California businessman Steven Zinnel, age 50, thought he could get away with cheating his wife, his two teenage children, and the bankruptcy court, but he was wrong….boy was he wrong! Zinnel and his wife, of Gold River, separated in 1999. By 2001 their uncoupling got even more ugly when he told his wife she would […]
Turner argues that indigent defendants facing incarceration through civil contempt hearings should have the right to appointed counsel under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Turner claims that the Court’s Sixth Amendment cases involving the right to counsel focus on the defendant’s need for the guidance that counsel provides, and the seriousness of the stakes involved. Turner asserts that in In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967), the Court determined that a juvenile is entitled to the right to counsel in civil juvenile delinquency hearings, which may result in institutionalization. The Court reasoned the juvenile had a right to counsel because the hearings could result in incarceration comparable to felony prosecution, and because the juvenile requires counsel to navigate the law and present an adequate defense. Similarly, Turner asserts that the Court determined in Vitek v. Jones that a prisoner has a right to counsel in civil commitment proceedings, because commitment results in a substantial restriction of liberty, and the defendant would likely require counsel to adequately exercise and protect his rights. Turner argues that these cases establish the proposition that a defendant in a civil proceeding facing incarceration has the right to counsel.
Rogers claims that Turner’s proposition is incorrect, because the Due Process clause does not create a presumptive right to counsel in civil cases where the defendant may be incarcerated. Rogers explains that the Court in Gagnon v. Scarpelli, 411 U.S. 778 (1973), held that minors do not have the right to counsel when facing commitment to a mental hospital. The Court found a “presumption that there is no right to appointed counsel in the absence of at least a potential deprivation of physical liberty.” Rogers asserts that Lassiter does not create a presumption of a right of counsel; potential incarceration is not in itself sufficient to create an exception to the general rule that there is no right to counsel in civil cases.
Rogers argues that due process does not require counsel for a defendant in a child-support civil-contempt hearing. In order to provide a complete defense, the defendant need only show that he cannot pay by bringing in tax forms, or employment or doctors’ letters. Rogers claims that defendants do not need counsel because there are relaxed procedural and evidentiary rules, no juries, and technical issues involving the statute of limitations or res judicata rarely arise. Rogers declares that if the defendant in a child support proceeding did have a right to counsel then the proceedings would become unbalanced; the child-support-seeking plaintiff would not have a corresponding right to counsel and likely could not afford to hire a private attorney.
The United States agrees with Rogers that Due Process does not require appointed counsel for defendants in child support civil contempt hearings where the defendant could be imprisoned. Nevertheless, the United States argues for reversal because the judge in this case did not provide the defendant with a way to prove that he could not pay the support, thereby violating due process. Inability to pay is a complete defense to a civil contempt charge for non-payment of child support. The United States contends that due process may be satisfied if the family court implements procedures, such as requiring financial forms, affidavits, or preliminary assessments of the defendant’s ability to pay.
‘‘(b) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.— ‘‘(1) STRATEGIC PLANNING.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Attorney General shall begin to provide technical assistance to States and local governments requesting support to develop and implement the strategic plan required under subsection (a)(6). The Attorney General may enter into agreements with 1 or more non-governmental organizations to provide technical assistance and training under this paragraph. ‘‘(2) PROTECTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Attorney General shall begin to provide technical assistance to States and local governments, including any agent thereof with responsibility for administration of justice, requesting support to meet the obligations established by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall include— ‘‘(A) public dissemination of practices, structures, or models for the administration of justice consistent with the requirements of the Sixth Amendment; and ‘‘(B) assistance with adopting and implementing a system for the administration of justice consistent with the requirements of the Sixth Amendment. ‘‘(3) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—For each of fiscal years 2017 through 2021, of the amounts appropriated to carry out this subpart, not less than $5,000,000 and not more than $10,000,000 shall be used to carry out this subsection.’’. (c) APPLICABILITY.—The requirement to submit a strategic plan under section 501(a)(6) of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as added by subsection (b), shall apply to any application submitted under such section 501 for a grant for any fiscal year beginning after the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
Money Money Money
The times are changing for family court issues. No longer are “Mommies” automatically the preferred custodial parent. Now “Daddies” have about an equal chance at primary custody IF, yes IF, they have the cash.I have watched and read so many divorce cases, and appeals and come away sure in my belief that s/he who has the biggest bankroll will win.
KNOW PROTECT and ASSERT your RIGHTS
There are no “Public Attorney’s” for family court. However I strongly believe THERE SHOULD BE!! In family courts there are no juries for the most part, only a judge, often biased in belief, and I often wonder if influenced by, well I’ll say it, bribery and/or extortion. I say this after reading so many cases where a judge has ignored the best interest of the parties to favor the best financial bottom line. Maybe some of you believe financial strength SHOULD take precedence over a parent who is destitute.
Did we bring this on ourselves by using children/child support to punish ex spouses in contemptuous accusations? In family court it is so often the non-payers who wind up in jail for their failure to pay. The court seemingly indifferent to the non-payers life circumstance such as loss of job, disability, or the fact that the children the court demands support for LOATHES the parent (usually due to PAS and rarely by fault of their own)
Who would want to put out half their income, often living in squalor, so a child taught to hate them could have a new car, braces to make them beautiful, music lessons for their pleasure, or worse, money for the alcohol which their custodial parent consumes far too much of?
5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Amendments SHOULD Apply
I contend that any legal process that could result in the loss of your freedom should be covered by the Bill of Rights as equally as it is applied in Criminal Court; and go a step farther to state that some actions in divorce cases should be criminalized, ESPECIALLY Parental Alienation.
Parental Alienation charges should be available OUTSIDE family court such that not strictly former spouse, but anyone caught or proven to have harmed a parent child relation should be open for civil liability and in some cases, criminal charges.
Want to discuss this? please click discuss criminalizing PAS
Originally posted on Children’s Rights: We the people of the Great State of Florida do hereby request that our current #GovernorScott issue the following executive orders. It is within his power to do so. 1. An immediate executive order inacting the alimony language as part of the now VETOED #SB668 since #GovernorScott has expressed…
A general view of The Ministry of Justice building Joanna Morris / Thursday 3 December 2015 / News Published Thursday 3 December 2015 / News THE family courts are damaging children and vulnerable families by failing to enforce their own orders, says a Darlington woman. The woman, who did not want to be named, and […]
CALLING All Women Whose Kids Were Taken Away & Given to Fathers: MainStreamMedia (MSM) Is Listening!
Many National Mainstream Media Investigative Journalists, both TV and print, have recently contacted Cindy Dumas, Director of The Women’s Coalition, about the epidemic of children taken from women and given to fathers, many of whom are physically or sexually abusive.
MSM wants to know the extent of the crisis so this social media event has been set up for all women to get their voices heard. Editors, reporters and producers will be reading the posts and comments so please let them know how this has negatively impacted your life!
There are three ways you can participate:
1. Join the event and post about your case.
2. Comment, Like and SHARE posts
3. Send an email to
with a one page or less summary of your case. Put MSM in the subject line. [TWC will keep name confidential if it is requested.]
NOTE: It can be very brief if you’re short on time, something like:
“I am my children’s primary bond, but they were taken away from me when they were 8 and 10 and sole custody was given to the father who was abusive to them. I have been restricted to supervised visits and have been bankrupted fighting for them. We have been destroyed by the system.”
If you sent one for the UN Complaint, you can use that summary.
If you want anonymity TWC will post it for you.
Use a photo for more impact.
WHO should participate: Any woman who was the primary nurturer of her child(ren) and lost primary custody to a father (whether he was abusive or not)–even if joint custody was awarded–without a fair hearing.
NOTE: One journalist is especially interested in Massachusetts cases and two are especially interested in cases where the mothers went into hiding.
ONE PAGE SUMMARY (optional):
• You were/are the primary nurturing parent
• How many children were taken
• What false accusations were used
• What kind of visitation you got, if any
• How long you went without seeing your kids
• What kind of abuse was involved, if any
• Whether your evidence was covered up or disregarded
• Whether you were coerced into silence; by whom
• Which officials involved: DA’s, law enforcement, social services, family court officials, psychologists, therapists, etc. (names optional);
• Whether you/your kids suffered trauma symptoms
• Whether you were financially devastated
• Whether your career was damaged or destroyed
• How you feel about what was done to you and your children
Please SHARE this event so MSM is deluged with cases!!