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Hi, Jamie, My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with Excellent Service,
I am sorry to hear about your boyfriend's situation,
If he could not afford a lawyer, he was entitled to receive representation from the Public Defender's Office because the law provides that any time the penalty for an action, or inaction is incarceration, the Defendant is entitled by law to be represented by an Attorney.
The Judge should have listed the amount that it would take to purge himself of the Contempt. If there is no amount, I think it would be best if you took the Order entered by the Judge who found him in Contempt to the Office of the Public Defender ,tell them what your boyfriend's situation is and show them a print out from Child Support Enforcement that all child support arrears have been paid. The Public Defender may be able to get your boyfriend out of jail much faster than having you file a Motion, putting the Motion on the Court's calendar and waiting for the hearing date. The Public Defender can speak to the DA and enter a stipulation that all child support arrears have been paid and he should be released,
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He previously went to jail November of 2012 for refusing to pay child support, and served 20 days in jail, and then paid and contempt was "purged." Since that date he had been paying monthly, but was not paying the full "payment plan" amount that included the arrears. He got sentenced to 6 months at this last hearing, but the judge said that he "owed him time from the November 2012 charge." If he was purged in November, isn't this like punishing him twice for 1 crime? He was previously released from jail (from November charge) due to his previous lawyer making a phone call to the judge. The judge never gave my boyfriend any "stipulations" about his release, and neither did his attorney at the time, nor he did not sign any kind of paperwork in regards XXXXX XXXXX Is there a chance that they could make him stay in jail just to punish him, even though he has a zero balance? They also added the attorney fees for his ex-wife to file this to his child support balance, which I didn't think was legal. They never offered him a court appointed lawyer or told him that he had the right to one, despite the opposing lawyers request that he be jailed for this at the hearing. From what I can tell, this court is breaking several laws.
Thank you for your follow up question and the opportunity to explain further,
I understand what happened. Your boyfriend was found in contempt in November, but was released after 20 days without serving the full sentence, provided that he paid according to the payment plan that he was given. If a Defendant is released without serving their full sentence, provided that they follow the requirements set down by the Court. If the Defendant does not adhere to the requirements, the Defendant must serve his "back time". This is not considered being tried a second time for the same issue because although he paid up in full, he did not continue to pay according to the payment plan which the Judge had imposed on him. When dealing with Contempt and incarceration for being found to be in Contempt, the Defendant is not asked to agree, or sign a stipulation that he will do, or refrain from doing a certain act. In this regard, the Judge enters an Order which the Defendant is required to follow if he wants to stay out of jail. Therefore, when he was found in Contempt this time, that is what the Judge meant when he stated that your boyfriend "owed him time from the November 2012 charge. The penalty for being found in Contempt is incarceration for up to 6 months without the opportunity to purge one's self by paying what was owed. It can be that the Judge did not list an amount because he meant to sentence your boyfriend to 6 months in jail and he did not list an amount because the Judge might have decided that he would have to serve the 6 months without the privilege of purging himself and being released earlier than 6 months.
It is not illegal to add the Attorneys' fees incurred by the recipient of the child support payments because the law imposes a legal obligation on parents to support their children. The reason behind the legality of awarding Attorney's Fees is that if a child support Order was entered in favor of a custodial parent, the law does not believe that the custodial parent should have to incur legal fees to enforce a right which the law and the Court has already given to that parent.
However, and as I stated in my previous Answer, if the penalty for a certain act might result in the incarceration of the Defendant, then that Defendant must have a lawyer appointed for him if he tells the Court that he cannot afford a private Attorney.
I realize that this is not exactly the Answer you were hoping for and it would have given me great pleasure to give you the Answer you wanted to hear, but I have an ethical obligation to you to give you only correct Answers and information, so I am respectfully asking that you not hold the law applicable to your boyfriend's situation against me,
My boyfriend had a lawyer the first time he went to jail for this, back in November, but did not have one this time. I guess I need clarification; if there was an "order" for the first charge that the judge entered when he let him out of jail previously, can I get a copy of that somehow, or how would I go about getting a copy? Also, this second time he did not have a lawyer, and the judge did not say anything about his right to have one either. Is this why he was jailing him based on the 1st charge? So that he can't be in trouble for sentencing jail to someone without representation? Would it be against the law for me to write the judge a letter? Sorry for the additional questions. I am trying to help him the best that I can.
In Answer to your questions,
1. You can et a copy of the Order by going to the Office of the Court Clerk, give them the case number of the file you want to see, then make a copy of the Order you are looking for. These are all a matter of public record, so anyone can ask to see the file;
2. I have no way of knowing what the Judge was thinking of when he sentenced your boyfriend;
3. You can write to the Judge, it is not against the law to do so, but I do not know if he will read it.
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