We’ve often discussed the way innocent fathers are harassed, persecuted and sometimes jailed by the child support enforcement system, and here’s another example.
A man was jailed for three months over a petty arrearage created because his now-bankrupt former employer kept the money withheld for child support instead of paying it to the state. According to the Boston ABC report Innocent Man Sent To Jail For Missed Child Support (WCVB TV, 12/3/07):
“Systemic problems allowed an innocent Massachusetts man to be labeled a deadbeat dad and sent to jail.
“Team 5 Investigates’ Rhondella Richardson reported that it happened to John Caliri.
“‘I wake up in the morning and I go to bed at night, knowing that I’ve been in jail because of something I did not do, and I don’t deserve it,’ said Caliri.
“Caliri was sentenced to 90 days in jail after he was accused of falling eight weeks behind on child support payments.
“‘There was a balance of $2,240,’ Caliri said.
“He has proof of a good payment history. But problems came last spring with his new job at Daniel’s Townline Pizza in Weymouth.
“Townline Pizza garnished child support from Caliri’s wages but never sent the money to the Department of Revenue for his ex-wife and three children.
“He went to court last month to explain it all but instead went to jail.
“‘He heard the case, and he found me in contempt, and I was absolutely floored,’ he said.
“Townline Pizza failed financially and closed in July. Manhattan Deli opened in September. The new owner told Team 5 Investigates that the child support issue is just one of the problems the old place had.
“Deli owner Ari Black said bill collectors for food vendors still visit looking for the previous owner.
“For court, the Department of Revenue provided Caliri with a letter stating that $2,240 had been withheld in pay…”
A few comments:
1) Knock me over with a feather–child support enforcement made a mistake.
2) Notice the assembly line justice/lack of due process.
3) This guy goes to jail for three months over a lousy $2,240?
4) How does jailing him over a lousy $2,240 help his kids?
5) As usual, the “deadbeat dad” is not a high-flying rich guy with a Porsche and trophy wife, but instead a low-income man. This “deadbeat” works in a damn pizza parlor, and the system can’t wait for him to fall a little behind so they can toss him in jail.
Thanks to Trevor, a reader, for sending me the piece.