Child Support Magistrate Josephine Clark threw a fully disabled veteran, Joshua Jones, in jail on September 14, 2016 for being unable to pay a child support order. The sentence she gave him was to sit in jail “indefinitely” until he could pay a purge of $782.00. Clark is married to District Attorney David Clark, who signed the order to hold Joshua in jail. Judges are jailing parents for nonpayment of child support despite the Department of Justice recommending that judges consider other “least restrictive” ways of addressing this.
Several years back the family courts in Anderson County, Tennessee, made Josh homeless following his divorce. That may have been several years ago, 2012. But the attacks on this veteran by the family courts have not stopped. Josh recently spent a week in jail until he could pay to get out. And he wouldn’t have gotten out then if Kash Jackson with Restoring Freedom hadn’t stepped in and put up a GoFund me page that raised the money within hours to free Joshua Jones.
Josh says that the other people the magistrate was throwing in jail that day had far less purge amounts set than he did; some were only $100 or less! One might suspect that the courts are punishing Josh for challenging the judge and the state’s authority to weasel their way around the federal laws that protect Veteran’s Disability money. Josh receives this money for his basic necessities and the court’s were denied garnishment in a letter stating that taking this money would create an “undue financial hardship” on this veteran.
Joshua Jones brought the federal laws to his court and his apportionment letter showing that he had inability to pay. The lady representing the state from the child support office, according to Josh, said that the federal laws do not apply, or don’t exist. Josh says the judge’s response to Josh begging the court to apply his apportionment letter and federal and federal laws was, “Well you should have brought this to me sooner.” Josh was floored at this response from the judge. She acted as if Josh should have known all of this, “as if he was the attorney” Josh said.
Sherry Palmer says that the state of Texas has interpreted the apportionment of Veteran’s wages in the case
Josh’s wife was thrown out of the court by the judge and Josh was left without his wife who is his full time caregiver. Wives have the right to remain with their husband in the courtroom. They are an exception to the witness rule of having to be excluded. Shortly after Josh’s sentencing, Jessica could hear the ex-wife and the ex-wife’s father and mother laughing as they cuffed Josh and took him to jail. After they put Josh in jail the judge spent a good 15 minutes talking to the ex-wife and her attorney leading Jessica to wonder exactly how deep these relationships go and how far this corruption and collusion really was.
Josh is being stripped of his freedoms that he spent 6 years in the army protecting for all Americans. He is not being protected by those rights that he fought to protect. The court also revoked Josh’s driver’s license the same day that they threw him in jail. He now cannot drive to his appointments. Josh has a carry permit but that was also revoked by the state of Tennessee. And Josh is not seeing his children.
JAIL and JOSH’s RELEASE
Josh did not receive his medications for 3 days. He did not receive his anti-depressant for 5! He has a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from being blown up by an IED in his Humvee in Iraq and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Josh served this country in the military for 6 years and was honorably discharged around 2010. He was not given a change of clothing for 5 days and wasn’t bathed daily. His wife, Jessica, is his full-time caretaker and says that Josh needs assistance with this. Is this acceptable to anyone reading this to treat our veterans in this manner!
As soon as Josh was jailed, Jessica contacted Greg Parsons and alerted him. Greg Parsons runs a veterans child support group on Facebook and has authored child support motions that he posts for free in this group for veterans to be able to defend themselves against this corrupt and violative practice that the states have adopted and are using to attack not only our veterans but also every parent they create child support orders against.
Greg Parsons did what he does and does so well. He began alerting people to let them know what was going on. One of the people he alerted was Sherry Palmer. Sherry then called Kash Jackson and asked Kash if he could find people to get the money together to get Josh out because Sherry was concerned that Josh would not make it not having access to his medications and not having proper care for his condition. Kash, like the hero and champion of protecting this country’s rights that he is, took action immediately and created a call to action video he called “Mad as hell” and a GoFundMe page.
The GoFundMe page raised the funds within hours and Josh’s wife was able to get him out of jail the day before her birthday last week.
LIFE AFTER JOSH’S RELEASE
It took his wife, Jessica Jones, a year and a half to where Josh was able to function on somewhat of a close to normal range with his PTSD and TBI. The family courts “destroyed that in three days,” Jessica said.
Josh now cannot afford to see his therapist and other care specialists because of the purge payment that the jail required in order to release him.
Josh was forced to take other medications in jail that were not his regular medications. The jail forced him to take blood pressure medication and a different depression medication for several days before providing him his own on the fifth day. Anti-depressant medications typically are not medicines that you can stop cold turkey. Usually you have to taper off an anti-depressant. I don’t know the ramifications of forcing a completely different anti-depressant on someone and then re-starting them back on their regular anti-depressant five days later, but have read that this is not recommended by most physicians and in fact can be dangerous for some medications.
Jessica and Josh will continue to fight to see the children despite being punished to do so. Anderson County and the State of Tennessee is not unique in that all states have a history of treating the parent they labeled as noncustodial like they have no rights and punishing them for fighting for those rights. They continue to call this “in the best interest of the child.”
Josh and Jessica still face an uphill battle and Josh is not out of danger. He can face jail again. Child support is not like other crimes where you pay the price once and you have paid for the crime. Josh never committed any crimes before, and this child support issue has criminalized him. The affects that this will continue to have on Josh’s life are numerous and only time will tell if he will be able to restore these rights over time. The time that Josh has lost with his children is not reparable and can never be restored. The impact that this will have on his relationship with his children cannot be measured and the effects can only be speculated.
This kind of treatment is stressful for a fully functional and healthy person. For someone who has already had their share of trauma, it can be devastating.
All the more reason that the family courts are required to follow the federal law and are required to apply proper due process and procedure according to the 14th amendment and Article VI of the United States Constitution. These rights protect people from courts making grave errors when it comes to making decisions regarding fundamental rights.
What Veterans Should Know About Modifying Child Support:*
Before heading into a hearing on child support enforcement make sure you have done the following:
- Make sure that you have a proper defense. Check your state statutes for what is an acceptable defense. An example of a defense would be an “inability to pay.” Saying that you aren’t paying because they are violating federal law or the constitution does not qualify as inability to pay.
- Have a Habeas Corpus petition ready in case you get put in jail. A habeas can only get you out of jail if the judge is found to have made an incorrect ruling. You will have to prove that the ruling was an abuse of discretion or whatever the error is that you claim. Just make sure that the error is actually one that the appellate court can use to overturn the incarceration order. Sometimes they let you out but require that you have that ability to pay hearing even after you are let out. You could be jailed again if you cannot prove a proper defense.
- Check into doing a collateral attack on whatever child support order they are enforcing. If you believe that the order was issued in violation of federal law then you need to try and get that in front of the judge properly.
- Collateral attacks are very technically difficult.
The following caselaw and information has been provided by Greg Parsons:
42 USC Section 1997a – when in jail
42 USC Section 1997c. For the AG
And if you are a Vet or assisting a Veteran in Anderson County: The Anderson County Veterans Service Officer is Leon Jaquet (865) 463- 6803 cell is (865) 556-0997
*DISCLAIMER: We are not attorneys. We do not practice law. This information is not a substitution for an attorney. Please seek the help and advice of an attorney to advise you specifically about your case. We do not know the nuances of your case or whether this information is applicable.
Interview on YouTube supplied by Jeff Morgan.
Kash Jackson of RestoringFreedom2016
Greg Parsons of Disabled Veterans Child Support — See more on Josh’s story here: https://www.facebook.com/WATE6OnYourSide/posts/10157554499870193
Department of Justice letter advising against incarceration as punishment for nonpayment of child support: https://www.justice.gov/crt/file/832461/download