A man in Texas was sentenced to six months in jail for a dispute over his child support, even though he’s paid his ex-wife exactly what he owed her.
By the time he was called to Houston court, Clifford Hall had paid his child support in full, including $3,000 in backpay that was not withheld from his paychecks—a mistake caused by administrative error, according to Hall and his attorney.
“I discovered for some reason his employer was withholding a large amount some weeks, a small amount some weeks, [and] a zero amount some weeks,” said Hall’s attorney, Tyesha Elam. “I didn’t want to go to jail basically,” Hall added, noting that he quickly repaid the $3,000.
But not quick enough for Judge Lisa Millard, who ordered that Hall pay an additional $3,000 for his ex-wife’s attorney’s fees. Then, noting that Hall hadn’t followed the court’s schedule for picking up his children—a schedule Elam and Hall said they did not know about—Millard sentenced Hall to six months in jail.
The billionaire creator of Beanie Babies, Ty Warner, will serve two years of probation, including mentoring high school students, following his guilty plea on a tax evasion charge, but no jail time, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
Warner, 69, who pleaded guilty in October, told U.S. District Court Judge Charles Kocoras in Chicago that his crime was the “biggest mistake” of his life. Warner already had agreed to pay a civil penalty of nearly $53.6 million.
Ranked as the 209th richest American by Forbes with a listed net worth of $2.6 billion in 2013, Warner failed to report more than $24.4 million in income and evaded nearly $5.6 million in federal taxes from millions hidden in Swiss bank accounts, according to Chicago prosecutors.
Prosecutors had argued that Warner should serve time in jail given the extent of the cover-up, and federal guidelines called for up to five years in prison.
The 1% really do seem to live in a whole different world than the rest of us, don’t they? Defraud the government in millions of dollars and you get “community service”, which amounts to just continuing the charitable activities you were already doing, while making a few mistakes in a your child support payments gets you sent to jail.
For the record, I’m not even trying to argue that Ty Warner should go to jail, I’m just posting this as one example of the clear inequality of our justice system, and how who you are effects how you’re treated.
When I read the article about Clifford Hall this morning, I can’t say that I was really surprised (it is TEXAS, after all), but I think that’s a shame. Even if there is some more to the story, as some of the commenters in response to that article tried to speculate, the bottom line is that all of his debts have been paid. So why is he still being punished?
Some folks argued that Hall walking out of court, as reported in the article, is grounds for contempt and therefor “he brought this on himself,” but I find that excessive. This whole thing seems effed up to me. Isn’t the whole point of child support supposed to be for the best interests of the child? Well, how the heck is Hall supposed to pay child support for the next 6 months when he’s in jail? And how will this affect his ability to pay in the future, now that he will have a criminal record? Even if his current place of employment holds his job for him, and lets him come back to work once he gets out of jail, the prison record could hurt his chances of getting a better more higher-paying job in the future.
Then there’s also the supreme irony that the judge claims Hall missed a scheduled appointment to pick up his child. So you’re punishing him for not seeing his child by locking him up for 6 months? HOW IS HE SUPPOSED TO SEE HIS CHILD NOW?!? Visits to the prison? Is THAT really the best environment for a child to see his or her father? In what way does this make sense?!? That idiotic judge needs to be impeached, removed from her office, and then have her head examined.
I can’t help but recall the wise words of Grandmaster Melle Mel…
You search for justice and what do you find?
You find just us on the unemployment line.
You find just us sweatin’ from dawn to dusk.
There’s no justice, there is JUST US!