Welcome to The Briefcase

Commentary and analysis of Ohio criminal law and whatever else comes to mind, served with a dash of snark.  Continue Reading »

×

June 2, 2006

Just a short note.  Back in 2000, the legislature amended the law on paternity cases to hold that a father couldn't be held liable for arrearages if the child was over three at the time the paternity action was filed, and the father didn't have any knowledge of the child.  On Wednesday, in Smith v. Smith, the Supreme Court held that the statute couldn't be applied retroactively.


The mother had had the child in 1987, but didn't institute paternity proceedings until ten years later, at which point the newly-proud papa was tagged for $44,000 in arrears.  After the passage of the amendment in 2000, he applied for modification, which the legislature had expressly allowed for in the statute.  The Supreme Court concluded that retroactivity would be unconstitutional, since it would deprive the mother of her "vested right" in the court order.

While the Court specifically addresses the situation where there is an existing order on arrearages, the decision could apply well beyond that:  a fairly good argument could be advanced that the mother has a "vested right" in arrearages if the child was born prior to the passage of the amendment, even if no paternity complaint is filed until after passage.  There's certainly nothing in the language of the decision which would foreclose a broader interpretation of it.

I had a case a little while back concerning laches as a defense to arrearages in paternity cases, and I'll do a post on that next week.

Search

Recent Entries

  • January 17, 2018
    What's Up in the 8th
    When not to decide cases on allied offenses and pre-indictment delay
  • January 11, 2018
    Case Update
    Three new decisions from the Ohio Supreme Court
  • January 10, 2018
    To the barricades!
    Why I'm a threat to the Ohio state government
  • January 5, 2018
    Search and seizure in the digital age
    Do the cops need a warrant to get cell phone data?
  • January 3, 2018
    What's Up in the 8th
    We talk about me a lot, but there's some other stuff, too
  • January 2, 2018
    He's baaaack
    So I thought I'd start my first post in six weeks by explaining why it's my first post in six weeks. Ever run into somebody and ask the obligatory question, "How are you doing?" And they proceed to tell you...
  • November 15, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Plea withdrawals (again), sexual predator hearings, and an appellate law question
  • November 7, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Don't listen to prosecutors about the law, good new/bad news jokes on appeal, and the Byzantine course of a death penalty case
  • October 24, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Trying to change the past
  • October 16, 2017
    En banc on sentencing
    The 8th District takes a look at what State v. Marcum means