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Youngberg v. Romeo



Duane Youngberg, Superintendent, Penhurst State School and Hospital, et al.


Nicholas Romeo, an incompetent, by his mother, Paula Romeo

Petitioners' Claim

That the proper standard of liability is the Eighth Amendment, and that the Pennsylvania State Institution properly adhered to the standards of the law in treating the respondent's son, a severely mentally handicapped individual.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

David H. Allshouse

Chief Lawyer for Respondents

Edmond A. Tiryak

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

18 June 1982


Involuntarily committed retarded persons were held to have due process liberty interests requiring state to provide minimally adequate training to ensure safety and freedom from undue restraint.

Related Cases

  • Ingram v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1977).
  • Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678 (1978).
  • Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980).

Further Readings

  • "Due Process of Law; Incompetent or Insane Persons; Mental Illness." AIR Quick Index.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988