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. Even while discussing the limits of a court's contempt authority, the US Supreme Court, in Hovey V Elliot (1897), made it quite clear the vast powers accorded to courts of equity: [Even conceding] "the statute does not limit their authority, and hence that the courts of the District of Columbia, notwithstanding the statute, are vested with those general powers to punish for contempt which have been usually exercised by courts of equity without express statutory grant ... " http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=167&invol=409 This ruling was referenced as presidential in Degen v. United States (95-173), 517 U.S. 820 (1996). So it seems to me as a non-lawyer to be established constitutional law. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/display.html?terms=%22contempt%20of%20cour t%22&url=/supct/html/95-173.ZO.html In Michigan, there is an "appropriate statute" limiting the authority of the courts to hold someone in contempt. The Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act, which reads in MCL 552.613, Section 13: " The court may find a source of income in contempt, require the source of income to pay an amount according to section 11a(2) if the terms of that section have been satisfied, and fine the source of income if the source of income is served with a notice of income withholding and fails to comply with the notice or to pay withheld amounts to the friend of the court after the order becomes binding under section 11. The IV-D agency is responsible for initiating contempt proceedings under this section. Contempt proceedings under this section may be initiated in any county with jurisdiction over the source of income." MCL 552.631-635 go into detail explaining under what conditions the court may exercise its contempt powers: In particular, note MCL 552.632, Section 32, Paragraph 4, which reads in part: "(4) At a hearing held after a payer deposits a cash performance bond, the issues to be considered are limited to the payer's answer to the order to show cause and, if the payer was found in contempt, to further proceedings related to the payer's contempt. .... " That means, no bringing up parenting time, domestic violence on the part of the payee, etc. Please note that such a hearing is, I believe as a non-lawyer, a constitutional requirement. Reading more into Hovey V Elliott: "even conceding that the statute does not limit their authority, and hence that the courts of the District of Columbia, notwithstanding the statute, are vested with those general powers to punish for contempt which have been usually exercised by courts of equity without express statutory grant, a more fundamental question yet remains to be determined,-that is, whether a court possessing plenary power to punish for contempt, unlimited by statute, has the right to summon a defendant to
answer, and then, after obtaining jurisdiction by the summons, refuse to allow the party summoned to answer, or strike his answer from the files, suppress the testimony in his favor, and condemn him without consideration thereof, and without a hearing, on the theory that he has been guilty of a contempt of court. The mere statement of this proposition would seem, in reason and conscience, to render imperative a negative answer. The fundamental [167 U.S. 409, 414] conception of a court of justice is condemnation only after hearing. To say that courts have inherent power to deny all right to defend an action, and to render decrees without any hearing whatever, is, in the very nature of things, to convert the court exercising such an authority into an instrument of wrong and oppression, and hence to strip it of that attribute of justice upon which the exercise of judicial power necessarily depends." If I were such a defendant, I might quote briefly from Hovey V Elliot and respectfully remind the court of it's constitutional duty to hear me before finding me in contempt. If I had reported a change of circumstances due to a job loss or similar to the FOC, and was denied, I would argue that I should not be held in contempt because my obligation has been artificially inflated. This is because I was denied the Title IV-D service of child support modification, in violation of the requirement of "substantial compliance" by the state to the Title IV-D statute. This, I believe, is my individualized right as the US Supreme Court explained under Blessing v. Freestone (95-1441), 520 U.S. 329 (1997), and it has been violated by the servants of this court. It is therefore not in the interests of justice to compound this previous injustice by jailing me. Similarly, if I had any medical condition or other reason that I could not work, and the FOC had refused to take this into account (or even if not), I would present evidence to that effect. In particular, if I suffered from depression due to being a victim of domestic violence, including loosing access to my children due to the alienating behaviors of the other parent, I would mention it as a factor in my difficulty obtaining greater income. If I felt that I had been discriminated against as a CS payer, or if a previous divorce had caused a plunge in my credit rating that negatively effected my employment prospects, I would mention those factors also.