Since 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.
Judge 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.
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