Jeremy Stein - Journal

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Jailed 14 years for contempt

Judges can put people in jail for contempt of court. Reporter Judith Plame was jailed for refusing to reveal a source to a grand jury. People are usually jailed or threatened with jail for less noble causes than she.

H. Beatty Chadwick was put in jail for contempt because his wife (who was suing him for divorce) claimed that he had hidden $2.5 million while he claimed he had lost the money in a business deal. The judge didn’t believe him and he’s sat behind bars for 14 years.

He hasn’t been charged with a crime, and yet he sits in jail. For longer than many convicted murderers. He’s now 72. This is a life sentence.

Judges tend to be pretty smart. I’m guessing he did hide the money. But shouldn’t he be charged with a crime and tried by a jury of his peers? There appears to be a gaping hole in American justice system, and H. Beatty Chadwick has fallen in.

Update: he has finally been freed.

January 12, 2009 3 Comments.


  1. joan hershberger replied:

    Astounding – and yet not new information. I read the biography of a plastic surgeon who stayed in jail rather than release the location of her daughter to a former husband she said abused the child. Everyone suffered for the court’s decision, child and parents.
    The link summed up the issue … why must the one held in contempt prove they can not do something? Some really can’t.
    Also another case for continuing to respect even those in jail. Not all are there for a crime they committed. This enrages me because the gov’t has been paying this guy’s upkeep for 14 years. Even if he were released today that would be about $19,000 per year of the supposed $2.5 million. If he had so much, why didn’t he use it to pay legal fees to protest?

    January 12th, 2009 at 4:03 pm. Permalink.

  2. Lori Smith replied:

    Isn’t there, oh, I don’t know… an AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION that allows this person to NOT say something? I suppose his lack of response falls under obstruction of justice… but… sheesh.

    February 9th, 2009 at 3:07 pm. Permalink.

  3. Jeremy replied:

    Update: H. Beatty Chadwick has been freed.

    September 28th, 2009 at 11:04 am. Permalink.

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