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Subject: Failure of Tallahassee Police Department and the State Attorney to investigate a criminal violation under FS 827, Child Abuse
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2012 14:33:39 -0400
I am writing today regarding a criminal violation; FS 827.06. This statute seems to be very rarely enforced; I myself recently became aware of it after reading a news article about a woman in Palm City, Florida who was able to get her State Attorney to bring charges on her ex-husband only after writing her representative, and anyone else who would listen (http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/jul/04/palm-city-mom-pushes-use-of-criminal-statute/?print=1).
I too have issues with my ex-husband not supporting his dependent (my son). I do not have a case with Revenue and I am not required to have my child support order enforced by Revenue. I feel Revenue’s services should be for those who are on state assistance or do not have the knowledge or resources to handle their own child support matters. I am quite knowledgeable in these areas and have handled most matters with the court myself (pro se) and will continue to do so.
My sons father is over $7000.00 delinquent and has never paid a regularly ordered child support payment. The only money my son has received has been through contempt orders. My ex-husband has only paid money to get out of jail if the bond is low enough (cash purge reduced by the first appearance judge) or at the contempt hearing to avoid a warrant being issued for his arrest. He has been held in contempt approximately 5 times. My son is only 3 1/2.
On Friday, June 29, 2012, I filed a report with Tallahassee Police Department, only after arguing with a woman on the non emergency number that I was trying to report a criminal violation, not a civil violation. She demanded I read her the statute before she dispatched an officer.
Once the officer arrived he was shocked to learn of the statute and stated in 18 years of service he was completely unaware of the statute. He called a superior who informed him to take the report, which he did. He was very patient with me after reading and comprehending there actually is a criminal statute which is completely seperate from procedures under civil child support statutes.
The officer explained normal procedures of assigning a complaint to an investigator, and then if there is sufficient evidence of a crime uncovered during the investigation it would be forwarded to the State Attorney of the 2nd Judicial Circuit, Willie Meggs, for prosecution.
I called TPD today and spoke with a woman in the criminal investigations unit. She relayed a message from Sgt. Johnson, the supervisor who reviewed my report and who would make a decision regarding whether to investigate or not. The message was that TPD “does not handle child support.” I explained I was reporting a criminal violation and left a message for Sgt. Johnson to call me. Hopefully I will be able to persuade Sgt. Johnson to read the statute, which is very clear in its intent and operation. As the Legislature states, “existing statutory provisions for civil enforcement have not proven sufficiently effective or efficient in gaining adequate support for all children.” The statute clearly calls for criminal penalties in appropriate cases of willful failure to pay.
Many parents are violating this criminal statute; my sons father is but one. It is time the criminal statute be enforced. It is time that the TPD and the State Attorney investigate allegations of 827.06 and prosecute the non supporting parents as the criminals they are. Faillure to investigate and prosecute in my opinion is equal to leniency toward the issue of child abuse and sends the message that our community does not care if you don’t take care of your children. We need to get tough!
I want my report of a criminal violation of FS 827.06, Child Abuse, Non Support of Dependents be properly investigated by TPD and prosecuted by the 2nd Judicial Circuit of Florida, Willie Meggs.