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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. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

    2. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

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