Statement of Steve Cloer, Norcross, Georgia
The information presented in this document is my personal submission only and not on behalf of any group or organization.
Taxpayer Waste, Fraud and Abuse
After several years of research on the family, marriage, social policy and legal issues related to the family, this is a brutally candid assessment of one of the greatest areas of social collapse of our age. Today’s family law and child support system, coupled with many of the other social policies surrounding male—female relationships results in the government subsidizing the breakdown and eventual collapse of the family. Divorce and ‘‘Child’’ support serves as a major primary support tools to promote single-parent families, resulting in the decay of the cornerstone of our society; an intact, functioning family.
We know that today through social science evaluations of the numerous maladies it promotes, fatherless families are one of the most destructive arrangements for children in society. America’s fatherlessness crisis is primarily by judicial making with the cooperation of the legions of lawyers and bureaucrats who profit from family destruction. Current child support practices across the country, in nearly every state, promote fraud and abuse. Most of the state practices promote and encourage the same fatherlessness mess to collect child support—under the Trojan Horse of the ‘‘best interests of the children’’ we’re subsidizing the most child destructive system in our nation’s history. Today’s child support system exists to subsidize singlemother households at the expense of their children and society’s interest in marriage for the purpose of financial gain by the state as well as those facilitating the creation of this situation such as lawyers, psychologists, case workers, child support recipients, and many others.
There are a number of verifiable examples of serious fraud and abuse by the states in the following areas:
- States fraudulently certifying child support collection practices pursuant to 42 USC 602 et seq., while there is a substantial amount of public information to demonstrate that these certifications are false.
- Refusing to prosecute for FELONY PERJURY in relation to paternity fraud with married (or formerly married) spouses so as not to have to report these births at any time as ‘‘out of wedlock’’. Thereby fraudulently collecting additional bonus monies for compliance under 42 USC 603 et seq. (for reducing illegitimate births)
- Perjury in and of itself has been repeatedly held to be a type of fraud in every court (state or federal) in the land. Refusal to prosecute welfare recipients for fraud in paternity actions is a violation of 42 USC 608.
- Lack of the states to ‘‘ensure that their application results in the determination of appropriate child support award amounts’’ pursuant to the requirements of 42 USC 667(a), following the requirements under 45 CFR 302.56(c)(1) and (h).
- Suspending the Non Custodial Parent’s (NCP) driver’s license even after a petition had been timely filed in violation of 42 USC 666(a)(16) regarding drivers license suspensions.
- Refusing to comply with 45 CFR 303.8 to review and adjust child support obligations downward.
- Refusing to comply with the Federal Consumer’s Credit Protection Act and protect a Non Custodial Parent’s (NCP’s) self support reserve from garnishment. Violating Fair Federal Consumer Credit Reporting by not reporting arrearages, so that NCP’s are unable to contest them.
- Refusing to adhere to public record laws, and refusal to produce copies of the non-custodial parent’s own records with the child support agency.
- Violating basic principles of law such as jailing non-custodial parents for civil contempt when they do not have the resources to purge—, reinstituting a ‘‘debtor’s prison’’.
- Jailing non-custodial parents without providing them with a public defender when there is a threat of jail.
- Denying equal access to an attorney for non-custodial parents as the custodial parents have the attorneys of the state Child Support Enforcement. The noncustodial parents frequently have no attorney, and legal aid will not help.
- Refusal by state courts to allow or enforce basic legal discovery so a true and correct child support obligation could be determined, based on both parents incomes.
Today’s practices all across the country are analogous to the circumstances that gave rise to the Civil Rights acts 1 and 2 (later partially codified as 42 USC 1983 through 1986). These protections were necessary because of the widespread abuse by the courts and the entire legal system. Today, it is mainly fathers who are today’s political targets, and the data bears out that the majority of these fathers are blacks and minorities.
America’s family law courts are no longer about the law, they represent complete perversions of the legal maxims and ideals that American law was founded upon. We have a system which no longer obeys its own laws. The reprehensible evil of being rewarded for one’s wrongs, and of punishing the innocent have been firmly entrenched in the state’s family courts.
When will federal legislation hold governmental and non-governmental individuals (judges included) personally liable for these abuses as well as the attendant taxpayer fraud and waste? Colonel Mason from the Federal Convention on July 20, 1787 best summed this up asking ‘‘Shall any man be above Justice? Above all shall that man be above it, who can commit the most extensive injustice?’’
Draconian enforcement and police powers have been given to the states and Federal Government to persecute parents, for nothing more than being parents and having children. There are NO checks or balances to correct the widespread abuses at all levels of government. Many of these abuses underlie today’s crisis of fatherlessness, a crisis almost exclusively of government making through social policies and government programs such as child support enforcement which results in the corrosion of the family.
States exercise an unprecedented power and control over the most intimate details of people’s lives. A power and control that Alexander Hamilton repudiated when he said that ‘‘a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.’’ Free societies repudiate such actions against a man’s subsistence. Our Founding Fathers understood well that it was the means to tyranny in government. Widespread Paternity Fraud promoted by the States
The paternity fraud problem is very serious with indications that paternity tests show that nearly 30% of the fathers named are not the parent. While paternity establishments have hit record levels, in LA County over 70% of those paternity establishments are by default.
California has frequently exceeded a 100% compliance rate since welfare reform made it profitable California led the nation in collecting $198 million ABOVE their administration costs for establishing paternity in 1998, which becomes a windfall to the state. Governor Gray Davis of California has demonstrated an AMAZING paternity establishment rate of 123% in 1998, somehow finding some 34,000 paternity establishments in excess of the out of wedlock births! And just how does one exceed a 100% compliance rate and gain more than 100% of administrative costs in a program that does not pay 100% of the administrative costs except by fraud? In fact, a paternity fraud bill made it to the Governor’s desk to be signed, in his veto, he FULLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT HE WAS AWARE OF THE FRAUD
THAT WAS TAKING PLACE when he said ‘‘I recognize that paternity fraud is a serious issue and has the potential of damaging an individual’s livelihood . . .’’. He also recognized his state’s dependence on the Federal Child Support incentive money to CONTINUE THE FRAUD!!
One California CBS television station’s promo on paternity fraud noted ‘‘[i]t’s like you’re in a debtor’s prison at the hands of the government, in this case the D.A.’s office.’’ California’s example is certainly one of the more egregious making it easier to document, yet this type fraud and abuse takes place to some extent in virtually every state in the Nation.
The Boston Globe, a New York Times Company, has condemned the state run child support racket. Commenting on a surprising opinion, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ignored a mother’s perjury then demanded an innocent man pay child support after proof the child wasn’t his, refused to correct the matter, and set a precedent promoting perjury and fraud.
SHE TOLD HIM he was the little girl’s father, and he believed her . . . [W]hen Cheryl was 5 . . . he finally took her for a DNA test. When it confirmed that he wasn’t her father, he asked to be released from child support. Now that the truth was known, he argued, it wouldn’t be fair to keep making him pay for another man’s child.
Last week the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court gave him its answer:
Shut up and keep paying.
‘‘The law places on men the burden to consider carefully the permanent consequences that flow from an acknowledgment of paternity,’’ the court held. ‘‘He waited too long to challenge his paternity.’’
And what burden, you might wonder, does the law place on women? A burden to tell the truth when asked to identify a child’s father? A burden not to trick a young man into forfeiting tens of thousands of dollars that he doesn’t owe? A burden not to deceive the courts?
Nope, none of the above. To judge from the court’s opinion, a woman like Cheryl’s mother is under no obligation at all. The justices who decided this case say nothing—not one word—about her dishonesty or the immense hardship she has inflicted on an innocent man. There is no hint that they disapprove of a woman who bears a child out of wedlock, then falsely names a former boyfriend as the father so she can go on welfare.
She may have been the liar, the court seems to believe, but he is the one who is guilty—guilty of not seizing the ‘‘opportunity to undergo genetic testing before he acknowledged paternity’’ and of not having ‘‘promptly challenged the paternity judgment’’ once he suspected he might not be Cheryl’s real father
None of that gives the justices pause because they are focused on something else . . . His money . . . [Commenting on the need for him to continue paying for someone else’s child the reporter noted]. In short, it’s OK to keep ripping him off because she needs the money.
But the swindle must go on, says the court, because someone else needs his money. In the court’s view, he is not a wronged man with a compelling plea for relief. He is an ATM machine.
But how the mighty are fallen. There was a time when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was renowned for its legal brilliance, when it was the court other courts relied on in abandoning unworthy precedents. Today it is a follower, not a leader, hiding behind unjust decisions elsewhere to rationalize injustice of its own.
This precedent encourages the erosion of trust in relationships and marriages that is necessary for these relationships to survive—; if a man practices the Massachusetts prescription for paternity testing on suspicion of the other spouse at child birth, a very stressful time in a relationship, the erosion of trust could destroy marriages and families. On the other hand, if a father does NOT do this, and it is later determined that the mother was unfaithful and/or a perjurer (a FELONY in most states), she is REWARDED WITH PAYMENT FOR SEX. One lawyer, who wishes not to be named for fear of retaliation, has even referred to civil courts dealing with family issues all across the country as ‘‘PERJURY PALACES!’’ To be candid here—; this is nothing more than legalized prostitution, sanctioned and enforced by the state judicial courts through their contempt and police powers—, under threat of jail for non-compliance. Even much worse is the using of a child, and sometimes the creation of a child, to obtain financial gain—one of the most severe and immoral types of child abuse imaginable!
The General Accounting Office
The General Accounting Office (GAO) has also found problems with mismanagement of Child Support Funds. ‘‘[I]n an audit of the D.C. Superior Court, the GAO found that the court did not properly account for funds in half of its 18 bank accounts, including the child support account. In its October 1999 report to Congress, the GAO concluded there was no assurance that funds collected for child support were appropriately disbursed, nor could the court provide assurance that there were no duplicate payments or misappropriated funds. In other words, even when support payments were withheld from their wages and forwarded to the court, non-custodial parents could still have fallen into the deadbeat category. Worse, the money might not have reached the children for whom it was intended.’’
Howard University Political Science professor Stephen Baskerville, has written an insightful piece on the divorce and child support ‘‘industry’’;
The government claims a crisis of unpaid child support. Leading scholars have declared these claims to be everything from a ‘‘myth’’ to a ‘‘hoax.’’ Yet some in the Bush administration seem determined to continue the failed policies of the Clinton years. Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently announced mass arrests of parents he says have disobeyed government orders.
The Clinton administration’s ‘‘Project Save Our Children’’ illustrates that more political chicanery is perpetrated in the name of children than any other cause. The secretary has begun a ‘‘nationwide sweep’’ to arrest (what he calls) the ‘‘most wanted deadbeat parents.’’ By the government’s own figures, however, the ‘‘worst of the worst’’ amount to only 69 fathers worthy of prosecution.
Even assuming these few men may be scoundrels, why don’t authorities simply arrest them and be done with it? Why all the fanfare from the Federal Government? Perhaps because these prosecutions are political.
‘‘We will find you,’’ President Clinton would intone against fathers. ‘‘We will make you pay.’’ In Maryland, government billboards announce, ‘‘We’re Looking for You, Child Support Violators.’’ No government warns bank robbers or drug dealers that the government is watching them. This is not law enforcement: It is terrorism.
‘‘More notable than any one arrest,’’ we are told, is the ‘‘message that the administration is sending’’ that it will use federal agents to enforce divorce. In other words, the aim is not to prosecute lawbreakers but to spread fear. Terrorizing citizens into obeying its orders is not an appropriate role of government in a free society, even when the orders are legitimate.
In this case, the orders are not legitimate. They are creations of a divorce industry eager to encourage divorce by making it more lucrative. A child support ‘‘obligation’’ is simply what judges and bureaucrats decide a father must pay to have his children taken away.
Most divorces are filed by women (70–80%), usually with no legal grounds. Most obligors have therefore done nothing to incur the imputed obligation, which is set by the same enforcement personnel who collect it. These officials have a financial and political interest in separating children from their fathers, imposing impossible child support burdens, and then arresting parents who inevitably fail to pay. These activities are all being subsidized by the Federal Government in the way of financial incentives and reimbursements to the state pursuant to 42 USC 655, 655a, 658, 658a.
By the government’s own account, what is billed as ‘‘child support’’ is little short of plunder. Among those arrested was a man earning all of $39,000 a year and ordered to pay $350 a week for one child, almost two-thirds of his likely take-home pay.
These men have no hope for a fair trial; they have already been pronounced guilty in the media by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with no platform to reply in their own defense.
The divorce industry has corrupted local government throughout America. Now its poison is reaching up to the highest levels of our government. The administration is soiling its hands in some of the worst sludge left by the Clintons.
In the Georgia 2002 legislative session a bill was under consideration for changes in the child support guidelines, in part to make them adhere to the actual cost of raising a child. As a reaction to this the Marietta Daily Journal reported Assistant Attorney General Nina Edidin stating that; ‘‘Georgia will loose millions in child support enforcement if the guidelines are changed’’. What this statement has effectively exposed is that the current guidelines are so unfair, that it is lucrative for the state to have guidelines that cannot be reasonably met by those who are subjected to them. The unfair guidelines result in financial incentives and necessary child support enforcement efforts that are reimbursed by the Federal Government’s Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) funding to the state pursuant to 42 USC 655, 655a, 658, 658a.
My Personal Experience
In my own personal experience with the courts in Gwinnett County Georgia, I have found that established law is generally ignored at will and the courts do as they desire. In one of my own cases, #02–A–9061–6, I filed a modification for child support and alimony in August 2002. The court ignored all of my motions, including two motions requesting temporary hearings to provide temporary relief. These motions were never responded to by the court in any way despite their duty to do so within 90 days under O.C.G.A. 15–6–21(b). This is one of the few statutes that identify a violation of this statute by a judge to be an impeachable offense. A review of the court records revealed that this particular court had ruled on motions for temporary hearings in other similar modification cases but the judge, Gwinnett County Georgia Superior Court Judge Fred A. Bishop, refused to do so in my case. In addition to the Georgia statue, the Federal statute, 42 U.S.C. 666(a)(2), requires the state to be expeditious with child support modifications. Needless to say, the resulting delay of my modification put me in a position where my situation grew worse and I fell behind in child support and alimony payments. After seven months from filing this modification action, with no relief, I was incarcerated for civil contempt for failure to pay child support (case 03–A–1899–6).
Although O.C.G.A. 9–11–12 provides 30 days in which to respond to a complaint, the contempt was heard by the court only 24 days after the complaint was filed. I objected to the hearing continuing and requested my 30 days, but Judge Bishop continued with the hearing anyway. If I had been allowed the 30 day period I am entitled to under Georgia law, I would have purged myself of the arrears from resources from my retirement account as well as completed my defensive answer. It is interesting that the Georgia Statutes define the source of child support as coming from income, not retirement accounts, but this method of access to an obligor’s additional assets are accomplished everyday in the courts. Additionally interesting is that that a modification can’t be heard in seven months after numerous requests to do so but a contempt that will produce income for the state can be heard in about three weeks. A result of this intentional delay was that the state received child enforcement reimbursements for the State from Federal TANF funding pursuant to 42 USC 655, 655a, 658, 658a. If the motions were heard in a timely manner the arrears would not have been as great—and the state would not have received amounts in proportion to the amount of arrears. Is this the operation of justice or an act of abuse to acquire funding for the state at the expense of taxpayers? Regardless of the actual intent of the delay, the result was the acquisition of funds by the state from TANF funding by the unfair manipulations of the process of law in this case.
The most expensive WAR ON FAMILIES, FATHERS, AND MARRIAGE in history
Child support constitutes the most expensive war waged on the family the world has ever known. If we are to accept current claims by politicians that some $100 BILLION dollars in child support is owed (though US House records indicate it may be some $78+ BILLION), then we must look at the corollary to this claim. How much HAS been paid?
Approximately 80% of all child support has been paid historically in America. America also has one of, if not the highest rate of child support compliance in the world and the remainder of child support is owed by those who generally are unable to pay. The difference in today’s lower compliance rates for child support can be attributed to a number of factors;
- The amount of paternity fraud throughout the United States with judicial refusals to prosecute for FELONY perjury (as it is a FELONY in many states).
- The sheer number and staggering percentage of default judgments in several states.
- Continued arrearages for deceased obligors, those in jail or prison, and those with wages so low and debt so high that it can never be repaid (as interest continues to accrue in many states ensuring they will NEVER be able to comply).
- Judicial refusal to allow downward adjustments even when obligers are unemployed.
- The refusal of nearly every state in the country to comply with the quadrennial reviews required by 42 USC 667 and provide real economic data for child support awards, thereby relying on inflated and arbitrary ‘‘guidelines’’.
- The intensifying of misandrist (male hating) propaganda by judges, lawyers, feminists, and politicians promoting ruthless ‘‘child’’ support which includes hidden alimony by way of guidelines based on no foundation of what it costs to raise a child but clearly exceeding any reasonable such expense.
- Judicial promotion of fatherlessness and its attendant social disorders by refusing to enforce visitation or custody orders while jailing for a child support order. Even though there is a considerable amount of social studies data indicating that ENFORCING VISITATION ORDERS SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASES CHILD SUPPORT COMPLIANCE RATES!
This last statement is important. It is essentially the crux of the issue. If child support compliance is the goal, there is a considerable amount of research demonstrating compliance is DIRECTLY tied to both parenting time by BOTH PARENTS AND enforcement of visitation orders.
American courts routinely award custody to mothers approximately 85–90% of the time thereby disenfranchising fathers and turning them into child support obligors. Historical data shows about 66%–80% or more of compliance with child support. Yet many politicians harp about a $100 BILLION dollar arrearage amount. If this were true, it would translate into the $100 BILLION representing the remaining 20%–34% of all child support obligations. Therefore, the amount of ‘‘child’’ support that HAS BEEN PAID (for the purpose of ‘‘privately’’ subsidizing single-parent homes) is approximately;
$100 BILLION/34% = $294,117,647,058 $100 BILLION/20% = $500,000,000,000
If we consider the $78 BILLION that the US House indicates is the accurate arrearage, applying the same formula demonstrates;
$ 78 BILLION/34% = $229,411,764,706 $78 BILLION/20% = $390,000,000,000
Somewhere around 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 of a TRILLION dollars has been collected JUST IN CHILD SUPPORT! This does not even include the legal fees, property distributions, expert fees, CSE fees, judges, administrators, jail cells for delinquent obligers, police, alimony, taxpayer funded poverty lawyers, prosecutors, costs of maintaining two residences, costs of separation, etc., extracting fees from broken relationships or from destroying families. If it were possible to factor in all of the costs, including the social costs of fatherlessness on destructive social behaviors, this figure could easily be many times higher, possibly exceeding ONE TRILLION DOLLARS!
American government at all levels (state and federal, legislative and judicial) has waged the most ruthlessly brutal and expensive war on fathers and families in the history of the world. The financial costs America’s state and Federal Governments are paying to obliterate families and fathers is mind numbing. All of this has been paid for by the American taxpayer!
‘‘Paying child support, visiting and participating in childrearing decisions are activities that ‘go together’. . . Fathers who engage in any one of those three activities are likely to engage in the other two activities perhaps to maintain parallel responsibilities with those fulfilled by fathers who live with their children.’’ (pg. 96, Col. 2, 3, Lines 4–11) Relationships between Fathers and Children Who Live Apart: The Father’s Role after Separation—Judith A. Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, No. 1, February 1991.
‘‘Paternal visitation has been found to consistently be positively related to payment of child support’’ (pg. 134, col. 1, 2, lines 16–18) The Role of Paternal Variables in Divorced and Married Families—Amanda Thomas and Rex Forehand, American Journal of Othopsychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 1, January 1993.
‘‘90.2% of fathers with joint custody pay the child support due.’’ (pg. 7, col. 1, 2, lines 1–2) U.S. Bureau of the Census: 1988.
‘‘79.1 % of fathers with visitation privileges pay the child support due.’’ (pg. 7, col. 1, 2, lines 2–3) U.S. Bureau of the Census: 1988.
See also Daniel R. Meyer, Compliance with Child Support Orders in Paternity and Divorce Cases (Institute for Research on Poverty, Madison, Wisconsin, 1997).
Deena Mandell, Fathers Who Don’t Pay Child Support: Hearing Their Voices, 23 Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 85 (1995).
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Current Population Report 3/99 (P60–196 Child Support For Custodial Mothers and Fathers: 1995), there are 11.6 Million Custodial Mothers (85%).
Child support is our system for replacing fathers with money. Everyone, including mothers, would be better off if we replaced money with fathers. Replace child support with a supporting parent. Children would get the emotional benefit of a father, and the [benefit] of all the father’s resources.’’ The social costs of fatherless children include: filling prisons, causing psychological problems, suicide, psychosis, gang activity, rape, physical and sexual child abuse, violence against women, general violence, alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, lower academic achievement, school dropouts, relationship instability, gender identity confusion, runaways, homelessness, cigarette smoking, and any number of corrosive social disorders (see footnote 1).
Ron Paul has noted that ‘‘[w]ithout the destructive effects of the welfare state, there would be little need for federal programs to promote responsible fatherhood.’’ When will we finally begin to correct ‘‘the vast left wing conspiracy?’’
The More Important Costs
With the divorce rate rising daily and in the range of 1,000,000 per year, a fourfold increase since 1950, the effects can be seen in the increase of our society’s ills. Such increases track the divorce statistics in parallel. Using the 1,000,000 conservative figure, and considering 2.3 children per household, there are 2,300,000 children that are victims of divorce each year. Custody of children is awarded to the mother in 85% of cases. This means the system creates 1,955,000 children per year that will grow up in a household without a father! This translates to over 7,500 children per day the courts remove children from their fathers for each of the 260 days a year courts are in session! The fatherless situation produces this;
- 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes (Source: S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
- 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes (Source: Rainbows for all God’s Children.)
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
- 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403–26, 1978)
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
- 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)
The costs to society as a result of a system that encourages broken families and removes fathers by providing taxpayer funding to do so exceeds any amount that can be expressed in dollars.
- Federal Child Support programs must be tied more directly to the enforcement of existing court orders for parental access (visitation). Peer reviewed study after study has shown that as much as 90% of the child support is paid when disenfranchised parents have joint custody, and nearly 80% compliance when with access to their children (see footnote 19).
- Child support funding rules must require states to penalize litigants for ignoring the routine perjury all across the country. Not only is it a FELONY in many states, and the ignoring of it technically MISPRISON OF FELONY, it promotes the misuse of both federal and state taxpayer funds. The routine allowance of un-prosecuted perjury in state courts gives incentives for family breakdown and societal disorder by promoting a type of ‘‘banana republic best liar wins’’ legal system—; it is then backed with the full police power of the state for enforcement encouraged and rewarded by financial incentives at the tax payer’s expense.
Paternity fraud can no longer be tolerated or funded with federal taxpayer money.
When considering the technicalities of paternity fraud, it is a form of repackaged prostitution supported and enforced with the police power of the state. Suggesting that there are ‘‘common law traditions’’ for this, as some courts have, is a fallacy. It is little more than an ignorant, or worse yet, intentional misconstruing of maxims of law to promote the fraudulent and immoral collection of taxpayer money at the expense of families and especially children.
The current taxpayer funded child support system does not only encourage taxpayer fraud by the states at the expense of our society’s health but also encourages the abuse and atrocities to the family that are a companion element of a system that is depreciating day by day any confidence and faith the American people have in a fair and impartial judicial system and government.
Statement of Bruce Eden, Fathers Rights Association of New Jersey & MidAtlantic Region, Wayne, New Jersey
- The Waste
In June of 2003, the State of New Jersey conducted a statewide sweep arresting over 1000 parents allegedly owing child support. These statewide sweeps are conducted through a Cooperative Agreement between the New Jersey Division of Family Development, the New Jersey child support enforcement agency and welfare agency funded for this purpose, and the county sheriffs’ departments throughout the State. Based on these agreements sheriffs go out and arrest parents (in 98–99% of all cases the parent is usually the male—gender discrimination fraud) on computergenerated ‘‘bench warrants’’.
Below is the story of the latest New Jersey statewide sweep showing that the arrests are an abject failure, a waste of hard-earned taxpayers’ monies, a fraud being perpetrated on taxpayers and innocent people through the violation of their constitutional rights to be protected under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution for the United States of America, and abuse of the people by the government that is supposed to protect them.
Sunday, July 20, 2003
BY JUNE KIM
Last month, county sheriff’s officers arrested hundreds of ‘‘deadbeat parents’’ over a three-day period known as the ‘‘Non-Support Sweep.’’ But while the dramatic operation may have garnered much-needed attention for the problem, results show it is not the most efficient method of collecting money for children of broken homes.
In five counties surveyed by The Star-Ledger, approximately $2,225,240 was owed by 157 people rounded up during the sweeps, but only $71,258 was collected, according to court records. Collection rates varied in the counties surveyed by the paper, but all reported low-yielding results.
In Morris County, 26 people were rounded up. Together, they owed $208,338, but only $14,518 was collected, averaging payments of approximately $558 each. In Union County, 23 people were rounded up. Together they owed $406,811, but only $30,834 was collected, averaging payments of approximately $1,341 each.
County law enforcement receives state funding for the operation based on the amount of debt collected during previous sweeps. The funding reimburses the cost of the sweeps as well as money for child-support operations throughout the year. While money collected during the sweeps may not be significant, state officials believe the biannual raids spur publicity that sparks others to pay. ‘‘It’s hard to quantify, but we do believe that there is an effect from the raids,’’ said Joe Landers, chief of client and central services in New Jersey’s Child Support Enforcement unit. ‘‘If there’s someone who’s teetering, ‘Am I going to pay or not,’ all of a sudden, some of these people start paying.’’
The sweep process involves not only the early morning arrests, but also the coordination of municipal law enforcement as well as county probation and court officers. Finding the individuals falls under the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s offices, but extracting the money comes down to the courts. ‘‘Once we do our job, then it’s up to the judge to listen to the story in front of them as to how to handle it,’’ said Middlesex County Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo. ‘‘Obviously there
are circumstances that I don’t know about.’’ After being arrested, individuals are given a hearing and are held in jail until 10 percent of the arrears are paid.
But Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said there are cases where people simply cannot afford to pay and keeping them in jail costs taxpayers more money.
‘‘With no one making any payments or restitution, it doesn’t make any sense,’’ Fontoura said. ‘‘There’s the additional burden of housing them, feeding them and taking care of them, which is very expensive for taxpayers.’’ Fontoura sees these cases quite often in Essex County, which has the highest percentage of individuals in poverty in New Jersey.
‘‘In our county, we offer what America offers—the poorest of the poor and richest of the rich. Usually the poorest of the poor are not working, have no prospects for employment or might be on welfare. After awhile we start to spin our wheels,’’ said Fontoura. Sheriff’s offices are given the freedom to conduct the raids with methods they feel work best in their county. The Essex County Sheriff’s Department does not assign many officers to the raids and instead tries to take a more strategic approach during their sweep.
‘‘We try to be practical and reasonable and direct ourselves to those who might have some ability to meet their obligation,’’ Fontoura said.
The problem seen in New Jersey reflects a national trend. According to 2002 data from the federal office of Child Support Enforcement, twothirds of those who owe child support earned less than $10,000 last year.
Morris County, on the other hand, has one of the highest median income levels in the state (second only to Hunterdon) and one of the lowest populations of individuals in poverty. Instead of spending money on sending out officers to knock on doors, the sheriff’s office has had some success simply calling people at home. During the June raids, 19 of the 26 warrants satisfied in Morris County were for individuals who had turned themselves in after phone calls to their residences.
‘‘It’s a more efficient use of our time instead of going all around the county knocking on doors,’’ said Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford. ‘‘We’re a different kind of county—one of the most affluent counties in the United States,’’ said Rochford. ‘‘And I think that’s why we have a little bit of success with the child support.’’
Along with the raids, however, sheriffs in several counties emphasized the importance of attacking the problem on a daily basis. For some counties, executing child-support warrants while serving warrants on suspects in other crimes is more cost effective.
To help the unemployed with family support obligations, New Jersey’s Office of Child Support has established the Benchcard Initiative. The program provides job development skills to help parents meet their child-support payments.
The most successful method of collecting child support is by withholding the amount directly from a parent’s paycheck. In fiscal year 2002, the New Jersey Office of Child Support collected $554,940,301 through this method. Child-support payments also are intercepted through unemployment checks, federal and state tax returns, license suspensions and even lottery winnings. In 2002, $639.4 million of the estimated $983.7 million due in support was collected.
However, according to the Office of Child Support, there is approximately $1.9 billion of payments in arrears since the late 1970s, when the office began tracking the data. Some of this debt can be tracked to inefficiencies in the child-support enforcement system, which is working with approximately 296,100 childsupport cases.
Probation offices charged with enforcing the payment orders from the court are understaffed and are working with antiquated computer systems from the 1980s, Landers said.
Karen Sims, a single mother of three, has been working with a probation officer since 1993, when she first filed a motion for child-support enforcement. She is owed $55,431.70 in back payments from her ex-husband, but continues working with her case worker despite the frustration.
‘‘He’s got his hands tied because he’s got so many cases’’ said Sims, an Old Bridge resident. ‘‘He can’t say, ‘Mr. Sims, we need that dollar today.’’’
In the case of South Plainfield resident Debbie Kamen, the frustration built to a point where she began looking for other avenues of help. She approached a private investigator to help find her ex-husband, who owed her $57,766. Private investigator John Carroll agreed to take her case pro bono and tracked down her husband, Jerry Kamen, in North Livingston on July 14. After her long wait, it took four minutes for the Union County court to rule that her husband
must come forward with at least 10 percent of the unpaid child support. As of Friday, unable to come up with the $5,780, Kamen was still being held in jail. Sims, who cannot afford the help of a private investigator, still hopes that her husband will be caught in one of the sweeps. But she’s not expecting to see any of the child-support money anytime soon. ‘‘I call it my retirement fund. Maybe by the time I retire, I’ll get some of it.’’
June Kim works in the Union County bureau. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (908) 302–1500.
On average most states do not collect child support or minimal amounts by arresting alleged ‘‘deadbeat dads’’. However, the so-called ‘‘deadbeat dad’’ hysteria is nonexistent. In an 8-year longitudinal study done by Dr. Sanford Braver of the University of Arizona, it was found that less than 5% of all child support debtors are true ‘‘deadbeats’’. The rest are unable to comply with onerous orders not based on the reality of costs of raising children, but on the parents’ incomes. This method of calculation is derived from former Soviet communist family law and does not comport with our republican form of government. Use of child support guidelines on the basis of Soviet-style income-shares guidelines is treasonous and anti-American. It is a waste of taxpayer’s money to force people to pay more than they can and then arrest them and incarcerate them at a cost that ranges between $75 per day to $200 per day on average.
Plus, taxpayers are footing the bill for sheriffs’ officers to go out an use overtime, wear and tear on police cars, etc. Based on recent numbers in New Jersey, each county expends $60,000 per month to go out and arrest child support debtors. They rarely ever collect that total amount from those arrested.
- The Fraud
Arresting parents who are child support debtors is an immense fraud. It is a violation of Constitutional Rights, most specifically the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America. Arresting someone for owing a divorcerelated child support debt is arresting someone for a ‘‘civil’’ matter. In New Jersey, as in every other state, there are laws that prohibit all law enforcement officers from arresting people in civil matters. Why? Because there is no probable cause that a crime is being committed or has been committed. And, in every case, there is never a sworn affidavit attached to the purported ‘‘warrants’’ that they use to arrest people for child support. There are never any true ‘‘warrants’’ for arresting for child support. They are in fact orders of the court that purport to be made into warrants—all without probable cause or complaining witnesses. Herein lies the abuse. C. The Abuse
Every violation of a fundamentally secured right costs the taxpayers in some shape or form. These violations, in arresting child support debtors, is abusive to those arrested and to the taxpayers footing the bills to run the wasteful child support enforcement bureaucracy and the sheriffs going out and jailing people in a civil matter.
There is no probable cause in a civil matter to arrest. One cannot escape that fact. In New Jersey, it is prohibited to arrest women in a civil matter. N.J.S.A. 2A:17–77(a). Pursuant to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of Constitution of the United States, men cannot be arrested in a civil matter either. Yet, they are. And at great taxpayer expense. This happens all over the country. Whether the matter is deemed civil or the particular State somehow fraudulently converts a civil matter into a criminal matter to jail men for owing child support. By fraudulently converting a divorce/child support matter, which is civil, into a criminal matter, always occurs without the man being read his rights at the time the divorce is initiated. Men are forced into giving up financial information, how much they make, where they work, where they live, and all other kinds of disclosures, without ever being told of their rights to remain silent, rights to counsel, rights to a full and fair hearing before a jury of twelve of their peers of the community, etc., at the inception of the divorce proceedings.
Men are routinely arrested for child support. Since over 95% of all child custody awards go to women and the concomittant number of child support obligations go to men, there is a blatant gender discrimination in this country.
Based on this and the fact there was no probable cause to arrest in a civil matter, and that women cannot be arrested in New Jersey on civil process, a police officer loses qualified immunity to a claim that a facially neutral policy is executed in a discriminatory manner only if a reasonable police officer would know that the policy has a discriminatory impact on men, that bias against men was a motivating factor behind the adoption of the policy, and that there is no important public interest
served by adoption of the policy. For a similar argument, see Hynson v. City of Chester, Legal Dep’t., 864 F.2d 1026, 1032 (3rd Cir. 1988). If police officers are to be sued for these constitutional violations of persons owing child support, then taxpayers are going to bear the brunt of this.
However, ‘‘probable cause’’ to arrest requires a showing that both a crime has been, or is being committed, and that the person sought to be arrested committed the offense. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 4. In child support enforcement matters, no probable cause can exist, because the entire matter arose out of a civil context.
It is asserted that by definition, probable cause can only exist in relation to criminal conduct. It follows that civil disputes cannot give rise to probable cause. See, Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983)(Test for police officer’s sufficient basis for probable cause—did the officer have a sufficient basis to make a ‘‘practical, common sense’’ decision that a ‘‘fair probability of crime existed,’’—once the officer’s actions fail to satisfy this test, it may appear that no reasonably objective officer could have believed that probable cause existed to make an arrest); Allen v. City of Portland, 73 F.3d 232 (9th Cir. 1995), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (citing cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Circuits) held that ‘‘by definition, probable cause to arrest can only exist in relation to criminal conduct; civil disputes cannot give rise to probable cause; Paff v. Kaltenbach, 204 F.3d 425, 435 (3rd Cir. 2000)(Fourth Amendment prohibits law enforcement officers from arresting citizens without probable cause (citations omitted)); New Jersey District Court cases and other nearby district courts, Santiago v. City of Vineland, 107 F.Supp.2d 512, 561–62, 564 (D.N.J. 2000); Hill v. Algor, 85 F.Supp.2d 391, 397–98 (D.N.J. 2000)(arrest made without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment); Rzayeva v. Foster, 134 F.Supp.2d 239, 248–49 (D.Conn. 2001) (holding involuntary civil confinement is a ‘‘massive curtailment of liberty’’, is tantamount to the infringement of being arrested and can be made only upon probable cause, citing Vitek v. Jones, 445 U.S. 480, 491, 100 S.Ct. 1254, 63 L.Ed.2d 552 (1980); Schneider v. Simonini, 749 A.2d 336, 163 N.J. 336, 361–65 (2000)(detailed explanation of probable cause standard in New Jersey). In Schneider, the New Jersey Supreme Court set the standard for probable cause. It shows us that probable cause to arrest ‘‘requires a showing that both a crime has been, or is being committed, and that the person sought to be arrested committed the offense’’. Schneider, 163 N.J. at 363. It was further held that a probable cause determination could only be made if a warrant had a ‘‘supporting affidavit, as supplemented by sworn testimony before the issuing judge that is recorded contemporaneously. Id. at 363.
It has been held that under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States there are two categories of police seizures: (1) A police officer may seize a citizen for a brief investigatory stop if he/she has reason to believe that he/ she is dealing with a dangerous, armed individual, regardless of whether he/she has probable cause to arrest the individual for a crime; (2) a seizure which is a full-scale arrest, must be supported by probable cause. To determine whether a seizure has ripened to a full-scale arrest, the courts must consider the ‘‘totality of circumstances’’.
In order to satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, an arrest must be supported by probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. Probable cause can only exist in relation to criminal conduct. It follows that civil disputes/civil matters cannot give rise to probable cause. Over thirty years ago, the United States Supreme Court warned of the danger and the threat to liberty if the requirement of probable cause is not strictly abided by:
‘‘The history of the use, and not infrequent abuse of the power to arrest cautions that a relaxation of the fundamental requirements of probable cause would ‘leave law-abiding citizens at the mercy of the officers’ whim or caprice.’’’ Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 479, 9 L.Ed.2d 441, 83 S.Ct. 407 (1963).
The subject ‘‘warrant’’ is not a legitimate warrant or a legitimate exercise of judicial power. New Jersey statute, N.J.S.A. 40A:14–152, (as well as similar statutes around the country) expressly forbids police officers from arresting people in civil causes:
‘‘. . . police officers shall have the power to serve and execute process issuing out of the courts having local criminal jurisdiction in the municipality and shall have the powers of a constable in all matters other than in civil causes arising in such courts’’.
State, county and/or municipal law enforcement officers are only empowered to act for the arrest, detection, investigation, conviction, detention or rehabilitation of per-
sons violating the criminal laws of the State. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14–
‘‘As used in this section, ‘law enforcement officer’ means any person who is employed as a permanent full-time member of any State, county or municipal law enforcement agency, department, or division of those governments who is statutorily empowered to act for the detection, investigation, arrest, conviction, detention, or rehabilitation of persons violating the criminal laws of this State and statutorily required to successfully complete a training course approved by, or certified as being substantially equivalent to such an approved course, by the Police Training Commission pursuant to P.L. 1961, c. 56 (C.52:17B–66 et seq.). ‘Law enforcement agency’ means any public agency, other than the Department of Law and Public Safety, any police force, department or division within the State of New Jersey, or any county or municipality thereof, which is empowered by statute to act for the detection, investigation, arrest, conviction, detention, or rehabilitation of persons violating the criminal laws of this State.’’ [Bold-face added]
Further, according to N.J.S.A. 2A:17–77(a) females in this State cannot be arrested on civil process. Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution for the United States, males cannot be arrested on civil process either. Yet, the State of New Jersey, through its county and municipal law enforcement personnel, allow for gender biased hate crimes in the arresting of males for owing child support. Males are arrested in 98–99% of all arrests for child support. This statistic has been cited in various newspapers and periodicals throughout the nation during highly publicized statewide child support enforcement raids.
The law is clear. Arresting someone in a civil matter is unconstitutional and unlawful, notwithstanding a fraudulent ‘‘Order for arrest warrant’’ issued by purported Judges allegedly acting as Judges. If a person is arrested on less than probable cause, the United States Supreme Court has long recognized that the aggrieved party has a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for violation of Fourth Amendment rights. Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 87 S.Ct. 1213 (1967). Law Enforcement officers cannot claim ‘‘objective reasonableness’’ in these actions. The law is clearly established regarding arresting and imprisoning a person in a civil debt matter where there is no probable cause:
- Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (there can be no objective reasonableness where officials violated clearly established constitutional rights such as—
- United States Constitution, Fourth Amendment (including Warrants Clause), Fifth Amendment (Due Process and Equal Protection), Ninth
Amendment (Rights to Privacy and Liberty), Fourteenth Amendment (Due
Process and Equal Protection);
- J. Constitution, Article I, Paragraph 13—Prohibition against Imprisonment for Debt in any action;
- Allen v. City of Portland, supra, and other U.S. Courts of Appeals citations (probable cause can only exist in the criminal context; it can never exist in civil matters/disputes;
- Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983)(U.S. Supreme Court held test for police officer’s sufficient basis for probable cause—did the officer have a sufficient basis to make a ‘‘practical, common sense’’ decision that a ‘‘fair probability of crime existed,’’—once the officer’s actions fail to satisfy this test, it may appear that no reasonably objective officer could have believed that probable cause existed to make an arrest);
- Rzayeva v. Foster, 134 F.Supp.2d 239, 248–49 (D. Conn. 2001) (holding involuntary civil confinement is a ‘‘massive curtailment of liberty’’, is tantamount to the infringement of being arrested and can be made only upon probable cause, citing Vitek v. Jones, 445 U.S. 480, 491, 100 S.Ct. 1254, 63 L.Ed.2d 552 (1980)];
The ‘‘child support warrants’’ that are used to arrest for child support debtors, are unconstitutional warrants as they do not meet the criteria necessary to pass muster under the Warrants Clause of the Fourth Amendment: (1) It is derived out of a civil matter and, therefore, no probable cause exists for arrest; (2) there are no attached affidavits sworn to under oath by any complaining witnesses. Again, men are never indicted, charged, arraigned, tried or convicted. They are summarily jailed in a civil matter without probable cause. This bodes badly for the taxpayers, notwithstanding they are paying for people to be housed in jails for never committing any real crime, but also, if falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned people start suing the government entities for damages for violations of their secured rights.
The Supreme Court ruled in Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 344 (1986), that the mere fact that a judge or magistrate issues an arrest warrant does not automatically insulate the officer from liability for an unconstitutional arrest. ‘‘Only where the warrant application is so lacking in indicia of probable cause as to render official belief in its existence unreasonable . . . will the shield of immunity be lost’’. Malley at 344–45.
Where officers in fact know that they are holding an innocent person, even where they have a facially valid warrant for his arrest, plaintiff has a cause of action for false arrest. Gay v. Wall, 761 F.2d 175 (4th Cir. 1985).
Furthermore, the law is unclear on civil and criminal contempt. In fact, it is a mess. ‘‘The judicial contempt power has had a long but sordid history’’. Richard C. Brautigam, Constitutional Challenges to the Contempt Power, 60 Geo. L.J. 1513 (1972). In fact the contempt power of the court should be abolished as a biased procedure and tool of government oppression. R. Goldfarb, The Contempt Power 1–2 (1963). The act of holding someone in contempt for owing a civilly-related child support debt is an anathema to the history of our Nation.
The New Jersey Supreme Court, in N.J. Dept. of Health v. Roselle, 34 N.J. 331 (1961) eradicated the distinction between civil and criminal contempt and held that all contempts are essentially one in the same. Therefore, if both civil relief (collection of a commercial debt) and criminal punishments (arrest and imprisonment for debt) are imposed in the same proceeding, the ‘‘criminal feature of the order is dominant and fixes its character for review’’. Hicks v. Feiock, 485 U.S. 624, 108 S.Ct. 1423, 99 L.Ed.2d (1988); Nye v. United States, 61 S.Ct. 810, 813 (1941). Civil contempts or violations of court orders/violations of litigants rights, are civil in name only, entailing what are in reality criminal punishments. U.S. v. Rylander, 460 U.S.
752, 757 (1983); Uphaus v. Wyman, 360 U.S. 72 (1959).
The New Jersey Appellate Division held in Lusardi v. Curtis Point Property Owners Assoc., 138 N.J. Super. 44, 50 (App.Div. 1975) that there are grave doubts whether a defendant’s rights can be adequately protected in a ‘‘double-barrelled proceeding’’ where charges of both contempt and deprivation of private rights are tried in a common proceeding.
Under U.S. v. Rylander ignorance of the order or the inability to comply with the order, or as in this case, to pay, would be a complete defense to any contempt sanction, violation of a court order or violation of litigant’s rights. In such cases the risk of erroneous deprivation for civil contempt/violation of litigant’s rights, from the lack of a neutral factfinder, may be substantial. Under these circumstances, criminal procedural protections such as the right to be notified, right to a pre-deprivation hearing (or in this case, pre-deprivation ability to pay hearing), right to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, right to counsel are both necessary and appropriate to protect the due process rights of parties and prevent the arbitrary and oppressive exercise of judicial power. International Union, United Mine Workers of America v. Bagwell, 114 S.Ct. 2552, 2561, 129 L.Ed.2d 642 (1994).
The caselaw history on this subject is extensive. It would be absurd to distinguish criminal and civil incarceration. From the perspective of the person incarcerated, the jail is just as bleak no matter what label used. In addition, the line between civil and criminal contempt, or violations of litigant’s rights or violations of a court order, is a fine one, and is rarely as clear as the state would have us believe. If the party does not have the present ability to pay, or if he has paid and is unlawfully jailed for it, he does not have the ‘‘keys to his jail’’. What is nominally a civil contempt proceeding (or in aid of litigants rights enforcement proceeding) is in fact nothing more than a criminal proceeding, with the defendant being punished and not coerced. It is the fact of the incarceration and not the label placed upon the proceeding which determines if someone was unlawfully arrested and imprisoned.
Given the way government goes after child support debtors to fill its coffers, by maximizing federal reimbursement incentive funding, for costs expended and amounts collected, this presents not only a conflict of interest, but fraudulent and treasonous government abuse of power and government oppression.
Every U.S. Court of Appeals that has addressed this issue, has held that child support is a common, commercial (and civil) debt subject to all debt collection procedures under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. See, U.S. v. Lewko, 269 F.3d 64, 68–69 (1st Cir. 2001) (citations omitted) and U.S. v. Parker, 108 F.3d 28, 31 (3rd Cir. 1997). Based on this fact, imprisonment based upon a debt is prohibited absent clear evidence of fraud, under every states’ constitutions prohibiting Imprisonment for Debt.
New Jersey Constitution, Article I, Paragraph 13:
‘‘No person shall be imprisoned for debt in ANY action, or on any judgment founded upon contract, unless in cases of fraud’’.
The Supreme Court of New Jersey takes this point one step further in State v. Madewell, 63 N.J. 506, 512 (1973):
‘‘Statutes or ordinances, designed as debt collecting devices under the guise of penal laws, contravene the constitutional prohibition against imprisonment for debt. Thus, the legislature may not circumvent the prohibition by rendering criminal a simple breach of contract, the nonpayment of debt, or the failure to use one’s own money for a purpose other than for payment of debts. However, statutes against false pretenses, frauds, cheats, and the like, are sustained as against the constitutional objection that such statutes impose imprisonment for debt, on the theory that one who violates the act is punished for the crime he has committed, although civilly the acts may also constitute a breach of contract or the nonpayment of a debt. (16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Section 204(4), p.1011).’’ [bold, underline and italics added]
Pursuant to the September 1998 amendment to N.J. Court Rule, R. 1:10–3, 2002 Gann Edition, Comment: ‘‘The evident purpose of this amendment is to make clear that enforcement by incarceration was never intended to create a socalled debtor’s prison.’’
No family court in New Jersey or any other state can be unbiased because they have a financial conflict of interest in the outcomes of child support awards, collections and enforcement of same. That conflict of interest involves the Federal reimbursement and incentive funding to the State for the enforcement and collection of support in order to maximize the funding they receive from the Federal Government to fill their treasuries and to supplement judicial and state employee pension plans. The more child support awarded, collected and enforced upon, the more federal funding the State receives. It behooves State Family Court Judges to award as much as possible, notwithstanding the true costs of raising children. This fictitious awarding of child support obligations based on a fraudulent child support guideline designed by judges, and those who are child support advocates and bureaucrats, creates a fraudulent presumption and conflict of interest. Once this funding is paid to the State, based on overinflated child support awards and collections, it is then forwarded to the general treasury and subsequently into the pension plans of judges, sheriffs and sheriff’s deputies, law enforcement officers, politicians and other public servants.
To simplify: If the State Family Courts couldn’t tell me how much support I needed for my family and children during the marriage, how can they tell me how much to support them after my divorce? If the State Courts are admitting they are a party to my divorce, then they also are responsible for the support of my family, and are also liable for violations of nonpayment to my family. This is an equal protection violation and a violation of absolute liberty rights protected under the Ninth Amendment. This is an equal protection violation and due process violation to use extortion practices and kidnapping for profit and gain to get financial incentives from the state and Federal Government.
The 2001 Cooperative Agreement between the New Jersey Division of
Family Development (DFD) and the County Sheriffs’ Offices
The 2001 Cooperative Agreement between the New Jersey Division of Family Development and the various County Sheriff’s Offices, refers to ‘‘Definitions’’. The terms of ‘‘Arrest Services’’ and ‘‘Arrest’’ are defined.
- ‘‘Arrest Services’’—will include all reasonable attempts to apprehend the indi-vidual identified in the bench warrant and produce the individual before a judge or other specified officer of the court.
- ‘‘Arrest’’—will refer to the physical act of taking into custody the individual identified in the bench warrant. Such term shall not apply to voluntary surrender to the court or in instances where warrants are vacated.
According to the ‘‘Purpose’’ Section of the Cooperative Agreement:
The purpose of this Agreement is for the DFD to establish a procedure with the Sheriff’s Office for arrest services in those IV–D cases where a bench warrant pertaining to child support and paternity matters has been issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
As per the bench warrant, the Sheriff’s Officer will take the Non-custodial parents into custody for the purpose of establishing paternity and support obligations including health insurance coverage and for payment of arrearages owed.
As can be seen by the Cooperative Agreement, it is nothing more than a debt collection device, using law enforcement personnel in the capacity of debt collection
agents with guns. No probable cause can be found and no sworn affidavit or affirmation is used as bench warrants are issued directly from the bench in these civil matters. The use of bench warrants presumably is a method to ‘‘streamline’’ arresting people in a summary proceeding for child support and circumventing the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Thirteenth (Anti-Peonage Amendment) and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the New Jersey Constitution, Article I, Paragraph 7 (Prohibition Against Unlawful Searches and Seizures) and Article I, Paragraph 13 (Imprisonment for Debt prohibition).
The New Jersey Appellate Division held in Lusardi v. Curtis Point Property Owners Assoc., 138 N.J. Super. 44, 50 (App. Div. 1975) that there are grave doubts whether a defendant’s rights can be adequately protected in a ‘‘double-barrelled proceeding’’ where charges of both contempt and deprivation of private rights are tried in a common proceeding.
Also, based on this and the fact there is no probable cause to arrest in a civil matter, and that women cannot be arrested in New Jersey on civil process, a law enforcement officer loses qualified immunity to a claim that a facially neutral policy is executed in a discriminatory manner only if a reasonable officer would know that the policy has a discriminatory impact on men, that bias against men was a motivating factor behind the adoption of the policy, and that there is no important public interest served by adoption of the policy. See, Hynson v. City of Chester, Legal Dep’t., 864 F.2d 1026, 1032 (3rd Cir. 1988) on the discrimination argument.
As part of the Duties and Functions of the Sheriff’s Office, the Cooperative Agreement states that: ‘‘All pertinent information shall be submitted to authorized personnel and entered onto the State Criminal Information Center (SCIC) system.’’ Since the matter emanates from a civil matter, how does one get put into the ‘‘CRIMINAL’’ information system without having ever committed a crime?
The Cooperative Agreement goes on and states:
‘‘As per the procedure outlined in Attachment B of this Agreement, the Sheriff’s Office shall submit detailed reports pertaining to arrest services on a quarterly basis in order to obtain payment for services. Payment for services shall be based on the collection performance standards specified in Attachment B.’’
As part of the Duties and Functions of the Sheriff’s Office, and Part III Performance Standards, the Sheriff’s Office will participate in two (2) statewide coordinated raids per year. These raids involve the arrest of non-custodial parents in which men make up 98–99 percent of the ‘‘arrestees’’. This is ‘‘gender profiling’’, ‘‘gender biased discrimination’’ and a ‘‘gender biased hate crime’’ in that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Based on the foregoing, the child support enforcement bureaucracy is an abject failure, a massive waste of taxpayer’s hard-earned monies (in the billions of dollars), perpetrates government abuse and government oppression against innocent citizens, creates an unconstitutional class of outlaws which are comprised of almost entirely of male parents, and perpetrates fraud to collect child support debts at the point of a gun, in order to maximize profits for the states and its support enforcement bureaucracies.
The taxpayers in this country would be best served if the government stopped its fraudulent, abusive and oppressive anti-male/anti-family practices that it uses to create child support obligors and child support debtors under communist-Soviet style child support guidelines, eliminated the entire child support enforcement bureaucracy, and took the billions of dollars saved from eliminating the bureaucracy and sent it in the form of child support checks to the recipients in the same manner it sends out Social Security checks.
Statement of Malcolm Hatfield, M.D., Franksville, Wisconsin
My child support assessment is not based on economic data and represents fraud.
Franksville, Wisconsin 53126
March 25, 2003
Ms. Susan E. Pfeiffer
201 E. Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703 Dear Ms. Pfeiffer:
This is written to summarize my opinion given in today’s public hearing regarding the DWD’s child support proposed guidelines. I limited my talk solely to high income payers. I first defined high income payers as having a combined income of over $50K per year . . . I defined the word combined as being both parents. I made the following 4 points:
- There is no economic data to support their assumptions for all levels of income above the $50k threshold. As the income of one or both parents increases, the disparity between the economic data and proposed obligation increases. In addition, the majority of States and all of our neighboring States have guidelines that are clearly different, with the disparity increasing significantly as combined income increases. There is no economic data to support this discrepancy.
- Once a parent ‘‘wins’’ primary custody, there is no mandatory work provision for the custodial parent (CP) and therefore, the custodial parent with a high income non-custodial parent (NCP) is not only allowed to receive a windfall profit, but also is allowed to forgo his/her obligation to provide for their half of the financial obligation to their children.
- The assumptions do not address the significant tax advantages that the CP has, which are especially beneficial in the high income case. This includes head of household filing status and child care credit as well as other tax breaks. High income NCP’s are not allowed any of these tax advantages.
- Lastly, there is no allowance made when the CP is allowed to move out of State for the high income NCP to voluntarily decrease his/her child support obligation when he/she must take a lower paying job to move to be close to his/her kids. High income NCP cannot obtain high income jobs anyplace or anywhere. Current proposal forces NCP’s to face possible felony charges (due to federalization of child support enforcement) and deadbeat parent status merely because he/she wants to live near their kids.
I summarized my comments by stating that these and current guidelines give strong disincentive for high income parents to raise their kids in Wisconsin because they can and will lose their kids through no fault of their own. They are then forced to pay outrageous amounts of child support that is not based on economic data and is not in keeping with neighboring States. This serves as a windfall profit for the CP and harms children because the windfall profit is inversely proportional to the amount of time the kids spend with the NCP. Kids need and deserve a strong relationship with BOTH parents, regardless of income.
Malcolm Hatfield, MD
Franksville, Wisconsin 53126
July 28, 2003
Senator Carol Roessler
Madison, WI 53702
RE: CR03–22, the DWD 40 administrative rule change proposal.
Dear Senator Roessler:
I was unable to attend the hearing on July 22 regarding this proposed change in child support. My husband did attend the DWD’s public hearing in Milwaukee and made the attached comments. The DWD completely ignored his testimony.
Malcolm’s ex-wife filed for divorce in Racine County in 1993. They have a daughter named Mary who is now 14. She currently lives in Illinois with her mother, because Racine County Family Court allowed her to move. In 2000, we married. My daughter Dana is 2 years younger than Mary. Since 1993, Malcolm has been assessed $5,123.00 per month in child support. He has paid over $600,000.00 to date. This is paid to a physician mom for one child. He has fought a tremendous uphill battle since 1993 so that he can be a father to Mary. Each and every time he asks for more time with Mary, he is first served with a subpoena to show his tax return, with the implication that they will demand more support, and soon thereafter, another false allegation of abuse arises. Malcolm’s drop off/pick up time with Mary serves as a useful time to serve him with this subpoena. On the other hand, Dana has a liberal parenting relationship. Her dad pays $400 per month in child support. This is used for fixed expenses. Dana is well adjusted and is thriving. Mary was hospitalized in 2001 with inflammatory bowel disease. Her bone age was over 2 years delayed, and her height and weight for age were below the 5th percentile. She is committed to 2 prescription medications until she is 20 years old. She clearly
needs a father and is not flourishing. What is more important to a child? Money or a father?
Ironically, the DWD recommends lowering child support for low income payers. They justify this by saying that child support serves as a wedge between children and their parents. Why isn’t this true for all incomes? I would like to see the department lower the income threshold to a level more representative of just what it takes to raise a child for Wisconsin families. My husband and I support the provision of AB 250/SB 156 for parents with combined incomes over $4000.00 per month. We also support the DWD proposal for low income payers because we share their opinion that child support serves as a wedge between parents and their children. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Jeanie Hatfield, MEPD
Statement of Torm L. Howse, Indiana Civil Rights Council, Whitestown, Indiana
My name is Torm L. Howse, President, of Indiana Civil Rights Council, and a resident of Indiana, and I have a ‘‘Win-Win Plan’’ for the State of Indiana, which I believe will also be good for all other States and our Nation, as follows:
We need new legislation outlawing the awarding of sole child custody, which is mostly to women, except in cases of abuse and/or neglect, and, instead, enact legislation for joint child custody and the elimination of child support, mandating that each parent take care of their own financial needs when the child is with him or her. The family-friendly legislation, combined with serious welfare reform, will turn the state budget around, so that all other desperately-needed services will have funding again.
Indiana currently spends about 40% of its entire annual budget—a whopping FOUR BILLION DOLLARS every year—on welfare hand-outs to continually do little more than ‘‘band-aid’’ the myriad of devastation that still echoes from the fallout of sole-custody divorce, long after the dust settles upon a court’s closed files.
While a portion of welfare money is honestly spent on the true needs, the majority can be phase-transferred into sorely-needed funding for such things as: education, including teacher salaries, and increasing the number of teachers; health care, including family-friendly partnerships with medical service providers, and increased support for the elderly; public safety, by increasing the visibility, strength, and tools of firefighters, police, and EMTs; public transportation, including development and expansion of rail and monorail systems, in combination with any restructuring of busing—even adding popular city-city and suburban routes; fighting drug abuse more efficiently, with better technology and more personnel; and creation of new jobs, because of all of the above, and other incentives.
In fact, there can easily be enough savings realized by serious welfare reform to invest in all of the above, in other programs, and to LOWER TAXES in various ways—like property and income taxes, for example, and providing NEW TAX CREDITS that are designed to promote and maintain stable, healthy families—the backbone of any SUCCESSFUL ECONOMY.
One quick look at our Indiana budget reveals the simple truth: if we reform welfare a mere 25%, we’ve already permanently fixed our approximate $1 Billion deficit—without having to touch anything else. And, any reform we achieve past that (which should not be too difficult) is literally ‘‘money in the bank’’ to be put to profitable use.
Only by facing the problem honestly, can the problem be truly fixed. When you begin to really understand the horrific financial nightmare that the aftermath of divorce wreaks upon society in general (and, therefore, the government, and therefore—ultimately—upon the individual taxpayer), not to mention the actual damage itself, then you will surely wonder why we haven’t practically started a civil war or something, to get the problem fixed TODAY . . .
Your belief about welfare may be that it is basically a never-ending handout to those that refuse to get off their duffs, and work to support themselves. You would be partially right, and this situation definitely is an important, widespread problem that must be dealt with, using permanent measures for abusers of the system.
However, the constant drains upon welfare come from several sources, and most of those sources are the direct result of the mortal blows that divorce weighs heavily upon our population, especially based and rooted in the fundamental problem of awarding sole custody of children to mothers—a national average of some 90% of
the time, versus about 5% sole custody to fathers, and only about 5% awarded as true joint custody.
Consider the following facts:
- The continuing annual reports from the federal National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (‘‘missing kids on milk cartons’’) consistently document that 60–62% of all murders of children, 17 years old and under, is committed by single mothers—more than all other different classifications of perpetrators combined.
- The continuing reports from numerous Federal and State Government agencies have been documenting—for many years—that children raised by single mothers are several times more likely to be drug abusers, suicidal, homosexual (think ‘‘AIDS’’ . . .), high school dropouts, violent criminals, criminals in general, imprisoned, pregnant while teenage, repeating the domestic violence cycle, homeless runaways, and etc.—serious problems that COST TAXPAYERS A LOT OF MONEY, every single day. Think about all the different welfare, and even other, programs it takes to ‘‘combat’’ and treat these many problems we have created, by allowing the awarding of sole custody to women 90% of the time in divorce—and thereby, fatherless children—for any reason . . . even no reason (i.e., ‘‘no-fault’’ divorce).
- The massive costs of administering (single mother) welfare hand-outs, combined with the actual staggering costs of the various forms of welfare themselves (TANF, Medicaid, food stamps, and etc.), including the whopping 40% of Indiana’s annual budget, and not to even mention the enormous amount of welfare fraud experienced by government, are single-handledly responsible for financially destroying America and its working-class citizens, as evidenced by the present, overwhelmingly critical budget crises in virtually every state in the union. Moreover, there exists a viciously repeating cycle of welfare dependence, inevitably taught to young girls by these welfare single mothers themselves.
- Long-term studies show and prove that high amounts of child support attract, induce, and encourage mothers to divorce, and fuel the nationally destructive trend of the rampant, large-scale breakup and breakdown of American families.
- Sometimes, women involved in a legal custody dispute for children will falsely accuse the fathers of various things—even false abuse allegations—to gain an ‘‘upper edge’’ in order to secure that child custody, but with the real motive being to rape the father for child support, to advance and support her lifestyle, while simultaneously robbing the financial ‘‘breath’’ out of him to fight back (attorneys = $$), and maybe even to sabotage his ability to afford an occasional ‘‘visit’’ with his own children—that is, if she even allows him to see them, at all.
- The financial strength to stay alive, in the face of child support, triggers many men to resort to various methods of crime—just to exist—and which also eventually costs taxpayers even more, by paying for prison spending increases, and other losses to society by the effects of drug abuse, or whatever cause and effects go with a given criminal activity.
- And, if fathers can’t keep up with child support payments, they are put in jail or prison—further eroding our taxbase, and insanely causing taxpayers to foot an even higher share.
- Propaganda about ‘‘deadbeat dads’’ is just like the media’s frenzy over airplane crashes—as travel by air is actually statistically far safer than travel by automobile, so the percentage of ‘‘deadbeat moms’’ is much higher than that for fathers . . . and, the vast majority of child support orders against men are crippling amounts, levels that are unethical, immoral, and that actually violate the limits of written law.
- Even more importantly, fathers have absolutely equal constitutional rights to custody of their children.
The ongoing, national, overwhelming practice of typically awarding sole custody of children to mothers is: 1) illegal under federal (constitutional) law; 2) destroys children with nazi-concentration-camp efficiency; 3) wipes out society tangibly, FINANCIALLY, and needlessly; and 4) is BAD BUSINESS FOR AMERICA.
Ironically, the State of Indiana is way behind the times, and itself. In 1973, the Hoosier State became the first to pass any legislation that even suggested the possibility of joint custody of children. Tragically, that’s about as far as it ever went, while over the past decade, several states have finally figured out, through years of studies, that most soaring costs to the financial, moral, and physical health of society could be directly traced back to the breakdown of the family . . . It doesn’t
take a rocket scientist to understand that the real strength, security, and prosperity of America is directly linked to the same stability factors of the average American family.
Recently, over the past several years, states like Wisconsin, Kansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and others passed laws making equal and full JOINT CUSTODY of children the standard to be applied in divorce, separation, and similar actions regarding kids. Guess what happened? No longer able to expect ‘‘default’’ control of the children, and without the guaranteed ‘‘second income’’ (child support . . .), actions for divorce involving children—agreed by most experts as being filed by mothers some 70–80% of the time—rapidly plummeted in rate, marriages survived, families remained intact, children retained the guidance and support of their fathers in their lives, crime dropped, youth in trouble dropped, court caseloads dropped, bankruptcies dropped, drug abuse dropped, suicides dropped, child abuse and neglect dropped, and, needless to say: THE AMOUNT OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS NEEDED FOR WELFARE DROPPED. Doesn’t INDIANA want the same for its families, finances, and future? Doesn’t AMERICA want the same for its families, finances, and future?
Statement of Keith McLeod, Richmond, Virginia
Thank you for the opportunity to address the Committee on Ways and Means about waste, fraud, and abuse. The waste and abuse I wish to raise is child support enforcement, per Title IV–D of the Social Securities Act, administered by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
For my figures and information I draw upon the e-book my company publishes, The Multiple Scandals of Child Support [KC Wilson, Harbinger Press, Richmond, VA, 2003]. It is thoroughly researched and verified; all facts, figures, and citations in this brief are fully provided and expanded upon there. It is submitted with this brief as Exhibit A. [http://harbpress.com]
There are a very large number of problems with child support enforcement as practiced by DHHS. They are:
1) There was never a problem with child support compliance.
There is a problem with poverty in the US, and denial of it.
While over 30% of American children and their single mothers live in poverty, what is the state of the fathers? While enforcement has been enacted without any study of them (problem 3, below), limited studies suggest that the same number of fathers are just as poor. For instance, the Urban Institute found that at least 23% of non-custodial parents live below the poverty line, so probably the majority of those not paying simply can’t. They can barely support themselves.
If those poor single mothers married the fathers of these children, the same number of children would still be just as poor. There is a problem with poverty in America, from which men equally suffer.
Men in poverty are being used as scapegoats for an array of political agendas. One is to avoid admitting to systemic problems of income distribution and poverty in our economy, less politically acceptable to admit and address. Child support enforcement is blaming poverty on the poor which has never proved effective, and is not proving so now.
2) Now, there is a problem with child support compliance.
The two decades of child support enforcement have seen a steady decline in child support payments using all measures except one. This has occurred during the economic boom of the 1990s, so imagine what is happening now, whose figures will not be available for 5 years.
Appendix A of this brief provides all Census Bureau data on compliance, in charts and tables in consistent, 1999 dollars. In 1978 the average child support paid was $3,098.55. In 1997 it was $2,527.79, a fall of 18%.
From 1983 to 1991, the percentage of the total of child support owed that was paid, fell from 70.4% to 67.1%. The formula for these values was then adjusted in 1992, but the downtrend still shows since then.
Urban Institute researcher Elaine Sorensen, in a Washington Post article published June 1, 1999, admits, ‘‘The sad fact is that children living with single mothers are no more likely to receive child support today than they were two decades ago.’’
If anything, child support enforcement has proven counter-productive: a waste of money and effort only resulting in tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of more men in jail, driven to suicide, driven from their children, and/or hopelessly in debt, each year.
Child support is being used to avoid the issue of poverty.
3) There has never been a study on the target: fathers who are not paying child support.
Not Congress, nor DHHS, nor OCSE, nor any government body has ever commissioned or performed any study on the target and imagined reasons for these measures. Five billion federal dollars a year (the OCSE budget), plus billions more by the states, are spent on something with no definition.
The only knowledge about them is inferred by other Federal Government data. The Census Bureau only polls custodial parents, never non-custodial ones. The Urban Institute’s studies extrapolate data from the Department of Agriculture and DHHS. Yet billions are spent persecuting these unknown members of society every year.
Who are they, what are their circumstances, and what are their stories? What percentage are actually capable of compliance with their orders? (Indications are that this number may be as low as 10%, but there is no authoritative source.) While the poor cannot pay, why are those who can pay not doing so? Is it a protest because the mothers, courts, and social agencies do not allow or protect meaningful involvement with their children? Have they new families they are protecting? Have they legitimate complaints that are being ignored, meaning we are trying to solve the wrong thing or just not all the right things in their full context?
We are spending billions of dollars each year on something we know little about but have many assumptions.
4) The 1986 Bradley Amendment to Title IV–D forbids any reduction of arrearage or retroactive reduction for any reason, ever.
This reinforces the approach that inability to pay is no excuse. Needless to say, there are endless stories of men who are now crushed by a debt they will never be able to pay because they were:
In a coma.
A captive of Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War.
Lost their job but were confident of another so did nothing until it was too late.
Did not know they could not ask for retroactive adjustments and waited too long.
Cannot afford a lawyer to seek adjustment when adjustment was warranted.
Wouldn’t use the legal system even if they could, feeling it alien from their world, so don’t ask for a reduction when the legal establishment expects them to.
Some say this measure is a violation of due process and cruel and unusual as it removes the use of human discretion from dealing with individual cases. (Not to mention removing human compassion.). But non-custodial fathers do not have the money to fight a constitutional case.
One way or another, this is an abuse.
5) The return of debtor’s prison.
A common ‘‘solution’’ for non-payment is jail. Since the Federal Government only tracks numbers of people in jail for one year or more there are no reliable figures for how many men are in jail at any point in time, or in one year, for child support non-compliance. There they can hardly pay debts, and, indeed, their debt mounts, plus the incarceration adds to the cost to taxpayers.
This despite the fact that in 1798, John Adams signed into law the elimination of debtor’s prison. But wanting to send ‘‘bad men’’ to jail for child support, irrespective of its paying no money but incurring pure cost, is why many want failure to pay child support added to criminal law, even though it is clearly a civil matter. This is a national hysteria.
The use of jail is also an abuse and a waste of still more millions of tax dollars, for no benefit to anyone. It is only blood-lust.
- States hire consulting firms to act as administrator of their child support program. These companies set child support awards in individual cases, then are paid on the amount they collect, a clear conflict of interest.
Policy Studies Inc. is one of three companies in this business and its worst offender. Either the state or county will hire them as administrator of their child support system, which means they adjudicate default child support awards. (Called administrative awards, they are made without the alleged father present, after minimal effort to find him.)
This firm is then paid on the basis of collections, meaning they have a vested interest in making awards as high as possible irrespective of facts and circumstance. Not only does Policy Studies Inc. act as administrator, but it hires itself out to the states as consultants to develop the state guidelines. Again, a conflict of interest.
Three Supreme Court rulings have found that no one can be considered an objective adjudicator where much of the revenue that pays them comes from that over which they adjudicate.
- Child support agencies are not regulated as financial intermediaries.
State child support agencies are financial intermediaries. They create and manage accounts of assets on behalf of private citizens Financial intermediary are normally strictly regulated and subjected to disciplined accounting and auditing practices.
Not these. They may be audited every 3 years by OCSE, only for compliance with federal regulation, not financial fidelity.
Needless to say, the cases of errors and failure to correct them are legion. They include having the money but not paying it to the custodial parent; not registering receipt of money and taking legal action against those who are fully paid; as well as failure to act when they could. In the October 22, 2000 Free Lance-Star, Cathy Dyson reported that $560 million had been collected but not distributed. OCSE said that was only 4% of what they administer. Had any other financial institution made a 4% error, they would be shut down.
This government bureaucracy not only solves nothing but creates difficulties for those who used to get regular payments.
- OCSE was set up to recover welfare payments that had been made to mothers, from the fathers, to reduce the cost of welfare.
But as the table below shows, the OCSE budget itself has rarely been met by its collections, so is making welfare cost more.
Table 4: Paying for Welfare
|Yr.||OCSE Expenditures ($ Billions)||TANF Collections ($ Billions)|
- Family law is a state jurisdiction. Federal involvement in child support is justified by a nexus between it and welfare, but this has been stretched beyond all reason.
One could theoretically argue that if all child support was paid there would be fewer people on welfare. If you look only at aggregate numbers it makes sense, but is an example of what economists call the fallacy of composition. (What holds true at one scale does not at another. Looking at aggregates and composites masks micro-level realities.)
It is only true if all fathers can, in fact, pay whatever amount is assigned, but they are resisting and just need to be forced. But evidence strongly suggests that the majority who are not paying cannot pay at all. The failure of this theory is shown by item 8, above. Very little is collected from poor fathers and there is no evidence that what is collected was any more than was previously being paid. It is just going to the government now instead of under the table to individual mothers who would still need welfare with or without the meager child support payments.
Still, in the late 1980s OCSE performed a legal slight of hand. The nexus with state jurisdiction over family matters like divorce was federal welfare, but there was increasing political pressure to show higher returns, which could only be done by adding non-welfare cases to their docket and become collection agent for the middle and upper classes. During the years that followed this move they kept claiming they were collecting more child support than ever before, only because they were collecting it, it was no longer going directly to the mothers. As we have seen, less child support was actually being paid, and government intervention may itself be one of the reasons.
To justify this expansion, a departmental memo to state agencies declared that all mothers (some 80% of adult women in the US) are potential welfare recipients, hence fall under their jurisdiction.
Government policy holds an unflattering perception of American women. And why are not all men as much in danger of going on welfare?
This is an abuse of many things (like equal protection, state jurisdiction, etc.) and justified a budget increased from $2 billion to $5 billion without increasing child support compliance by the rich any more than by the poor.
OCSE is not only ineffective, but very expensive. The hidden costs beyond the OCSE budget include: state governments pay at least 35% of the costs of administering child support enforcement; other government agencies are incurring costs such as the State Department in collecting bank account balances and employment records, and reporting all applications for passports; the even more crowded jails. There is also new cost to companies in reporting accounts and new hires, with no evidence of benefit to anyone except the government bureaucrats.
10) All divorce fathers are monitored and regulated as though criminals. On what basis, and to what end?
Conclusion: Fixing the Wrong Thing
One statistic the Census Bureau is careful to include in many of its new releases on child support compliance figures is an 87% to 90% compliance rate when there is joint custody.
One must wonder if child support enforcement is one of those misguided social hysterias that are causing more harm than they are solving exactly because we are, yet again, addressing the wrong thing; the wrong end of the stick. Perhaps government policy should change to ensuring any child’s family remains intact irrespective of what happens between its parents. (Whether its parents are married, divorced, or never married, the child’s family are the same people and allowed normal parental roles unless a clear and present danger from one can be proved. Current policy is to intervene upon divorce to prevent one parent from parenting.)
At the very least, and as a first step if only to stop the carnage, we advocate the repeal of Title IV–D. It is counter-productive and costing a fortune, not only in money but human toll to both children and fathers.
Child Support Compliance Data
The Census Bureau has surveyed custodial households every 2 years since 1978 to provide an independent reading on their state. (Independent of other agencies and the figures meaningful to them.)
These are all their child support compliance figures, only as reported by the recipients themselves, converted to consistent 1999 dollars. (There is no survey of noncustodial parents and what they claim to have paid. There was one academic study that suggested there are different versions about how much is both owed and paid.
Still, using only these numbers can show trends, if not accurate absolute amounts.)
There is an anomaly in the data that must be understood. For the 1993 survey and thereafter, one question was changed to include arrearage in the tally. That is, ‘‘How much were you owed last year’’ was changed to ‘‘How much were you owed last year plus was already in arrears.’’ (Arrearage should have been tallied separately.)
Therefore, there is a blip that is marked on all charts. It does not effect the average payment values, but does effect the others. Even still, a consistent down-trend is clear, except for the number of custodial parents getting all child support.
1999’s data was only released in October of 2002. That’s how long it takes to gather and release it.
For the years 1978 to 1999 there are charts for:
- Number of cases having child support orders, and the number of cases (claiming to get) all, and all or some, child support. This shows the rising case load and absolute values that are converted into percentages in the following charts.
- Average child support due and average amount received.
- Percent of custodial parents receiving some of their child support, and percent receiving all.
- The unemployment rate, from the Department of Labor. This allows visually accounting for economic conditions over those decades. One would expect child support payments to rise during low unemployment, but by how much? What we find is, during extremely good times, maybe a slight rise in only the custodial parents getting all their ordered child support. Other measures of compliance continued to fall.
The charts are followed by a table showing the raw numbers, including their conversion to 1999 dollars.
*All $ values reported in 1989 $s by US Census.
**Census added past due amounts. Previously, only tracked amounts due that year.
***From 1993, ‘‘Avg Due’’ is NOT the amount of the child support award since it includes past due.
|Avg Due In
|Total Due ($ Billions)||Total Paid ($ Billions)|
Change from ’78
|# Paid All||%
|In 1989 $s||In 1999 $s||% Change From ’78|
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|In 1989 $s||In 1999 $s||% Change From ’78|
Statement of Theresa Klubertanz, National Association of Disability
Examiners, Madison, Wisconsin
The National Association of Disability Examiners (NADE) commends the Committee on Ways and Means for focusing public and congressional attention on ‘‘Waste, Fraud and Abuse’’ within the many programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and appreciates the opportunity to present our perspective on this topic.
WHO WE ARE
NADE is a professional association whose mission is to advance the art and science of disability evaluation and to promote ongoing professional development for our members. The majority of our members are employed in the State Disability Determination Service (DDS) agencies and are responsible for the adjudication of claims for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. However, our membership also includes personnel from Social Security’s Central Office, its Regional Offices and its Field Offices. Included among our members are claimant advocates, physicians, attorneys, and others. The diversity of our membership, combined with our immense program knowledge and our ‘‘hands on’’ experience, enables NADE to offer a perspective that is both unique and reflective of a pragmatic realism.
While it is our firm belief that the vast majority of applicants are not out to defraud these programs, every disability examiner is aware of at least some level of questionable activity on the part of some applicants and/or their representatives. The disability programs are labor intensive and can be difficult to administer. Both medical eligibility and exact payment amounts are determined by complex rules and regulations which can foster an environment for waste from inside the programs and fraud and abuse from outside the programs. Our unique perspective and expertise provides insight into these problems and allows us to offer solutions.
PROGRAM INTEGRITY AND THE DISABILITY CLAIMS PROCESS
For the past decade, SSA has attempted to redesign the disability claims process in an effort to produce a new process that will result in more timely and more accurate decisions. The Agency’s success in this endeavor thus far has been minimal. NADE believes that the key to program integrity lies in the basic design of the claims process itself. One of the most important challenges facing the Commissioner of Social Security is the development and subsequent implementation of an effective and affordable disability claims process that will necessarily take into consideration
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 US House Testimony on Child Support and Fatherhood proposals (Hearing 107–38). June
 , 2001, online House version; http://waysandmeans.house.gov/legacy.asp?file=legacy/humres/ 107cong/6-28-01/record/chillegalfound.htm)—Father absence, a byproduct of divorce, illegitimacy, and the erosion of the traditional family, is responsible for; filling our prisons, causing psychological problems, suicide, psychosis, gang activity, rape, physical and sexual child abuse, violence against women, general violence, alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, lower academic achievement, school drop-outs, relationship instability, gender identity confusion, runaways, homelessness, cigarette smoking, and any number of corrosive social disorders.
 A Georgia trial court judge recently found the state of Georgia had NOT complied with these requirements, and under the Supremacy clause ruled the state’s use of the guidelines unconstitutional (See McFall v. Ward, trial court decisions in 02–CV–2287N). This is in no way unique to Georgia, nearly every state in the union has not complied with these provisions. Is this the wrong case cited?
 BRISCOE v. LaHUE, 460 U.S. 325, 365 note 31 demonstrating that Congress, when enacting the Civil Rights legislation was hostile to the considerable CORRUPTION of the Judiciary and the Legal system.
Cong. Globe, 42d Cong., 1st Sess., App. 78 (Rep. Perry) (‘‘Sheriffs, having eyes to see, see not; judges, having ears to hear, hear not; witnesses conceal the truth or falsify it; grand and petit juries act as if they might be accomplices’’); id., at 394 (Rep. Rainey) (‘‘[T]he courts are in many instances under the control of those who are wholly inimical to the impartial administration of law and equity’’); id., at App. 186 (Rep. Platt) (judges exercise their ‘‘almost despotic powers . . . against Republicans without regard to law or justice’’); id., at App. 277 (Rep. Porter) (‘‘The outrages committed upon loyal men there are under the forms of law. It can be summed up in one word: loyal men cannot obtain justice in the courts . . .’’); id., at 429 (referring to ‘‘prejudiced juries and bribed judges’’).
 The Federalist No. 79, at 472
 American Association of Blood Banks 1999 Annual Report. ‘‘Who is daddy and Who is Not, February 25, 2000. See also ‘‘In Genetic Testing for Paternity, Law Often Lags Behind Science,’’ New York Times, March 11, 2001.
 Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1998, B1.
 US House Ways and Means Committee, Greenbook, Section 8, CSE. Table 8–20 ‘‘Paternities Established’’, Table 8–21 ‘‘Out-Of-Wedlock Births’’, Table 8–22 ‘‘Percentage of Paternities Established’’.
 Table 8–4 US House Ways and Means Committee, Greenbook, Section 8, CSE. ‘‘Financing of CSE Program, Fiscal Year 1998’’ US House Ways and Means Committee, Greenbook, Section 8, CSE.
 California CBS Channel 2 News, Special Assignment: ‘‘Not The Father’’ aired Tuesday, February 7, 2001 at 11 p.m
 SJC to paternity victim: Keep paying, chump. Boston Globe, pg 11. Jeff Jacoby, April 30, 2001.
 Retaliation against those lawyers who would dare challenge the corrupt system has become routine practice by the Court run bar systems all across the country. For example, Barbara Johnson of Massachusetts is in the midst of disbarment proceedings for daring to publicize the corruption of the Massachusetts courts, Linda Kennedy of Virginia was recently disbarred for not being quiet about PROOF of altered transcripts in court proceedings, Bob Hirschfeld of Arizona was disbarred many years ago for daring to challenge the legal establishment and aggressively represent fathers in custody actions, Ed Truncellito believes he was disbarred for bringing a civil RICO actions against the Texas State Bar for the fraudulent construction of statutes related to no-fault divorce, and the list goes on and on.
 Grant, Rennie J.; When the Court Is the Deadbeat. The Washington Post. Wednesday,
June 12, 2002; Page A30
 Drummond, Daniel. Professor ousted from child-support panel, The Washington Times August 4, 2001. Dissent apparently is not allowed in states when it comes to child support and family preservation. This article outlines how Howard University Political Science professor Stephen Baskerville was ousted from the Virginia Child Support Advisory Panel because of an OpEd piece he wrote for The Washington Times. Professor Baskerville said ‘‘he was removed from the panel because of his politically incorrect views about child support and its enforcement.’’ Apparently the State of Virginia believes what the US Supreme Court says about free speech in relation to flag burning, pornography, and foul language, but does not believe this free speech extends to press published commentary critical of the child support industry. For a review of Professor Baskerville’s piece, please see Appetite for Family Destruction, The Washington Times commentary section, p. B5. June 17, 2001.
 Baskerville, Stephen; Tommy Thompson’s Reign Of Terror. Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, Inc., September 12, 2002. And in deference to the Free Congress Foundation, the article contains a disclaimer stating ‘‘This publication is a service of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, Inc. (FCF) and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Free Congress Foundation nor is it an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill.’’
 Current Population Reports, Series P–23, No 173 (1989)—Census Bureau data from 1989 indicated that 75 percent of all child support owed is paid. The TOTAL amount of Child Support owed was 14.8 BILLION dollars. Of that amount, 11.1 BILLION had been paid (7.6 BILLION was paid in full, and 3.5 BILLION was partially paid); Non-Custodial Parent’s Report of Child Support Payments, Braver, Sanford, Pamela J. Fitzpatrick, and R. Curtis Bay, (1988) presented at the Symposium ‘‘Adaptation of the Non-Custodial Parent: Patterns Over Time’’ at the American Psychological Association Convention, Atlanta, GA, August, 1988. Compared Bureau of Census custodial parents reports (approx. 70% received) with father survey (approx. 90% paid); Judi Bartfeld and Daniel R. Meyer, ‘‘Are There Really Deadbeat Dads? The Relationship Between Ability to Pay, Enforcement, and Compliance in Normal Child Support Cases.’’ Social Service Review 68 (1994)—95% of fathers having no employment problems for the past five years pay regularly; 81% in full and on time; 1988 Census ‘‘Child Support and Alimony: 1989 Series’’ P–60, No. 173 p. 6–7—90% of fathers with joint custody pay the ordered child support. 79.1% of fathers with visitation rights pay the ordered child support. 44.5% of fathers with no visitation rights pay the ordered child support.
The father of today’s child support public policy, his personal exploitation of the system, and the fallacy of his ‘‘income shares’’ model, James R. Johnston, August 1998.
 GAO/HRD–92–39FS, January 9, 1992; page 19—According to a 1992 report by the Government Accounting Office, Child Support non-payment is NOT by choice This report showed that 66% of those fathers with delinquent child support obligations were not able to pay, 5% were unable to be located, and 29% were classified as other. These were custodial mother SELF REPORTS (which are likely to be skewed against the party paying child support); Journal of Contemporary Policy Issues, Garfinkle and Klawitter, 1992—after instituting mandatory wage withholding of child support in Wisconsin, 10 pilot counties collected only 2.89% more of what was owed than the ten control counties that didn’t garnish.
 K.C. Wilson in ‘‘Where’s Daddy? The Mythologies behind Custody-Access-Support.’’
 Statement of Rep. Ron Paul (R–TX), September 7, 2000. Child Support Distribution Act Of 2000.
 Elaine Sorensen & Chava Zibman, ‘‘Poor Dads Who Don’t Pay Child Support: Deadbeats or Disadvantaged?’’ Urban Institute, Series B, No. B–30, April 2001.
 Elaine Sorensen, ‘‘Dead-Broke Dads,’’ Washington Post, June 1, 1999.
 Tumey v. Ohio, 273 U.S. 510 (1927), Ward v. Monroeville, 409 U.S. 57 (1972), and Gibson
- Berryhill, 411 U.S. 564 (1973).