Pennsylvania Man Released After Record 14-Year Incarceration for Contempt

croninSince 1995, millionaire H. Beatty Chadwick, 72, has been released. We previously discussed the outrageous length of Chadwick’s incarceration for contempt since 1995 — 14 years! Judge Joseph P. Cronin finally ended the contempt incarceration.

A former lawyer, Chadwick is accused of hiding at least $2.5 million from his ex-wife in overseas accounts and refusing to disclose where it is. Chadwick insists that the money is gone with bad investments. A website advocated his release for years.

While Chadwick may be lying, it is ridiculous that the Delaware courts allowed this incarceration to go beyond a year let alone 14 years. There needs to be an investigation of how no judge in the state intervened to end this travesty.

20060917140409990001Judge Joseph P. Cronin simply said that the contempt order had lost its coercive effect and had become punitive. The general rule is that contempt incarceration cannot be used as a punishment but only as a coercive measure. Once it is clear that an individual is not going to comply and the incarceration is no long coercive, it is treated as punitive and must end. As someone who has handled such contempt matters, I fail to understand why it suddenly became punitive after 14 years rather than one year.

For the full story, click here.

18 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Man Released After Record 14-Year Incarceration for Contempt

  1. Wow, the first post . . .

    What I wonder (w/o doing the prerequisite legwork), is what the incarcerated lawyer did to get out of prison?
    Did he file a federal habeas corpus?
    Even if all the state court judges were nuts, would all the federal district court judges also be that crazy?

    Really, as JT points out, after a year, as a matter of practical law, I can’t see how incarceration can be anything but punitive, I would cut it off at 6 months.
    But 14 years?!? That is more time than murderers get. Where the hell is proportinality? This is like an anarchistic landscape, no standards and anything goes.

    Insane.

  2. We’d better do something to reclaim this country and restore the rule of law. There are too many (crazy?) people who wield their power in an irrational and capricious manner. And as Kent L said, “Where are the checks and balances?”

  3. anon 1, July 11, 2009 at 10:03 am

    We’d better do something to reclaim this country and restore the rule of law. There are too many (crazy?) people who wield their power in an irrational and capricious manner. And as Kent L said, “Where are the checks and balances?”
    ************************

    You wanna know where the checks and balances are? Well when you have an appellate court that traditionally affirms a lower courts opinion even if it is bad to start with, that where you balance is.

    So for a checks, most of these judges (all federal or is that feral and some states life time appointments) know that once they are on the bench that thar ain’t much anybody can do to get them reversed. Most people don’t have the money to appeal.

    As far as criminal courts are conducted so long as minimal due process is afforded (that would include the attorney showing up most of the time) then most convictions are affirmed as harmless error. In Texas a number of people have been sentenced to death and the attorney was asleep.

    In Michigan 70 per cent of the Sct are selected by John Engler and they have never met a conviction that has been overturned. They have never ruled against a business unless that business somehow or another did not contribute to the Chamber of Commerce. I kid you not.

    I wonder how many people in any state would be more than willing to pay some thing more in Taxes if they were assure employment. A number of corporations as soon as the tax incentives ended closed the doors in Michigan and moved off shores. You tell me.

    The Dart family made Billions off of the American souls. NONE of them reside in the US they all have renounced citizenship. Think about that the nest time you use a cup from a fast food place or get coffee. Look on the bottom it is Dart Container Corp. The cup is a by product of oil oh yeah another enterprise that the Dart family owns.

    it reminds me of when GeoI obtained Texas citizenship. He owned no property in Texas he was either still head of the CIA or Veep and for some reason he decided that he needed to have Texas as his home. His mother died and it saved him over $245,000 in estate taxes. So he used a Texas Hotel in Houston as his address.

    All things stated above are based upon personal knowledge. If you want to know anything about Howard Robard Hughes ask and I will tell. I was part of a team that worked on his estate as well in Texas.

  4. To “AY”, thanks for the additional information. And yes, I’d like to know more about Hughes. I’m guessing that others would, as well.

  5. I agree with Gary T. I would be interested in what happened in his attempts to overturn the contempt order that the story refers to. What were his actions to get out and in front of which courts were these actions attempted?

  6. Re: our discussion of unlimited detention on that other huge thread, this is merely an extension, with an American citizen involved. While I can understand the need at time for contempt citations, too often they give ill-equipped trial Judges the means to bully people and unfortunately in any human system, one’s peers, the Appellate Judges are loath to interfere with their colleagues prerogatives. Unending detention, in the absence of fair adjudication, is usually wrong.

  7. my question why does he love his money more than his freedom, sounds like a nut job to me.

  8. Judge Joseph P. Cronin simply said that the contempt order had lost its coercive effect and had become punitive.

    It took the judge fourteen years to figure that out? Maybe the judge has lost his intellectual effectiveness.

  9. IS said; “my question why does he love his money more than his freedom, sounds like a nut job to me.”

    He says he doesn’t have the money. -He may be telling the truth.

    This was a divorce. When asked where the money was, he said he din’t have it. The trial judge didn’t believe him, and held him in contempt. -Overnight…a week…maybe even a month, I could see. 14 years on a contempt charge is an abuse of power.

  10. “We’d better do something to reclaim this country and restore the rule of law. ”

    They’re one step ahead of you. It’s the legalities that they’re using to control us. e.g. it’s illegal for the government to collect information arbitrarily on its citizens. So they just contract the job out to a private company and presto… “nice and legal”. That means the government AND corporations have your data.

    You can’t send out a town hall committee to negotiate with Genghis Khan and you can’t stop the ownership society from rolling over your freedom with an angry objection emailed to your Congressman’s shredder. Nearly all meaningful and lawful avenues of action before us have been redirected, disbanded or de-clawed. And the “zero tolerance policy” so successfully trialed in NY by Rudolph “Mein 911 Kampf” Giulliani has been enthusiastically embraced now completely on a global scale in the West and its designed to get you on the books. By hook or by crook. So don’t even step once off the pavement coz thats a taserin’.

    I often wondered why so many victims in history have meekly walked to their own slaughter without a fight. And maybe I understand now. It’s done by degrees. Like the famous boiled frog. See you on the dark side.

  11. hidflect 1, July 12, 2009 at 4:14 am

    “We’d better do something to reclaim this country and restore the rule of law. ”

    They’re one step ahead of you. It’s the legalities that they’re using to control us. e.g. it’s illegal for the government to collect information arbitrarily on its citizens. So they just contract the job out to a private company and presto… “nice and legal”. That means the government AND corporations have your data.
    *********************************

    This is what that court case is all about. But you have to prove that they are a government contractor in order to prove that it is government action. If so they are stuck with a possible 1983 action. If not, you are so out of luck.

    People do not understand how secretive and slimy the CIA is. They have interest in so many private companies Mom and Pop type shops. Prove that they are funded by the CIA they have removed themselves but yet the information flows up. I forget which Credit Reporting Agency is owned by the CIA. I advise to always pay via debit once you use your Bank Card Visa/Master Charge as a Credit Card Purchase it is reported to one of the three agencies. Try paying for gas as a Debit, they want you zip code for protection, yeah right.

    Just ask Ollie North, how far up hill did that run?

  12. The have been numerous cases of people who stayed in prison, long after they could have been paroled, because they would have had to admit guilt at a parole hearing. Many of those people were subsequently cleared of the charges via DNA evidence. Some people are obstinate in that way. Also as Jim Byrne said:

    “He says he doesn’t have the money. -He may be telling the truth.”

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