Non Payment of Child Support Indigent Defense | Turner v. Rogers

Turner v. Rogers and its Importance in Indigent Defensemoney-from-feds-2016

| Criminal Law & Psychology Blog |

|Posted on |

I wanted to take some time out of my schedule to discuss Turner v. Rogers while it’s still recent and I remember my thoughts on the matter.  First, I will provide some basic background on the case.  Then, I will discuss the basic legal and policy arguments of the case.  Finally, I will turn attention to my predictions and the importance of this case for indigent advocacy in general.

I. HISTORY OF THE CASE

What is this Turner v. Rogers case I’m talking about?  The answer, thankfully, is rather straightforward.  This case involves two indigent parents involved in a dispute over child support.  The mother, Ms. Rogers, brought a straightforward court claim against Mr. Turner for child support he owed to their daughter.  So far, nothing out of the ordinary.

The noteworthy aspect of the case is that Mr. Turner is indigent, a formal term for a person who is poor; presumably below the poverty line.  In terms of full disclosure, both Ms. Rogers and Mr. Turner were indigent parents.

The court in this case held Mr. Turner in contempt for failing to pay for his child support obligations.  A proper defense to this failure is an inability to pay based upon lack of necessary income.  If that’s the case, why did the judge hold Mr. Turner in contempt?  There is both a broad and specific answer.  The broad one is that the poverty defense is an affirmative one — one that a defendant must prove in order to avoid being held in contempt.  The specific answer is that Mr. Turner lacked an attorney, who would have certainly asserted this defense.

In these situations, a person can typically be held in either civil or criminal contempt, the specifics of which vary by jurisdiction.  This case occurred in South Carolina, where a person facing civil contempt may be incarcerated as a result.  That’s what occurred with Mr. Turner, who was sentenced to serve jail time for being what most us know in lay terms as being “a deadbeat dad.”

Mr. Turner appealed his case all the way up to the South Carolina Supreme Court on the grounds that he was entitled to have an attorney appointed for him since he could not pay for one on his own.  The South Carolina Supreme Court disagreed with his claim and, as a result, he petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear his case.Family Court vs Criminal Court - 2016

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Confused about what “best interests of the child” means?

…so are judges, attorneys, and especially psychologists. So don’t worry, you’re not alone…

“Best Interests of the Child”
– Fact or Lyrical Poetry?

Family Court Professionals Disclose the Truth – Weightier Matter

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  So are judges, attorneys, and especially psychologists.

AFCC_Tampa_Brochure_2006-3-1At AFCC’s 2006 national conference in Tampa, FL, family court professionals gathered to discuss whether “family” or “parents’” rights were compatible with the “best interests of the child” standard.  But in comparing “rights” to “best interests,” the discussion took an unexpected turn to a more fundamental question:

What does “best interests” really mean?

Does it take a Ph.D. to know the answer?

Do judges know any better than lawyers, psychologists, or parents themselves?

Does anyone really know what “bests interests” means and how to determine it for any child or family?

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Fathers for Equal Rights! #FatherlessDay

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Electing Judges

Do not re-elect bad family court judges - 2016

They’re not politicians, so they shouldn’t act like them.votefamily - Parental Rights Class Action - 2015

The trouble with electing judges
| The Economist
 |

Excerpt:

OF ALL the ways in which America is exceptional, its practice of electing judges is one of the least obvious and most striking. The spectacle of someone who has the power to hand out death sentences making stump speeches, seeking endorsements and raising funds has long seemed odd to outsiders. Alexis de Tocqueville, whose travels around the country coincided with the spread of judicial elections, predicted that “these innovations will, sooner or later, have disastrous results.” It is a view shared by many of the judges running for office around the country.

Judicial elections are becoming a lot like any other. Tennessee’s recent race was a good example. A few days before the poll Gary Wade, the chief justice on the state’s Supreme Court, sat in his office, a room enlivened by a bearskin rug on the floor, complete with paws and snarling mouth. Mr Wade had faced the voters five times before, but this election was the first time he had to do any actual campaigning. Tennessee’s race became unexpectedly political: the three judges up for retention were hit with adverts denouncing them as Obamacare-loving liberals, though their court has never ruled on the subject. The judges responded by raising over $1m to buy adverts of their own.

PrawfsBlawg: Law and Politics

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WHAT OF GRANDPARENTS’ “RIGHTS”?

WHAT’S THE SOURCE OF GRANDPARENTS’ “RIGHTS”?

what-of-grandparent-rights-2016– thefitparentsrights

A fit parent’s “liberty” is defined as the right to establish a home and direct the upbringing of one’s children.  Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923). Such is what makes it a “liberty interest”. This liberty interest is fundamental to the citizens of the United States of America.Washington v. Glucksberg, 117 S.Ct. 2258, 2268, 521 U.S. 702, 720-21 (U.S.Wash.,1997).

Therefore, this right is protected by the Due Process Clause of 14th Amendment to the  United States Constitution.

This means, if the state-as in a judge- wants to infringe or terminate this fundamental liberty interest, he or she had better apply the process due to a parent first. Otherwise, its action is explicitly forbidden. Id. at 721. If the state cannot show that it has a narrowly tailored compelling interest, then the state cannot touch the fit parent’s right at all. Ibid. No other avenue is constitutionally available to accomplish state action, which will adversely affect a parent’s fundamental liberty interest.

grandparent-alienation-2016

If a parent appeals an adverse action by a state which has affected his or her fundamental liberty interest, the reviewing Court must apply the Strict Scrutiny standard of review, to determine whether the state action was indeed achieved without the state showing that it had a narrowly tailored compelling interest to take the action it did. Id. Grandparent Family Bond Obstryction - Public Health Crisis -- 2016This is a compulsory standard. It’s not an option. Nowhere does it say that if the reviewing Court has sat down and collectively decided, for whatever arbitrary reasoning, that it should apply a lesser standard, that it can do so.

That being said, tell me. Where exactly do Grandparents’ “Rights”, come from? When a parent is brought before a Court and his or her fundamental liberty interest is at stake, there are only TWO competing interests here- the parent’s and the state’s. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 759-60 (U.S.N.Y., 1982). If the parent is fit, then the child’s interest, coincides with his or her fit parent’s. Id. at 745, 748, 760-761 (1982). The child’s interest does not stand alone. As such is the case, where exactly-constitutionally- does the Grandparent’s so called “interest” fit into the equation? I can tell you where-nowhere- because they don’t have any “rights”- not under these United States’ Constitution..

no-system-ever-devised-to-cause-so-much-harm-as-family-court-2016

The Justices who decided Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), deliberately failed to apply the Strict Scrutiny standard of review, to the threatened fundamental liberty interest of the mother in that case for this precise reason.

Grandparent Child Relationship Obstruction - 2016Instead, it applied a less stringent standard, having nothing to do with the 14th Amendment, so that it could leave room for the individual states, to concoct their own particular processes by which each could infringe or even, as in my case, terminate the liberty interests of fit parents, by averting the Due Process Clause. In other words, applying the wrong standard gave state legislatures the power to enact laws granting such “rights” to grandparents to intervene into divorce and custody disputes. Under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, this “standing” does not exist.

Because of the Troxel Court’s “instructions” as the state of Georgia refers to the case, Clark v. Wade, 273 Ga. 587,  603-604 (2001), this state claimed that it had the power to sever my custodial relationship with my child, remove her from my home, terminate my legal rights to her and “award” “custody”, to her paternal grandparents- all without finding me unfit. Isn’t that something? After serving my country and vowing to die if need be, to defend the United States Constitution, my own rights were snatched right from under me. It said that it had the parens patriae power to do what it thought was “best” for my child. It had and has, no such power. Neither does any other state.

Here’s why.

Number 1., Washington, 521 U.S. at 721 says the state can’t do anything with a child without first proving that it has a narrowly tailored compelling interest.

2. The state can’t achieve such interest without following the bifurcated steps established in Santosky, 455 U.S. at 745, 748, 760-761 .

3. Before we even get to any of all this, the state is explicitly prohibited from applying the best interest standard between a parent and a third party to begin with. Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 303-304 (1993).

Nevertheless, there are parents across America whose constitutional rights to their children have been deprived by state action, under color of law. This has been a collective, nationwide violation, extending from the top of our judicial system, to the bottom. This is the state of America today.

But for the United States Supreme Court’s decision in 2000, I would not have been robbed of my right to continue to have the home that I had established for my child, or my right to continue to raise her, so long as I was fit. Grandparent Contact Denial - 2016

I know that such willful deprivation is actionable under federal civil and criminal law against state officials. I also know that one must request relief from the very defendants and perpetrators who have violated him or her- a futile effort that I learned the hard way.  My question is, what happens when the willful deprivation comes from the top?

***I am a paralegal. I am not a licensed attorney. Anything I’ve posted here or on this site, may not and should not be construed as legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney. If you are in Cobb County, Georgia, good luck.

Source: WHAT’S THE SOURCE OF GRANDPARENTS’ “RIGHTS”? – thefitparentsrights

Let there be justice in America, and let it begin with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Facebook shared a post of mine about Opt IN USA from exactly one year ago today. In realizing that the campaign has been consistently described since then, I thought about complaints I've received that not everyone understands and can relate to Opt IN USA. Of course I cannot imagine being unsure of whether I've been persecuted or psychologically tortured through misuse of administrative (as in quasi-judicial) or court (as in judicial) proceedings in America. It seems those of us unfortunate enough to have had such an experience would realize it happened or is happening. And Opt IN USA would speak to our embattled souls, even if aspects of the campaign left some of us confused. While anything can be simplified, not everything is simple. To thoroughly understand the problem of persistent U.S. legal system abuse is to perceive all of its complexities, which is helpful in devising solutions through which Opt IN USA constituents can be made whole. Opt IN USA is about much more than being on the losing end of legal proceedings. Instead, the campaign identifies and addresses distinct patterns of judicial (including quasi-judicial) conduct and case outcomes that evidence deliberate violations of rights. Moreover, Opt IN USA links the failure of America's current legal and political processes to redress this ominous problem to certain of their structural/logistical deficiencies. These deficiencies manifest as inadequate judicial oversight. In other words, Opt IN USA goes beyond scandal advocacy, i.e., the process of "exposing" specific U.S. legal system bad guys in hopes of evoking enough outrage to get them ousted and reparations extended for their misdeeds. Instead, the campaign focuses on exposing how U.S. government unduly insulates this class of culprits from accountability and the devastation heaped on countless Americans, including children, as a result. The goal of Opt IN USA and its sister organizations is to trigger genuine reform . . . not when the targeted bad guys are adequately proven to be bad or society is adequately protective of their victims, but when it is clear that everyone CONSCIOUSLY acquiescing to inadequate judicial oversight in America is complicit in the resulting harm. True, Opt IN USA gets a bit "high brow" at times. But that is to reach Ivory Towers in which our complaints are dismissed as mere rantings of the confused, uninformed, misguided, and disgruntled. Our message must resonate there, arguably more than anywhere. As direct action is undertaken on Main Street, Opt IN USA and its sister organizations help ensure such efforts are not undermined by credible propaganda flowing from any Ivory Tower. Surely not everyone discontent with America's legal system has a well-founded complaint. But it is only through a fair and impartial administration of justice that our legitimate grievances can be properly sorted from those that are unfounded. America owes all of its citizens a fair and impartial administration of justice. Learn more, join our efforts, and otherwise support Opt IN USA by visiting https://m.facebook.com/Opt.IN.USA/
Facebook shared a post of mine about Opt IN USA from exactly one year ago today. In realizing that the campaign has been consistently described since then, I thought about complaints I’ve received that not everyone understands and can relate to Opt IN USA.
Of course I cannot imagine being unsure of whether I’ve been persecuted or psychologically tortured through misuse of administrative (as in quasi-judicial) or court (as in judicial) proceedings in America. It seems those of us unfortunate enough to have had such an experience would realize it happened or is happening. And Opt IN USA would speak to our embattled souls, even if aspects of the campaign left some of us confused.
While anything can be simplified, not everything is simple.
To thoroughly understand the problem of persistent U.S. legal system abuse is to perceive all of its complexities, which is helpful in devising solutions through which Opt IN USA constituents can be made whole.
Opt IN USA is about much more than being on the losing end of legal proceedings. Instead, the campaign identifies and addresses distinct patterns of judicial (including quasi-judicial) conduct and case outcomes that evidence deliberate violations of rights. Moreover, Opt IN USA links the failure of America’s current legal and political processes to redress this ominous problem to certain of their structural/logistical deficiencies. These deficiencies manifest as inadequate judicial oversight.
In other words, Opt IN USA goes beyond scandal advocacy, i.e., the process of “exposing” specific U.S. legal system bad guys in hopes of evoking enough outrage to get them ousted and reparations extended for their misdeeds. Instead, the campaign focuses on exposing how U.S. government unduly insulates this class of culprits from accountability and the devastation heaped on countless Americans, including children, as a result.
The goal of Opt IN USA and its sister organizations is to trigger genuine reform . . . not when the targeted bad guys are adequately proven to be bad or society is adequately protective of their victims, but when it is clear that everyone CONSCIOUSLY acquiescing to inadequate judicial oversight in America is complicit in the resulting harm.
True, Opt IN USA gets a bit “high brow” at times. But that is to reach Ivory Towers in which our complaints are dismissed as mere rantings of the confused, uninformed, misguided, and disgruntled. Our message must resonate there, arguably more than anywhere. As direct action is undertaken on Main Street, Opt IN USA and its sister organizations help ensure such efforts are not undermined by credible propaganda flowing from any Ivory Tower.
Surely not everyone discontent with America’s legal system has a well-founded complaint. But it is only through a fair and impartial administration of justice that our legitimate grievances can be properly sorted from those that are unfounded. America owes all of its citizens a fair and impartial administration of justice.
Learn more, join our efforts, and otherwise support Opt IN USA by visiting https://m.facebook.com/Opt.IN.USA/

divorcecorp-judge-scalia-quote-on-judicial-system-perception-2016Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored ~  Opt-IN-USA

people-who-are-crazy-enough-to-think-they-can-change-the-world-are-the-ones-who-do

Let there be justice in America, and let it begin with the U.S. Department of Justice.7f420-injustice

At best, if the targeted conduct is graphic and filmed and public outcry is intense, we get “police accountability” . . . an oxymoron given the DOJ’s notorious…

https://www.facebook.com/POPULAR4people/
Calling on all Americans who do not want the ruling class through major media to keep unrest focused exclusively on blue collar cops while elite lawyers, powerful prosecutors, and judges operate with virtual impunity in this country. Please join us in PUMPING UP THE PROTEST! Kindly circulate this message and do whatever you lawfully can to affirm that no one in America should be above the U.S. Constitution and certainly not the country’s law enforcement and correction officials, private lawyers, prosecutors, and judges. Thank you!

Opt-IN-USA  · LINKEDIN.COM

Please join us in PUMPING UP THE PROTEST! Kindly circulate this message and do whatever you lawfully can to affirm that no one in America should be above the U.S. Constitution and certainly not the country’s law enforcement and correction officials, private lawyers, prosecutors, and judges.

Thank you!Low Hanging Fruit Opt-in USA NFJA - 2016

The prospect of Joseph P. Carson securing the support of our national grassroots legal/judicial reform community transforms his 25 year long quest for OSC and MSPB accountability into a potential judicial accountability coup d’etat in America.

family-civil-rights-movement-2015

We identified it as an international human rights issue. We learned that a potentially insurmountable obstacle to relief was America’s failure to ratify th……See More

This note is to encourage some very practical steps in mobilizing to address human rights violations through U.S. legal system abuse as part of Opt IN USA and its coalition partners. Please accept our apology if you receive this message via multiple communication channels. We want it to reach as many people as possible contending with U.S. legal system abuse and related judicial misconduct. Some d……  See More

Again, Opt IN USA attributes the ineffectiveness of America’s legal system in redressing entrenched legal system abuse to a synergy of:quiescent lawyers and judges, subdued by the prospect of retaliatory professional discipline;ineffective federal agencies such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Special Counsel;See More

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“What the proverbial ‘Powers That Be’ seem to miss is that when their noses are all red from being snubbed at rank and file Americans, implementation of the U.S. Constitution has become an arbitrary and capricious process; no more Rule of Law.”Three Ring Circus - 3 Ring Circus - AFLA Blog - 2015

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The most critical flaws of the current child-support system

~ Facebook Event ~

Here are four of the most critical flaws of the current child-support system.

The system is outdated.

The child-support system was originally a bipartisan policy reform designed to serve divorced parents who were steadily employed. But the system was established nearly 40 years ago, and is based on outdated stereotypes that viewed Mom as a housewife and Dad as the sole breadwinner.

The system makes it particularly tough on low-income fathers.

29 percent of families in the system live below the federal poverty line. Many fathers sincerely want to do right by their children, but simply don’t have the means to do so. That becomes a very slippery slope for a lot of dads.

When unpaid child-support payments accumulate, this often snowballs into another issue: parental alienation. Research has shown that men with outstanding child-support debts tend to be less involved in their children’s lives. Some even find themselves incarcerated over unpaid payments.

I ruined my ex - 2015
~ Facebook Event ~

The “deadbeat dad” myth.

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