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Father entitled to counsel at contempt hearing

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A Marion County man has made a prima facie showing that the trial court erred by denying his request for counsel at a hearing on contempt. Brian Moore’s ex-wife wanted him found in contempt for not paying the full amount of child support.

Moore is supposed to pay his ex-wife $139 per week in support for their two children. She filed a motion for rule to show cause why Moore should not be found in contempt for failing to pay less than $50 since the June 2013 order. She asked the court to order him to serve 30 days in jail and that the sentence be suspended pending his compliance.

At the hearing on the motion, Moore appeared pro se and asked that an attorney be appointed to represent him because he faced jail time. But Marion Superior Judge Robert Altice Jr. denied the request because any jail sentence would be suspended. The court found Moore in contempt, sentenced him to 30 days and suspended it until a compliance hearing was held.

“Here, there is a clear possibility that Brian is indigent. Furthermore, even though the trial court suspended the sentence and indicated it would reconsider the issue of appointing counsel prior to the compliance hearing, Brian clearly risked the possibility of losing his physical liberty as a result of the trial court’s contempt finding. Thus, if indigent, Brian was entitled to have counsel represent him at that hearing, not just at the subsequent compliance hearing,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote in  Brian S. Moore v. Kristy L. Moore, 49A04-1310-DR-499.  

The case is remanded for the court to determine if Moore is indigent and, if so, to appoint counsel to represent him at a new contempt hearing.

 

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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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