Sunday, March 1, 2009

Indiana Court News: Criminal non-support sentence affirmed

I do not usually write about criminal law cases here, but Court affirms sentence for non-support of 8 kids is a good reminder that the criminal law does play a part in family law:

"A trial court didn't err in imposing three consecutive sentences following a man's guilty plea to three counts of felony non-support of a dependent because his failure to pay didn't constitute a single episode of criminal activity, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

Charles D. Gilliam appealed his 24-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to three counts of Class C felony non-support of a dependent, following his failure to pay child support for his eight children with three different women. Gilliam believed his failure to pay support between Jan. 1, 2001, and December 21, 2004, was just one bad act and arose from a single episode of criminal conduct.

In Charles Dwayne Gilliam v. State of Indiana , No. 71A03-0808-CR-420, the Court of Appeals disagreed with Gilliam's arguments and his reliance on Boss v. State, 702 N.E.2d 782 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998). Boss was charged with non-support of his minor children in 1996; the time periods noted in the charging information were three successive time periods, each separated by a single day. His consecutive sentences were overturned because the charging information alleged his non-support occurred over 'contiguous' or successive periods over a short period of time.

I am going to break a rule and give some advice here: whenever there is a need to modify a child support order, do so. Not doing so leads to contempt citations at best, and prison time at worst. Decide whether the cost for a lawyers outweighs the cost of jail time.

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