Hamilton County Ohio Wrongfully Labels 2,822 Parents as “Deadbeats”

I mentioned in my previous post that Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis had listed 3500+ Civil Defendants on his web site who had outstanding warrants. That page had disappeared, but I’ve since learned that the Hamilton County Sheriff’s web site was updated.

That said, I’ve found the new link that now lists 2,822 parents as “Deadbeats” with outstanding civil warrants for contempt. Personally, I’m tired of Non-Custodial Parents (NCPs) being wrongfully labeled as “Deadbeats” simply because they’ve fallen behind in child support payments. Notice in the aforementioned link there is a disclaimer that states:

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office makes every effort to update Dead Beat Parent information on a daily basis (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays). However, due to the fact that this information is continually changing, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office makes no expressed or implied guarantee concerning the accuracy of this information.

Am I missing something? If they cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information as stated in the disclaimer, then why do they label 2,822 parents as deadbeats, not knowing whether or not it’s true? Why did these people fall behind? Was it because they were laid off, or because they were hospitalized, or were they terminated from their employment like I, when Mr. Leis’ “Hamilton County Fugitive Warrant Unit” came to my former place of employment to arrest me? Most employers do not appreciate having business operations interrupted by the police who have come to arrest an employee. They don’t care that it’s just a civil infraction and usually fire the employee involved.

The world-renowned Father’s Rights Activist Glenn Sacks rightfully points out in his Blog that many of these Fathers have held low paying jobs for much of their life. As Glenn has noted how can a Father making minimum wage end up owing sixty, seventy or eighty thousand dollars? Either he’s been ordered to pay an amount he can’t afford, (it’s not uncommon for Fathers to have monthly child support orders in amounts that exceed their monthly income) or the amount of the arrears is wrong.

For example, a Non-Custodial Parent (NCP) who is alleged to owe $30,000 may actually only be behind only $8,000. The $30,000 amount is an amount that includes interest and penalties that the Child Support Enforcement Agency’s (CSEA’s) add on to increase their federal incentive matching dollars.

Is a Father who fell behind in support after he had a stroke or heart attack a “deadbeat?” Is a Father who has custody of his children but doesn’t pay support to the non-custodial mother a deadbeat? How about the Fathers who’ve lost their jobs because they were arrested at work by police, are they deadbeats?

In 40 years I had never been terminated or laid off by an employer. Today, I am still unable to find a job after I was terminated when Mr. Leis’ Fugitive Warrant Unit appeared at my former employer’s business to arrest me. There are many within Ohio Council for Fathers Rights (OCFFR) membership who were terminated as well after having been arrested at work on a civil warrant.

Child support collection agencies, CSEA’s, Sheriff’s departments and many other claim that they are not civilly liable when they label NCP’s as deadbeats. Their reasoning is such that it’s “true” because they are behind in support and it’s therefore not libelous or slanderous.

I beg to differ. The dictionary definition of a deadbeat clearly depicts them as one who intentionally avoids paying debts, are a loafer, a sponger, and shirks their parental responsibilities. How does one pay their support when the actions of the sheriff who labels them as such caused that parents unemployment? How is a Father recovering from a stroke or heart attack who is physically unable to work and their motion to reduce their support payments currently based on a $75,000 salary they no longer make was denied?

Don’t parental responsibilities include such things as loving your children, spending time with them, teaching them, nurturing them, helping them with homework, taking them to soccer games and doctor appointments, and always being there for them as any loving parent would be? Need I enumerate the thousands of other things that parental responsibilities include? Yet, take only one known as “child support” and a parent who fell behind is a monstrous, uncaring, unloving beasts known as a “deadbeat?” I wholeheartedly disagree with that ignorant notion.

If more Pro Se Litigants would step up and file civil suits against these people who wrongly judge and condemn others whose situations they know little or nothing about, it would not be financially conducive for those counties, sheriffs, CSEAs etc to continue with such contemptuously hateful behavior.

It’s quite simple, fight fire with fire. If Mr. Leis’ offices had to defend itself against 500 separate lawsuits alleging, libel, slander, defamation of character etc, they’d discontinue doing so because it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

Think about it, there’s a very good reason medications such as preparation-h, steroid creams, etc are labeled, “do not take internally.” It’s because those companies’ legal departments have concluded that it’s less expensive to place a warning label on preparation-h, than it is to defend against the lawsuits brought forth by intellectually challenged people who put the medication on cancer sores in their mouths.

I don’t care that few if any lawsuits have been filed against those who publicly mislabel NCP’s as such. If my name and or picture are ever published with the label “deadbeat” by a county, CSEA, media or sheriff, rest assured that I will file suit Pro Se against all offending parties and we will argue about the definition of a deadbeat in front of the judges sitting on the highest court who care to listen.

Tony Fantetti

Ohio Council for Fathers Rights

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