself and wife in their old age. Several years ago he was retired from active service by the Police Commissioners in order that a younger man might take his place. A year or so ago, while riding in the southern part of the city, he was run down by a railroad train and killed. The widow applied for the $1000 that was provided by law for the relatives of deceased officers. This law provides that the money shall go to the widow, children, mother or unmarried sister of a deceased officer, who had served for ten years, but there was a joker in the act that works a great injury to the widow. The Police Commissioners refused to grant the demand on the ground that the law specifies that death must be from natural causes. Mrs. Slevin obtained from the Superior Court a writ of mandamus to compel the payment of the amount, and from this writ the Commissioners appealed. Justice Temple reversed the order of the lower court, holding that the strict letter of the act must be observed, and that in order to secure insurance money death must be natural and not from violence. He says "Although unable to understand the reasons which induced the Legislature to dispose of the funds in this mode, I see no way to avoid the conclusion that such Is the law. Judgment is reversed."
San Francisco (California) Call, December 23, 1898.