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Pardeeville, Wisconsin--First an excerpt from the article, then a few comments.  From Man returning to city for mother's funeral arrested on child support charges (Portage Daily Register, 7/12/08):
A former Pardeeville man wanted for five years for failing to pay more than $12,000 in child support was picked up by authorities Thursday after he returned to Portage for his mother's funeral. Todd W. Bubolz, 42, of Brownsville, Texas, remains in jail on $2,500 cash bail after he was arrested at a restaurant Thursday evening. He was in town for the funeral of his mother, Karen Bubolz of Portage, who died Tuesday. An arrest warrant for Bubolz was issued in March 2003 after five counts of failure to pay child support were charged against him, but the Columbia County Child Support Agency could not locate him for more than five years. Bubolz was ordered in April 2001 to pay $152 per week in support for his four children, according to a criminal complaint. The Columbia County Child Support Agency received no payments from Bubolz between May 2001 and December 2002, the complaint stated. Bubolz owes about $12,920 in payments. If found guilty of all charges, he faces up to 50 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Paying $600 a month to support for children doesn't seem like much, and I would imagine that he probably could have paid it if he wanted to.  This is not always the case, of course.  As always, the article tells us nothing about what else might have happened in this case -- what reason or excuse the father may have for nonpayment, whether his custody rights were respected, etc.  We don't know if the father had an injury or an illness, or has mental problems, or God knows what.  Maybe he really did take off one day and leave the wife and children who loved him in the lurch purely out of selfishness.  It happens, but that's not usually the case. But what really strikes me is this -- he faces up to 50 years in prison.  50.  That is outrageous -- murderers don't even get that much sometimes.  Hell, for the lousy $13,000 he owes he could have robbed a Brink's armored truck, stolen that much and more, shot and wounded a security guard, and he still might not have been facing 50 years.  I haven't studied the issue, but it seems as if these draconian sentences (or possible sentences) are becoming more and more common. Read the full article here.

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