Monday, July 13, 2009

It's official. BEATTY IS FREE!!!!

After 14 Years in Jail over Alimony, Chadwick Finally Freed—Son Worked Tirelessly for Dad’s Release
July 13th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

In 1995, a family court judge ordered corporate lawyer, H. Beatty Chadwick to deposit $2.5 million in the court’s registry to pay alimony to his ex-wife, Barbara Applegate. Chadwick said he didn’t have the money, but the court believed he’d stashed it somewhere during the divorce. So, because Chadwick didn’t pay, the judge jailed him for contempt of court.

As this article says, that was when Apollo 13 was box office dynamite and O.J. Simpson was being acquitted of murder (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/11/09). In other words, it was a long time ago.

And Chadwick’s been in stir ever since. During that time, the court hired investigators to find the money. They found nothing, but Chadwick wasn’t released. In his decision to free Chadwick, Judge Joseph Cronin maintained that he could have paid the money, but refused to. Why he believes that in the absence of any actual money escapes me.

Chadwick’s son, William, worked tirelessly for his release. The article gives no information about Applegate.

Chadwick, who is now 73, seems remarkably equable about the whole thing, describing prison as “a very artificial society.” Some people use stronger words than that.

For the immediate future, Chadwick intends to live with William, but says he needs to find a job, given that Social Security is his only income. He may try to go into teaching or get his law license reinstated.

Fourteen years is a long time for not paying alimony that he apparently didn’t have the money to pay.

[In a column on this case a few years ago, Wendy McElroy wrote:

"A. Leo Sereni, a former president judge in Pennsylvania, was appointed to track Chadwick's money. Eighteen months and two accounting firms later, Sereni reported no trace beyond what had been discovered a decade before. Money had been transferred to Europe and a small fraction had reappeared in U.S. accounts. Sereni concluded, 'most of it...nowhere.'

"He recommended Chadwick's release, stating, 'My God -- if he had stolen $2 million, he would have been out a couple of years ago.'"--GS]

Friday, January 9, 2009

WSJ: "No Charge: In Civil-Contempt Cases, Jail Time Can Stretch On for Years"

The esteemed Wall Street Journal takes a look at civil contempt cases and comes to the same conclusion that we have. They suck. re-posted here for your convenience.

By ASHBY JONES

One can spend a long time in jail in the U.S. without ever being charged with a crime.

It happened to H. Beatty Chadwick, a former Philadelphia-area lawyer, who has been behind bars for nearly 14 years without being charged.

Businessman Manuel Osete spent nearly three years in an Arizona jail without ever receiving a criminal charge. And investment manager Martin Armstrong faced a similar situation when he was held for more than six years in a Manhattan jail.

All three men were jailed for civil contempt, a murky legal concept. Some scholars say it is too often abused by judges, to the detriment of those charged and their due-process rights. "These results of too many civil-contempt confinements are flatly outrageous and often unconstitutional," says Jayne Ressler, a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

Martin Armstrong was jailed for six years for civil contempt.

In some contexts, the federal system limits civil-contempt confinement to 18 months. Some states have similar limits. But in other states, judges face few restrictions on how long someone can be held in civil contempt.

A judge generally can issue either a civil or criminal contempt charge whenever he or she feels that a party has disobeyed an order or has disrupted a proceeding.

In a criminal contempt charge, which is aimed at punishing bad behavior, a defendant is afforded the due-process safeguards of the criminal system, including a possible jury trial.

Civil contempt charges, on the other hand, are meant to be coercive, issued to force behavior such as making a witness testify, compelling a journalist to reveal sources or strong-arming a parent into paying child support. Because civil "contemnors" hold the key to their own freedom -- after all, complying will spring them -- they aren't given the same due-process rights as criminal defendants.

If someone held for civil contempt can't meet the judge's order, theoretically, the confinement should end. And while long-term civil confinements are unusual, problems arise when a court doesn't believe the person. With the party and judge at loggerheads over, say, the availability of funds, it is often the contemnor who loses, forced to remain behind bars at the mercy of a skeptical judge. That has sparked cries for reform.

Consider Mr. Chadwick's case. In 1994, during divorce proceedings, a Delaware County judge held Mr. Chadwick in civil contempt for failing to put $2.5 million in a court-controlled account. He says he lost the money in bad investments; his wife's attorney claimed he had hidden it offshore. In April 1995, Mr. Chadwick was arrested and detained. Nearly 14 years later, Mr. Chadwick, who suffers from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is still in jail -- even after a retired judge was hired to help locate the money, and failed.

"The money is gone," says Mr. Chadwick's lawyer, Michael Malloy. "The coercive effect of this order is gone; it has turned into a life sentence."

The judge who held Mr. Chadwick in contempt in 1994 couldn't be reached for comment, but he has said publicly that he doesn't believe Mr. Chadwick lacks the funds.

Few argue that civil-contempt confinement should be abandoned altogether. "The threat of jail is sometimes the only thing that will make a person comply with a court order," says Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA law school.

For some, including Albert Momjian, the lawyer for Mr. Chadwick's ex-wife, the theory still holds. "There's no doubt in my mind that he has the money and could walk out of jail next week if he wanted to," says Mr. Momjian.

Critics question why the burden rests with contemnors such as Mr. Chadwick to prove they don't have the money, rather than with a prosecutor to prove they do. "It runs counter to our entire system to say 'It's your burden to prove a negative,'" says Brooklyn Law School's Ms. Ressler.

Another concern: While those sent to jail for civil contempt may appeal their confinements, appellate judges often will overturn lower-court rulings only if they find an "abuse of discretion," a standard that offers trial judges wide latitude.

Reformers hope that more states enact laws limiting the terms of civil confinement, as Congress did in 1970, when it passed a statute limiting the length of civil-contempt confinement to 18 months for those who refuse to testify in federal court or to a federal grand jury. After that, if civil confinement hasn't coerced a certain behavior, the burden would fall to the government to bring criminal charges.

"As a matter of due process, I think 18 months is enough in most cases," says Thomas Sjoblom, the lawyer for Martin Armstrong. Mr. Sjoblom argued unsuccessfully that the 1970 law should have extended to the situation involving his client, who failed to produce $15 million in gold and antiquities in a civil suit alleging securities fraud. "After that, let the government prove a criminal case." Mr. Armstrong is currently serving a five-year sentence for criminal conspiracy.

Of course, such a limit might give contemnors an incentive to wait, knowing that eventually they will be reunited with their riches.

Nonetheless, some states are modifying their laws. In the midst of the situation involving Mr. Osete, who was detained in Arizona from late 2002 to late 2005 for refusing to hand over more than $800,000 in alimony and interest payments, which he said he didn't have, the Arizona Supreme Court changed its rules. Now, Arizona courts must hold hearings every 35 days for those held in civil contempt on family-law issues, and judges must find that a contemnor has the ability to comply with the order.

Write to Ashby Jones at ashby.jones@wsj.com

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Enemy Combatants have more rights then H. Beatty Chadwick

For the second time in a week or so, I couldn't help but draw parallels between the unfortunate residents at Guantanamo Bay and our very own H. Beatty Chadwick. Those not "in the know" would be surprised to find out that the U.S. Supreme Court (those are the Fed's, folks) recently voted 5-4 in favor of granting protection under the U.S. Constitution with respect to the Writ Of habeas corpus. This Writ is often referred to as the hallmark of a civilized nation. It guarantees that...oh hell, here it is direct from Wikipedia:

'Habeas corpus' (IPA: /ˈheɪbiəs ˈkɔɹpəs/) (Latin: [We command] that you have the body)[1] is the name of a legal action, or writ, through which a person can seek relief from unlawful detention of himself or another person. The writ of habeas corpus has historically been an important instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action.

Did everyone get that "unlawful detention" part? And the part about "safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action?"

Starting to sound familiar? This is EXACTLY what H. Beatty Chadwick has been saying for the last 13 years!! Yet no one wants to touch this.

It's no coincidence that Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito count among the dissenting opinions. Clarence Thomas is an idiot and probably still trying to find the pubic hair on his Coke can, and Alito is the SAME judge whose 3rd Circuit decision kept Chadwick in jail.

Seven years into Chadwick's as yet undetermined sentence (13 years and counting) he petitioned the US district court on the Writ of habeas corpus...and was ordered RELEASED!!! His ex wife got a stay granted and appealed to the 3rd Court, where then Judge Alito wrote an opinion that the the State was upholding its "right" to keep a debtor in jail for an "indefinite period of time..." even for life...and overturned the lower courts decision....keeping Chadwick in jail.

When did Alimony become a debt and not a duty? Seems like the courts change the word to suit them best. And if the State can jail you for a debt, what prevents them from making all of us criminals? They simple have to declare that you "owe" alimony. Ipso facto...your a criminal.

If we ever needed to get supreme court justice off the bench, Alito is the one.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Chadwick denied....again.

New story by the Delco Times. Check it out.

Long story short. The three judge panel decides that Chadwick needs to remain in jail, because if he gets out he will feel he has “beaten the system.”

At 72 years old. The man has only a few years left. This is a disgrace.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who is Barbara Chadwick?

Every divorce starts with two people. Although Beatty is the one in jail, his ex wife Barbara (Bobbie) initiated the divorce action. She played the wounded spouse card, and claimed that Beatty was a control freak. Being subject to a "control freak" must be grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania. Anyway, after the divorce and Chadwick's imprisonment Bobbie remarried and moved to Maine. This is what her good neighbors had to say about her.

"Why didn't the Media, PA court take testimony from this witness re: the truthfulness of Mrs. Chadwick, Judge Battle we can understand cause he's 2 yards under but before Beatty joins him why don't you Judge Clouse, either take off the blindfold or put it back on and try the case===> here's just the first of Mrs. Chadwick's bad-character witnesses, read & weep for what you've done to an innocent man: Oh...we know all about what Mr.Chadwick is going through. How we know? We live next door to his ex-wife Barbara Chadwick. My husband and I have lived in the town of Thomaston for twenty-four years and Barbara Chadwick/aka Applegate had all kinds of suits against us (FALSE ALLEGATIONS) She and her new hubby thought they could come into a small town and brag about their wealth, dig for more money and rule us. Well, what they didn't know is that we are a tight knit little town and she thinks she can fool us like she is with the PA Judge. Our Lawyer saw right through her just as many in our town. The Judge on Chadwick/Applegate vs. Chadwick is so wrapped tight around Barbara's finger that it shows how weak the Judicial system can be. People think Mainers are backwards and stupid...Oh Ms. Applegate now knows she can't move our mountains. She sure plays quite a tune with Pennsylvania that must be a real stupid place to live! If they can't see through her negative ways and check on her legal history of taken people to Court...Wow! POOR Mr.Chadwick is stuck in the spiders web! We hope and pray for Mr. Chadwick's release. It is such a terrible thing to think that any sane decent human being can think that she/he can have so much power over someone to keep them squirming like a worm on a hook...it must be a personal thing with the individuals who have consumed such false power."
LESA KITCHING
THOMASTON, MAINE

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

George W. Hill Correctional Facility


Here is a picture of Chadwick's current residence. It's the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, in Thornton, PA. Operated by a contractor for profit, their website says that prisoners are to be held there for a maximum of "1 day less then 5 years." Why then, has Chadwick been there for 13 years? Did he fall through a crack in the floor?

The Delaware County, Pennsylvania website say's that the prison "Received an Excellent rating from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections." However, folks who have actually tried to visit the prison complain about the two to three hour wait just to get in and the abusive guards that aggressively pat you down before your visit.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Who is H. Beatty Chadwick?

Jailed for over 13 years, H. Beatty Chadwick has been imprisoned for Contempt of Court without trial, or charges. No, not in China, or North Korea, or Guantanamo Bay, but right here in the good ole' US of A.

Chadwick's big crime was getting divorced in Pennsylvania, and not forking over his life savings to his spoiled ex wife, Barbara. The judge ordered that Chadwick turn over 2.5 million dollars to Barbara (whom had done nothing to earn the money) or go to jail. Chadwick contended that the money had been lost in a bad investment and he couldn't turn any money over to her even if he wanted too.

Not much later, Chadwick was arrested and sent to the county lockup. He's been there ever since. No charges, no trial, no chance to confront his accuser. The judge acted as accuser, jury, and jailer. Despite almost a dozen appeals, Chadwick remains in prison.

Readers will ask, "if he's been in jail that long, he must have done something wrong" or "why wont he just turn over the money?" The question here isn't about the money, or what Chadwick did or did not do. The question is, can our judiciary simply lock us up and throw away the key....at will? And if they can, what prevents them from doing it to you?

Chadwick doesn't belong in anyones jail. Especially, without a trial. Barbara, who initiated the divorce has since remarried. She left Chadwick supposedly for a better life. If she hasn't gotten it, why is Chadwick the one being punished?


This blog, and the efforts of its writer, seek to free Chadwick. If you're with me, please comment and work with me to get this man out of jail.