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

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

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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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Lawyers would rather try heinous murder cases rather than one family law case.

Family law is not for the faint of heart, and institute teaches best principles and methods ~ Tulsa WorldAmerica legal system failure 2016

Family law is a tough practice.

Children’s futures are at stake. Homes and any monies involved are being divided. Cases turn ugly in a moment, and attorneys representing their clients must be prepared for these sometimes unexpected mood shifts.

Family Court vs Criminal Court - 2016.pngSome Tulsa attorneys admit they would rather try a number of heinous murder cases rather than one family law case.

Judges have been heard to say they dread the controversial and contested family law cases because no one clearly is the winner and everyone loses when all cards have been played.we-need-a-winner-2015

Even attorneys involved in a family law practice have difficult times because of the twists and turns a case might have. Shane Henry, who practices family law with the Fry and Elder Law Firm, said he consistently lost cases during his first three years in practice and knew he needed additional training.

The question was where to go.

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Alternatives that respect free speech and the open arena of ideas

As many of you know, we just had a magnificent conference on men’s issues in London, England. It was a brilliant event that went off without a hitch.socheader1 Thanks to the work of Mike Buchanan it was a full house, wall to wall with amazing people.

The only downer of the entire event was that I had to make the announcement during my speech that the A Voice for Men Facebook page was deleted by the management there. Also, at this point I can say that my appeal to have the page reinstated has gone ignored. 35,000 followers dismissed by Facebook for not towing the feminist, politically correct line.

This is part of a now quite familiar trend of social media platforms, which are essentially the modern equivalent of what we used to call telecommunications companies, controlling the expression and even the ideas of their customers.

Every time one of these events happens on Twitter, (and again) Facebook or other popular outlet, we see people in the comments lamenting the dogmatic discrimination and suggesting that “someone” needs to create an alternative platform.

Here’s your chance to reclaim free speech

They’re right. Someone needs to create alternatives that respect free speech and the open arena of ideas. So we did.

It’s now located at socfreespeech.com.

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Using Reddit open source software, we have created a platform where current events and self-published ideas can be discussed without the interference of political correctness.

As you will see in the terms of service, there is a very narrow range of postings not permitted. They are as follows:

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Fathers for Equal Rights! #FatherlessDay

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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.

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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

Crazy women are NOT that skilled at hiding their crazy

On men, women and victims

There is a part of me that sparks a gag reflex when I think about writing dating advice claptrap. And while I am still not going to sink into such pablum, some responses to a meme I recently made reminded me of a theme I have seen echoed through parts of what some would call the manosphere for years.

The best explanation would be to show you the meme I placed on Facebook, highlighting one of the early comments to it:

And now the comment:

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Children Need Both Parents

State lawmakers should pass much-needed reform of child-custody laws.

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