Dead Beat Dads: Minorities Not Worthy Of Civil Rights?

2056 words - 8 pages

Fathers every year in Washington go to jail for nothing more than being broke (Deadbeat). They are called “dead beat dads” by their peers, scorn by society, and treated as subclass citizens (ASSOCIATED). This is a very grim reality that men of every age range face daily. Both men and women make the choices which result in babies. Conversely, women are given a choice at every stage of the child’s development to adopt out, abort, or even use contraception (Why). Therefore, men and women share equal responsibility for the children they conceive. However, men do not have the same options, or protections, women do (Why). As a result, DCS hunts men down, treating men like criminals until they lay a golden egg (House; ASSOCIATED). Some men never do lay the golden egg, and these are the truly “dead broke” dads (Miller; Deadbeat). Overall, this is a list of inequalities which are simply unconstitutional. Each one of these amounting to another violation of men’s fundamental rights (civil liberties).
In making my case, I first provide a description of the two laws which contribute to imprisonment of alleged fathers, then describe the cases in which alleged fathers may lose their licenses even commercial licenses. First, contempt of court is often used when there is already a support order in place and the father cannot make his obligations under the order. Contempt requires only bad faith to be proven, and only requires a preponderance of evidence. Contempt is not held to the same standard as criminal hearings (though it can still lead to loss of liberty). Second, Federal Criminal Non-support can be used in cases where the alleged father is out of state. Non-support however, requires much more substantiated evidence. For a non-support case you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, the father does not reside in the same state as his child, DCS has exhausted every other remedy for collections, there have been no payments in six months, and the father can pay support. However, merely bringing the charge against a father is enough to have him spend the night in jail, possibly losing his job. Finally, when unemployed fathers cannot meet their obligations they can lose their licenses (even commercial). There is no requirement of evidence for these cases, DCS can simply revoke the father’s license until all support owed is paid.
Now, I’ll cover two interesting hearings which clearly demonstrate how these violations lead to imprisonment. My presentation begins with a Washingtonian, Robin Miller. He’s what some would call a “deadbeat dad.” The story, as he tells it, begins with a child support hearing (Miller). At this hearing he had $540 he planned to pay on his order (Miller). Unfortunately, $540 wasn’t enough for the DA who threatened jail time if he could not come up with $2500 (Miller). As a result, Robin Miller refused to sign any order and kept the money he was going to pay (Miller). Miller believed he would need this money in order to pay for...

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