November 07, 2005

On Chadwick

Some on the Right (or perhaps troublemakers from elsewhere) have been circulating criticism lately of Judge Alito's decision in the Chadwick case. One critic went so far as to liken Chadwick to Kelo v. New London, claiming, "The idea that a judge can jail someone without a criminal charge and without a trial for more than a DECADE has legal reformers horrified."

Third Branch Conference chairman Manuel Miranda has responded:

"I have now read the case on civil contempt. I am curious what is desired to be reformed here. Whatever it is, it was not for the Third Circuit and Judge Alito to do.

"If anything, the District Court's ruling under appeal was an activist decision without sound basis. Judge Alito's decision is well presented and compelling. The facts were determined by the Pennsylvania courts, Chadwick had remedies in Pennsylvania courts, upon review the federal precedents were clear. Chadwick was found by Pennsylvania courts to be able to pay his wife, he fled jurisdiction and then was held in contempt in a state law proceeding. He was lucky to get a federal court involved let alone to ignore federal precedents.

"He should seek relief with the legislature, and get a better lawyer. Or just pay what the Pennsylvania court believes he can pay. If his incarceration is unjust, it is not for the federal courts to adjudge, and certainly not a lower court faced with Supreme Court precedent."

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