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Good People & People of Faith,

      Thankfully, the answer to the "go to jail" question is NO.   Even though the Judge had delivered some pretty strong threats during a court appearance a few months ago -- he did not jail Alex.  Alex explains (and you can contact him directly at: ):

      So many thanks to all the support from the newsletter readers. It was very nice to read words of support when you feel so many are against you. As you can tell I am not in jail! We are scheduled to have a hearing 4/17 on motions of mine trying to get substantially equal time with my children, a reduction in the support amount, and an equitable modification of the arrears (The first judge, Pierce, made my support order retroactive to when the mother left the house even though we had the children equal time for a year after that).

     I had a motorcycle that I sold for $1800 to make my last 2 payments more substantial and perhaps the court saw the good faith effort and allowed me to stay out of jail to make an effort for a long term solution at this hearing on 4/17. It's stressful for the whole family to have jail continuously hanging overhead, but it sure beats jail!

      I have tempered hope for the April hearing, previously the court has moved the goalposts a few times on me as far as what is acceptable evidence of my actual income and through my own experience and all the stories I have heard, this is not a system I have much confidence in making decisions in the best interests of the children, upholding civil rights or liberties, or even making decisions based on logic or law. 

       But it is out of respect for our democracy and system of law that I submit myself to it and make efforts to change it instead of circumventing it. I wish that the system had such respect for the bonds between parents and children so that so many people wouldn't have their hand forced to circumventing the law out of loyalty to their children and to maintain their freedom.

        I also want to offer my gratitude and condolences to the many hurt by the family court system. Compared to many, I really don't have it so bad. We will keep fighting and the suffering that you and your children endured will fuel the fire of change.

        -- Alexander Haas
(Earlier list message sent on Friday)

A loving parent may go to jail today.  He's not the first to experience this injustice and certainly not the last.   Many like to keep things private, but Alex Haas of Canton, Ohio, the parent of two beautiful children, wanted to make it public.  Beneath the pictures is their story.  The story, unfortunately, may not agree with what happens in "Family Court" today -- ANOTHER DEADBEAT SENT TO JAIL!

Hope you'll take time to read it and send him an email of support.  I've known Alex for several years.  He's helped out a lot with some web work and I've always worried this was coming.  Hopefully he'll be able to go home today -- the best thing for him and certainly for the children he loves. -- John Murtari
P.S.  And yes, we'll let you know what happens in a message over the weekend.
I love my kids and miss them often. I started a small business so I would be able to set my own schedule and spend more time with them, I volunteer at their school, and try to see them beyond the court order whenever possible. However, March 20th I'm being tried to see if I'll be sentenced to 30 days in jail. I don't have the right to a jury trial, and if I'm found "guilty" and go to jail, when I get out I can be tried for the same thing again and put back behind bars. My bank accounts were frozen then seized by the state, yet I don't quality for a public defender.

So what have I done to face imprisonment without being allowed the rights of criminal trials? Why are my children at risk of losing even more time with their father? I am behind on my family court ordered support order payments. I've paid a consistent amount each month that I can afford while still keeping my home, but am ordered to pay much more. The court uses an application for a mortgage I made in 2006 to establish my income, not current information. I've tried multiple times to get the amount lowered and based on current accurate information, but to no avail.

I lived with the mother of my children for 6 years. I cared for our children for the majority of the time, got them up every morning and spent the day with them til at least 1:30 pm wen their mom took over, and I came home in the evening and help put them to bed. Their mother abruptly left without notice 7/16/2010 when the kids were four and two. She refused to allow me or my family see the kids, talk to them on the phone, or know where she had gone for about a month. The police of the FBI couldn't help because she was there mother and “it was a civil matter”.

After she repeated broke agreements we made concerning parenting time, I got a lawyer whom I ended up paying $9,673 and was awarded a temporary schedule of equal time with the children switching every day. That equal time schedule was in effect from 8/12/2010 till 09/06/2011 when the final schedule started. During that time I was accused of child abuse, when through the CPS review and the accusation was found unsubstantiated. The GAL (lawyer appointed to represent the children's interests) recommended to the court that the mother and I receive equal parenting time.

Judge Fenning Pierce, made the decision that my kids and I get to be together every Wednesday evening for a few hours, Thursday at 6p till Friday morning and every other weekend. The same Judge decided to base my income for the support payment on the highest possible number possible, the income line from an application for a mortgage I made in 2006. No current financial information, instead the income line (which included one-time inheritance earnings) from a mortgage application made about four years earlier. I fought with the CSEA and the mother in court repeatedly since then in effort to get to be with my children more and lower the support order.

Unsuccessful, and even ordered to pay the mother's lawyer fees I'm now tens of thousands in arrears and facing jail. I remember in the beginning the kids would plead with me want to stay when it was time I had to give them up. That was very hard, my daughter would hold onto my leg of lay on the floor and cry. I was a failure. I could not provide my children with what they desperately wanted and needed; access to their father. Even after all this time my children still ask to see me more. They are seven and nine now, and I have had all my bank accounts seized by the state, have jail looming over my head, but worst of all the mother of my children continually tried to manipulate and alienate the children from me.

All I have ever asked the courts for is substantially equal time with my children, my children to have the right to contact one parent when with the other, and not to order me to pay so much money. I pleaded also in front of magistrate McFarren and Judge John Campbell and they both upheld Judge Pierce's former decisions.

The saddest thing is that my story is not uncommon. Many children and parents have been damaged by our system that encourages parents and the state to treat children like little bags of money. In my personal case, all sorts of cards are stacked against me, and I expect to go to jail. But so many are touched by this system and I encourage you to send a simple email or letter to your state representative if you think something about this system doesn't seem right. Keep this issue in mind when it is time to make your federal vote, not only because such important determinations in childrens' and parents lives deserve the higher level of scrutiny that trials involving even a $50 fine enjoy, but also because the federal government pays each state a kickback based on the amount the state collects in support orders. So the more the State orders and collects in support, the more money they get from the federal government.

The court that claims to make decisions in the best interest of the children do not know or love our children and instead treat them as a revenue stream. Children are the most vulnerable and effected victims in many of these situations and they have no voice in our political system. Our children need you to advocate for them and the parents that love them.

-- Alexander Haas
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