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Court rules on child support nonpayment case

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Just because someone doesn’t pay child support for more than one son or daughter doesn’t mean the person can be charged more than once for that criminal nonpayment if there’s only one support order issued.

The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a decision today in Amir H. Sanjari v. State of Indiana, No. 20A03-1007-CR-384, a dramatic child support case out of Elkhart County. The father and mother had married in London in 1982, moved to Switzerland before the couple’s two children were born and they later moved to the U.S. Sanjari worked as a nuclear physicist at Notre Dame and eventually went to work as a medical physicist at a cancer treatment center in Goshen before they divorced in 2000.

At first, they shared joint custody but the mother obtained sole custody in 2001 and a long legal battle on custody and support began. Sanjari sought relief from federal courts and agencies for several years alleging a “train of conspiracy” against him by his former wife and the state courts. During that time he was moving between states and refusing to pay his support at all. The state charged him with two counts of Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent child in October 2006 when the amount totaled $17,728, but he remained at large and was ultimately arrested in California and extradited to Indiana in March 2009.

Jailed during the legal proceedings, Sanjari received repeated continuances and refused appointed and standby counsel as he attempted to represent himself. At one point he held a hunger strike in protest and a guardian ad litem was appointed. He eventually told the trial court he felt ill and couldn’t attend a pretrial hearing, and he tried to have an attorney from Ohio and Washington D.C. represent him. But that lawyer wasn’t licensed here and despite the court’s notice and repeated attempts to assist Sanjari, that out-of-state counsel wasn’t admitted and the hearing date arrived in late 2009. Sanjari complained of an ear infection in prison and the court held the hearing in his absence.

That became a part of the appeal when Sanjari argued the trial court erred in holding that hearing, but the Court of Appeals disagreed and said the man had received enough notice and there wasn’t evidence that he could not have attended.

Ruling against the father on nearly all of his points, the Court of Appeals did find in his favor on the issue of whether the double jeopardy prohibition had been violated by the two felony child support charges. Sanjari argued that only one child support order had been issued and it included both of his minor children, so he shouldn’t have been charged or convicted twice.

Analyzing Indiana Code Section 35-46-1-5(a), the appellate panel noted that the law says a person can be charged with a class C felony if the total amount of unpaid child support is at least $15,000 and is owed for one or more children.

The court vacated his second Class C felony nonsupport count, but affirmed the five-year sentence on the first one.
 

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  • Child Support
    How do I get results like that? My ex-wife owes me in excess of $50,000. My case has been with the Allen County prosecutors office for over 3 yrs now. The last payment she made was in september 2010. She has filed a motion for relief of judgement.. What does that mean exactly?

    Thanks
  • child support
    Was your case in Elkhart... can you tell me some details? My husband is in jail for non-support and awaiting his court dates. I am wondering if they're still doing the two charge thing ... on the court document they sent here has two instances listed (as if they're two seperate issues).
  • two felonies
    i was convicted the same way. cani sue?mikejewel48@yahoo.com
    • USA Police State
      This Story is all over world.

      The USA has a well earned reputation of being a police state. Even for the most minor infraction, you can go to jail for years....

      The USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world and stand with Iran as it's only partner in trying juveniles as adults.

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    1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

    2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

    3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

    4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

    5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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