Dec. 21, 1918.
T. W. Bickett, Governor of North Carolina,
Dear Governor Bickett:
Your letter of former date referring to the case of T. J. Lamb, an insane man in Buncombe County, and in whose interest Mr. George S. Powell had written you, was referred to the Board of Directors for their consideration. The Board requested me to write you, stating the case, and ask for instructions.
It appears that T. J. Lamb has not resided in this state a sufficient length of time to establish citizenship in the State. And that, under the law, the Clerk of the Court, the proper committing officer, is unable to make the necessary commitment. In fact, should he do so he would be liable to fine, and we have no papers by which he could be admitted even if he were a citizen of the State. Furthermore, this man was indicted for a criminal offence, he could not be put on trial on account of his mental condition and the judge asked for an investigation of his sanity. It appears that the proper proceedure would have been, had he been entitled to care in this state, for the trial judge to have committed him to the Department of Dangerous Insane. This he did not do, leaving the matter for the local authorities to handle.
I am requested to say further that with the limited room and our inability to admit anything like all deserving cases this man's admission to the Hospital will inevitably exclude a Bona Fide citizen of this State, and one whose condition would entitle him to admission here without raising the question of propriety as to whether he should be here or in the Department for the Dangerous Insane at Raleigh.
The Board, desirous of complying with your wishes in this matter, asks for definite instructions.