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Ohio Court to Deadbeat Dad: No More Kids Until You Pay Up

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on May 14, 2014 11:42 AM

I hereby sentence you to... contraception? An Ohio appeals court has upheld an order by a probation judge that a deadbeat dad refrain from having kids until he pays the nearly $100,000 he owes in child support.

Asim Taylor, 35, of Elyria, was sentenced to five years probation in 2013 for failing to pay child support to his four children. As a condition of that probation, the judge ordered that Taylor have no more children while on probation.

Can a judge really do that?

A Right to Reproduce?

Taylor's lawyers argued that the judge's sentence violated Taylor's constitutional rights, including his Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. They cited a previous case in Ohio where a judge's order to refrain from having children was overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court.

But as The Chronicle-Telegram reports, that previous case was overturned because the judge had failed to include a mechanism for lifting the order.

There is precedent for Taylor's "no kids" order as well. Probation conditions barring defendants from having any more children have been in use in Wisconsin since 2001, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled them constitutional.

Ohio, the Weird Punishment State

Northeast Ohio is also developing a reputation for doling out "weird" punishments. A judge in nearby Cleveland once ordered a woman to wear an "idiot" sign in public after she was filmed driving on the sidewalk. South of Cleveland in Brimfield, Ohio, Police Chief David Oliver has used Facebook to publicly shame criminal suspects.

Taylor plans to appeal his "no kids" order to the Ohio Supreme Court. But for now, fathering any more children would put him in violation of his probation, which the judge has already promised will earn him a year in prison.

"This is a matter of common sense and personal responsibility," the judge told Taylor, according to the Chronicle-Telegram.

It may be sensible, but it's anything but common.

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