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A deadbeat dad who is behind on his child support got an unorthodox order from the judge: Stop procreating.
Corey Curtis has nine children with six different women, and owes about $90,000 in unpaid child support and interest. It got so serious that Curtis was criminally charged with failure to pay child support.
At a hearing, the judge complained that he couldn't force Curtis to be sterilized. But there was another option that he could enforce.
Judge Tim Boyle sentenced Curtis to three years of probation for his crime, on the condition that he not father any more children during that time, reports NBC News.
Before you start complaining that this violates the Eighth Amendment, you should realize that to make the decision Judge Boyle relied on precedent. It appears that Curtis isn't the first deadbeat dad to have more kids than he can afford.
To address the situation, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a judge can condition probation on the defendant not having more children than he can support.
Cruel and unusual punishment sounds like a broad category, but in most cases it's only applied to sentences that are humiliating or inhumane.
That leaves judges with a lot of leeway, which many of them gladly take advantage of. Some even push the boundaries of their power.
For example, after being convicted of manslaughter, a judge sentenced an Oregon man to 10 years of church as well as requiring he get a high school degree and not do drugs or drink for a year. That kind of sentence is likely unconstitutional because of the religious component.
Less extreme but still problematic, a South Carolina judge ordered a drunken driver to read the Bible, reports CBS News.
The first step to challenging a ruling as unconstitutional is that the defendant or his criminal defense attorney has to bring a challenge. If he consents to the order, there's no legal issue.
So far Curtis seems OK with the ruling. He says if the judge ordered it, he'll do it. But three years is a long time, so he may end up back in court before the time is up.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.