Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Defendant who chose musical "career" over steady job gets convicted for failure to pay child support

U.S. v. Fuller, 2014 WL 1887584 (5/13/14) (Kan.) (Published) - There was sufficient evidence to support Mr. Fuller's conviction for willfully failing to pay child support in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 228(a)(1), even though he did not have the ability to pay support. He earned less than $600 a year, but there was sufficient evidence he willfully refused to obtain paying jobs and instead pursued his less lucrative musical "career." Bringing children into the world usually limits life choices and one of those choices children might preclude is making music rather than getting a steady job. The government did not have to prove Mr. Fuller deprived himself of earnings with the motive to deprive his children of support. It was enough to show Mr. Fuller could have earned more money to pay down his obligation but he intentionally avoided doing so. The government doesn't have to show he could have earned enough to pay the entire obligation; some of the obligation is sufficient. In this case there was evidence Mr. Fuller used to work at a steady job and he satisfied all employment-related demands on those rare occasions when he was hired to play music [even gaining some acclaim]. So he could have gotten a real job if he wanted to.