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Failure to Pay Child Support

In re Stephens was a 2007 Waco case in which the father was held in contempt by the judge for failure to pay child support and medical support.  He was sentenced to jail for 180 days and ordered to appear four months later to begin serving his sentence.

The father filed a notice of appeal from the ruling and about 2 weeks later the presiding judge adopted the administrative judge's report.  The father filed a jury demand and a trial on the appeal from the ruling was set.  The father filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Court of Appeals.  

Although a party does not have to be incarcerated to file a writ, they must be facing sufficient restraint of their liberty (i.E. release on bond pending review or probation).  Because the Court of Appeals felt that the father was not at risk for being incarcerated prior to the trial setting on the de novo appeal, the Court of Appeals determined that it had no jurisdiction to issue a writ of habeas corpus.

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