Are Parents and Disabled Veterans being Jailed for Child Support they Cannot Pay and Denied Medications?
Child Support Magistrate Josephine Clark threw a fully disabled veteran, Joshua Jones, in jail on September 14, 2016 for inability to pay a child support order. The sentence she gave him was to sit in jail “indefinitely” until he could pay a purge of $782.00.
According to Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care, It’s estimated that within King County there are 127,000 veterans who have served the U.S. Military. Of these, 20,000 veterans have likely experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Based on national trends, there may be as many as 12,000 of those who are reluctant to seek treatment or support. There are also many thousands of veterans who are experiencing homelessness, poverty and/or unemployment. Additionally, every year up to a thousand veterans return home to King County and face significant transitional challenges due to unemployment and/or serious disabilities.
Clark is married to District Attorney David Clark, who signed the order to hold disabled veteran Joshua in jail. Judges were jailing parents for nonpayment of child support despite the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a guidance letter in 2016 recommending that judges consider other “least restrictive” ways of addressing this, and are not providing proper ability to pay hearings. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded this guidance letter, called the “Dear Colleague Letter on Enforcement of Fines and Fees” (written December 2016), pursuant to executive order 13777.
Twenty-five other guidance documents were rescinded as well.
The list of 25 guidance documents that DOJ has withdrawn in 2017 is as follows:
- ATF Procedure 75-4.
- Industry Circular 75-10.
- ATF Ruling 85-3.
- Industry Circular 85-3.
- ATF Ruling 2001-1.
- ATF Ruling 2004-1.
- Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative Guidelines (2013).
- Northern Border Prosecution Initiative Guidelines (2013).
- Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grants Program Guidance Manual (2007).
- Advisory for Recipients of Financial Assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice on Levying Fines and Fees on Juveniles (January 2017).
- Dear Colleague Letter on Enforcement of Fines and Fees (March 2016).
- ADA Myths and Facts (1995).
- Common ADA Problems at Newly Constructed Lodging Facilities (November 1999).
- Title II Highlights (last updated 2008).
- Title III Highlights (last updated 2008).
- Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business (July 1996).
- ADA Business Brief: Service Animals (April 2002).
- Prior Joint Statement of the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Group Homes, Local Land Use, and the Fair Housing Act (August 18, 1999).
- Letter to Alain Baudry, Esq., with standards for conducting internal audit in a non-discriminatory fashion (December 4, 2009).
- Letter to Esmeralda Zendejas on how to determine whether lawful permanent residents are protected against citizenship status discrimination (May 30, 2012).
- Common ADA Errors and Omissions in New Construction and Alterations (June 1997).
- Common Questions: Readily Achievable Barrier Removal and Design Details: Van Accessible Parking Spaces (August 1996).
- Website guidance on bailing-out procedures under section 4(b) and section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (2004).
- Americans with Disabilities Act Questions and Answers (May 2002).
- Statement of the Department of Justice on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. to State and Local Governments’ Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities (October 31, 2016).
Casualties of Court
Several years back the family courts in Anderson County, Tennessee, made Josh homeless following his divorce. That may have been several years ago, 2012. But the attacks on this veteran by the family courts have not stopped. Josh recently spent a week in jail until he could pay to get out. And he wouldn’t have gotten out then if Kash Jackson with Restoring Freedom hadn’t stepped in and put up a GoFund me page that raised the money within hours to free Joshua Jones. Kash Jackson is a candidate for Governor in Illinois.
Josh says that the other people the magistrate was throwing in jail that day had far less purge amounts set than he did; some were only $100 or less! One might suspect that the courts are punishing Josh for challenging the judge and the state’s authority to weasel their way around the federal laws that protect Veteran’s Disability money. Josh receives this money for his basic necessities and the court’s were denied garnishment in a letter stating that taking this money would create an “undue financial hardship” on this veteran.
Joshua Jones brought the federal laws to his trial court and his apportionment letter showing that he had inability to pay the child support. According to Josh, he was told that the federal laws do not apply. Josh says the judge’s response to him begging the court to apply his apportionment letter and federal laws was, “Well you should have brought this to me sooner.” Josh was floored at this response from the judge. She acted as if he should have known all of this, “as if he was the attorney” Josh said. Josh could not afford an attorney to represent him and a lawyer doesn’t get appointed until after you are sentenced to jail. Child support enforcement is considered quasi-criminal. Josh was sentenced to jail. A quasi-criminal conviction is supposed to be for the purpose of coercing compliance. Many parents will hear a judge tell them that they hold their own key to the jail cell. In Josh’s case this meant he had to come up with just over seven hundred dollars. This is officially called a purge.
Josh’s wife, Jessica, was thrown out of the court by the judge and Josh was left without his wife who is his full time caregiver. Wives have the right to remain with their husband in the courtroom. They are an exception to the witness rule of having to be excluded. When you hear an attorney say that they wish to invoke “the rule,” they are talking about the witness rule that requires that all witnesses who might testify exit the courtroom until they are called. This is so that the witnesses do not parrot other witness testimony and it makes it easier for an attorney to impeach the character of the witnesses when they do not know what questions are being asked or what answers are being given.
Shortly after Josh’s sentencing, Jessica could hear the ex-wife and the ex-wife’s father and mother laughing as they cuffed Josh and took him to jail. After they put Josh in jail, the judge spent a good 15 minutes talking to the ex-wife and her attorney leading Jessica to wonder exactly how deep these relationships go and how far this corruption and collusion really was. Many parents complain that they are the victim of corruption, conspiracy, collusion, and fraud. The appearance of bias is a big deal to the court culture and the court’s power is dependent on the integrity of maintaining the appearance of neutrality. The family courts are failing terribly at this. Parents going through this are so beaten down and struggling to maintain their freedom that they are normally not able to effectively address these issues. The few parents that have tried have had their efforts thwarted, denied, and some have even died. Cole Stuart, an attorney, dedicated his efforts to exposing the corruption in family courts through a RICO suit. His suit failed and shortly after he lost his life. It is a mystery as to what killed Cole. There are rumors that this might have been a suicide. Fighting the family courts even in federal courts takes a toll on the person bringing transparency to the issues. Opposing counsel will stop at nothing to tarnish your reputation, call you names, and accuse you of being an unhappy state court loser.
Josh was stripped of his freedoms that he spent 6 years in the army protecting for all Americans. He was denied protection by the rights that he fought to protect. The court also revoked Josh’s driver’s license the same day that they threw him in jail. He could not drive to his appointments. Josh had a carry permit but that was also revoked by the state of Tennessee. And Josh was not seeing his children. This can be one of the most stressful event in anyone’s life. The American Legion has a 24-hour Veteran’s Crisis Line for any veteran who feels they can no longer cope and may be suicidal. The Father’s Rights Movement also offers suicide hotline support.
JAIL and JOSH’s RELEASE
Josh was put in jail because of a broken system. He never would have been put there if the family courts were not allowed to transform fit parents into second-class citizens. (Learn more about the broken family court system, your rights, and how to use them to protect you and your child and your legal rights by becoming a member here. You can read our books from the membership site digitally, immediately, anytime, from anywhere with an internet connection.)
Josh did not receive his medications for 3 days. He did not receive his anti-depressant for 5 days! He has a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from being blown up by an IED in his Humvee in Iraq and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Josh served this country in the military for 6 years and was honorably discharged around 2010. He was not given a change of clothing for 5 days and wasn’t bathed daily. His wife, Jessica, is his full-time caretaker and says that Josh needs assistance with this. Is this acceptable to anyone reading this to treat our veterans in this manner!
As soon as Josh was jailed, Jessica contacted Greg Parsons and alerted him. Greg Parsons runs a veterans child support group on Facebook and has authored child support motions that he posts for free in this group for veterans to be able to defend themselves against this corrupt and violative practice that the states have adopted and are using to attack not only our veterans but also every parent they create child support orders against. Even with these motions you need to understand your rights. There are so many ways that the courts will attack you. Get educated with a Fix Family Courts membership where you no longer need to purchase the books separately, you can read all of them in one place for one low cost, here.
Greg Parsons did what he does and does so well. He began alerting people to let them know what was going on. One of the people he alerted was me, Sherry Palmer. Sherry then called Kash Jackson and asked Kash if he could find people to get the money together to get Josh out because Sherry was concerned that Josh would not make it not having access to his medications and not having proper care for his condition. Kash (now Illinois Governor candidate for the Libertarian party), like the hero that he is and champion of not only protecting this country’s constitutional rights, took immediate action and created a call to action video he called “Mad as hell” and a GoFundMe page.
The GoFundMe page raised the funds within hours and Josh’s wife was able to get him out of jail the day before her birthday. Josh has a new GoFundMe account to address the basic needs that he is not able to cover for himself. Many fathers experience that they are unable to provide for even their own basic needs. The amount they are charged for child support can exceed what they bring home in their paycheck or disability check. Fathers become victims of this more often than mothers since Mothers still get awarded child custody more often than fathers. While the state statutes say that they do not allow gender discrimination when awarding custody, discrimination is easily concealed through the practices and standards that the courts use under the guise of the best interest of the child (BIC). BIC is based on factors that allow personal bias and prejudice to determine the winner in child custody. The appointment of a Guardian ad litem (GAL), an amicus, or a best interest attorney (BIA) all contribute to these factors as well by producing a child custody evaluation report that is submitted to the court as their recommendations for a child custody award. Unconstitutional invasions of privacy lead to this broken system.
Many parent reform groups like Leading Women for Shared Parenting are investigating the actual number of times that a father or mother is awarded primary custody. Some groups are finding as high as 95% to 98% of the time the mother gets custody over the father in high conflict litigation where the judge decides.
LIFE AFTER JOSH’S RELEASE
It took his wife, Jessica Jones, a year and a half to where Josh was able to function on somewhat of a close to normal range with his PTSD and TBI. The family courts “destroyed that in three days,” Jessica said.
Josh now cannot afford to see his therapist and other care specialists because of the purge payment that the jail required in order to release him.
Josh was forced to take other medications in jail that were not his regular medications. The jail forced him to take blood pressure medication and a different depression medication for several days before providing him his own on the fifth day. Anti-depressant medications typically are not medicines that you can stop cold turkey. Usually you have to taper off an anti-depressant. I don’t know the ramifications of forcing a completely different anti-depressant on someone and then re-starting them back on their regular anti-depressant five days later, but have read that this is not recommended by most physicians and in fact can be dangerous for some medications.
Jessica and Josh will continue to fight to see the children despite being punished to do so. Anderson County and the State of Tennessee is not unique in that all states have a history of treating the parent they labeled as noncustodial like they have no rights and punishing them for fighting for those rights. They continue to call this “in the best interest of the child.”
Josh and Jessica still face an uphill battle and Josh is not out of danger. He can face jail again. Child support is not like other crimes where you pay the price once and you have paid for the crime. Josh never committed any crimes before, and this child support issue has criminalized him. The affects that this will continue to have on Josh’s life are numerous and only time will tell if he will be able to restore these rights over time. The time that Josh has lost with his children is not reparable and can never be restored. The impact that this will have on his relationship with his children cannot be measured and the effects can only be speculated.
This kind of treatment is stressful for a fully functional and healthy person. For someone who has already had their share of trauma, it can be devastating.
All the more reason that the family courts are required to follow the federal law and are required to apply proper due process and procedure according to the 14th amendment and Article VI of the United States Constitution. These rights protect people from courts making grave errors when it comes to making decisions regarding fundamental rights.
What Veterans Should Know About Modifying Child Support:*
Before heading into a hearing on child support enforcement make sure you have done the following:
- Make sure that you have a proper defense. Check your state statutes for what is an acceptable defense. An example of a defense would be an “inability to pay.” Saying that you aren’t paying because they are violating federal law or the constitution does not qualify as inability to pay.
- Have a Habeas Corpus petition ready in case you get put in jail. A habeas can only get you out of jail if the judge is found to have made an incorrect ruling. You will have to prove that the ruling was an abuse of discretion or whatever the error is that you claim. Just make sure that the error is actually one that the appellate court can use to overturn the incarceration order. Sometimes they let you out but require that you have that ability to pay hearing even after you are let out. You could be jailed again if you cannot prove a proper defense.
- Check into doing a collateral attack on whatever child support order they are enforcing. If you believe that the order was issued in violation of federal law then you need to try and get that in front of the judge properly.
- Collateral attacks are very technically difficult.
- Learn your rights and how they work regarding child support. If you do not know the difference between ability to pay and a child support enforcement hearing, or know what a habeas corpus hearing petition is, or how to identify abuse of discretion and violations of due process and are not finding what you need on our blog, contact our customer service. Let them know that you are a fully disabled veteran so that you can be provided with the right resources.
The following caselaw and information has been provided by Greg Parsons:
42 USC Section 1997a – when in jail
42 USC Section 1997c. For the AG
And if you are a Vet or assisting a Veteran in Anderson County: The Anderson County Veterans Service Officer is Leon Jaquet (865) 463- 6803 cell is (865) 556-0997
*DISCLAIMER: We are not attorneys. We do not practice law. This information is not a substitution for an attorney. Please seek the help and advice of an attorney to advise you specifically about your case. We do not know the nuances of your case or whether this information is applicable.
Interview on YouTube supplied by Jeff Morgan.
Kash Jackson of RestoringFreedom2016
Greg Parsons of Disabled Veterans Child Support — See more on Josh’s story here: https://www.facebook.com/WATE6OnYourSide/posts/10157554499870193
Department of Justice letter advising against incarceration as punishment for nonpayment of child support: https://www.justice.gov/crt/file/832461/download