In re Feiock

215 Cal. App. 3d 141, 263 Cal. Rptr. 437 (1989)

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In re Feiock

California Court of Appeal
215 Cal. App. 3d 141, 263 Cal. Rptr. 437 (1989)

Facts

Phillip Feiock was ordered to pay child support for his three children as part of a dissolution action. Feiock did not make all the payments, and an enforcement action was filed against him that resulted in a temporary order of support of $150 per month. Feiock did not make all those payments either, and a contempt action was brought against him. At the contempt hearing, the judge applied California Code of Civil Procedure § 1209.5, which mandated a presumption of prima facie evidence of contempt after proof of noncompliance with a valid court order. Despite Feiock’s attempt to try to prove his inability to pay, the trial court sustained the contempt allegations. Feiock argued that the mandatory presumption in § 1209.5 violated his federal constitutional due-process rights. The appellate court agreed, but on a writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court, that decision was vacated for further proceedings to determine whether the contempt was civil or criminal, because the Court opined that federal constitutional due-process rules do not apply to civil contempt. On remand, Feiock argued that his inability to pay is an affirmative defense to the contempt finding.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wallin, J.)

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