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SNELLGROSE ADOPTION CASE. COMMONWEALTH EX REL. SNELLGROSE v. HARRIS (04/18/67)

decided: April 18, 1967.

SNELLGROSE ADOPTION CASE. COMMONWEALTH EX REL. SNELLGROSE
v.
HARRIS, APPELLANT



Appeals from orders of Orphans' Court of Lebanon County, No. 30 of 1966, and of Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, June T., 1966, No. 139, respectively, in re adoption of Thomi Georgia Snellgrose, a minor; and Commonwealth ex rel. Anna Marie Snellgrose and Thomi Georgia Snellgrose v. Dr. Albert E. Harris and Sibylla Harris.

COUNSEL

Richard W. Davis, with him Davis and Katz, for appellants.

L. E. Meyer, with him Meyer, Brubaker and Whitman, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.

Author: Bell

[ 425 Pa. Page 259]

An appeal by Dr. and Mrs. Harris (1) from the Order of the Orphans' Court of Lebanon County and (2) from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of

[ 425 Pa. Page 260]

Lebanon County -- each of which involved Thomi, a minor -- were consolidated and heard together.*fn*

On February 14, 1966, the appellants, Dr. and Mrs. Harris, filed a petition in the Orphans' Court of Lebanon County to adopt Thomi Georgia Snellgrose (hereinafter referred to as "Thomi"), a minor. After Thomi's mother, Anna Marie Snellgrose (hereinafter referred to as "Mrs. Snellgrose"), had been notified of the proceedings, she filed an answer opposing the petition for adoption. Mrs. Snellgrose also filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in order to obtain custody of Thomi. Hearings in the adoption case were held on July 6, 12, and 14, 1966. Over the objection of counsel for the Harrises, the Court in Lebanon County proceeded to take evidence in the habeas corpus case as well as in the adoption case, the same Judge sitting as both an Orphans' Court Judge and a Common Pleas Court Judge. The record in the adoption proceeding was incorporated by reference in the habeas corpus proceeding.

The Court below denied the petition for adoption on the grounds that no abandonment had been shown and awarded judgment in favor of Mrs. Snellgrose in the habeas corpus proceeding.

I. Adoption Case

Mrs. Snellgrose, nee Keim, was born and raised in Germany. Believing the ...


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