Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Injustice in a Seminole County Courtroom

Several weeks ago I wrote about a dreadful custody case in Seminole County, "One Father's Victimization by the System" where a man was threatened with 90 days jail if he didn't produce thousands of dollars to pay his wife's legal fees.

Tragically, on October 8, Judge Alan Dickey ordered this dad into jail when he failed to produce $25,000. As of this moment, he is still incarcerated.

One courtwatcher who monitored the hearing felt that the judge seemed as though he had backed himself into a corner at the earlier hearing where he threatened to incarcerate him, and was unwilling/unable to believe that this man really had no funds at all. Several friends and business associates have been generous in lending him money to pay his attorney fees, but those sources are now tapped out.

Another courtwatcher submitted these comments about the hearing last week:
I have witnessed a few cases with Judge Dickey prior to this case. Previous cases with Judge Dickey were courteous in nature and he seemed to have taken his time and consideration into each of his rulings however, as this case came up and Judge Dickey began to familiarize himself with his past history/ruling of July 31, 2009, his demeanor appeared remarkably changed. Judge Dickey seemed quite agitated at the father's "reluctance" in satisfying past due monies on the ex wife's attorney's fees.

The father's attorney presented his current situation as being indigent and thus in the process of applying/approving for Social Security disabilities as well as citing the Bowen case with regards to the father's present contempt charge. At first, it appeared that Judge Dickey was actually reading the document however, my opinion changed as he quickly ruled against applying it to this case and therefore felt he gave no weight to the caselaw. I also feel strongly Judge Dickey may not have even considered reading the document had perhaps CourtWatch not been present.

Judge Dickey's behavior towards the father appeared irritated, angry and disrespectful at times coupled with the fact that Judge Dickey, in my opinion, further insulted the gentleman by stating in a smug, matter-of-fact manner that "his credibility was in question" based on past testimony and therefore he "would not believe anything he [the father] said."  The dislike from Judge Dickey towards this man was quite noticeable. It's as if he had some personal vendetta against him for unknown reasons to us. No patience or empathy for either the father or the children in working out a viable solution to an already dismal situation. Judge Dickey basically ruled a jail term of 90 days and re-evaluation thereafter as to his then presumed ability to "find the money" to satisfy past debt.

In my opinion, an injustice was done to both the father and his children by a prejudicial judge. My concern for this man is his willingness to continue the fight for justice and for the betterment of his two children, who appear to no longer have a voice of reason to speak for them in the courts. My hope is that his health will sustain through these hardships and for the safety of his children.
I understand that sometimes people feel as though once they've issued an ultimatum, they lose credibility and/or authority when they "back down" and change their position. Perhaps that's what Judge Dickey believes. But circumstances change as new facts come to light. Sometimes our impressions about people and situations need modification. The fact that a 55-year old man with a heart condition (having had 3 major attacks since 2004) would go to jail instead of pay attorney fees should tell the judge that he REALLY has no money.

CourtWatch hopes that this judge would be willing to admit his error, release this father, and hold a hearing where the wife is required to prove her allegations that he has the money she claims he has - something that has not yet happened.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said "An injustice against anyone is an injustice against all." We should all be concerned about this man's plight and what it tells us about "justice" in this Seminole County courtroom.


  1. Is there anything that can hold the judges accountable? Any review boards etc? This could happen to any one of us.

  2. What happens to the children now?

  3. Mom has custody. Her financial affidavit at trial showed she had $7000 in her savings account.

  4. In response to the post about Judge's held accountable...the answer is YES. The Judicial Qualifications Commission oversees complaints concerning Judges. All complaints are confidential, unlike Florida Bar Complaints. You can contact the JQC Judicial Qualifications Commission at 850-488-1581. Judges must abide by the Judicial Canons.

  5. Laura,

    You are so misinformed. Dad belongs right where he is in jail as a consequence of his choices. It is so egregious that a survivor of domestic violence would seek to victimize another woman with your comments. Shame on you. Mom is rendered destitute because of this man's decision to withhold resources from his children...I guess we all pay now that he gets free food and free health care in jail...that is I guess what he planned and wanted..ask your friend Carol Ann, the realtor who is another woman who victimizes other women. She is a about as smart as you at with this case. Very uninformed. Pity!

  6. Did dad withhold resources from the mother? Or is he in jail for contempt because he does not have $25,000 in resources and is destitute himself? I find it hard to believe anyone would subject himself to 3 months in jail just to get free food and health care if he has a lot of money he is withholding.

    The above comment doesn't make sense. Some families do better financially than others. Those that are not doing so well or at poverty level don't automatically have a rule change because of divorce.

    Child support and judges orders should be based on each particular family circumstances. If the family was doing well and still in the same situation, then the judge should set amounts accordingly. If the family wasn't living the high life before due to their economic then the judge (and attorneys) shouldn't suddenly blame one spouse for not making enough money to give the other whatever they want. These are things judges should look into and it looks like this judge was lax and made a lot of assumptions.

  7. I would hope if I got divorced that my wife wouldn't suddenly be eligible for a windfall and I would be jailed if I couldn't earn enough money to give her the life of her dreams. Marriage is for better or worse, sickness and health. It would be really unfair to put me in "debtor's prison" if I had become sick or disabled and not able to earn as much as I had many years before during better economic circumstances.

    Some of the commenter above seem to believe women who are unhappy with their lifestyle and spouse's earnings should just get divorced and then they will be rewarded by the courts with better cars, better homes, more money, better lifestyle than the one they actually had with the spouse that they picked and made a vow with.

    Entitlement, entitlement, entitlement! Our society is really getting out of whack with the blame game and “give me this, you owe me!” What about accountability and self-sufficiency? We are talking (I assume) about 2 adults here over 21. Poor mom, "everything is dad's fault. He can't do enough for me, give me enough, get me enough." How about relying on yourself and working.

    There are many single parents who work very hard (sometimes 2 and 3 jobs) It isn't easy being a parent but that's life.

    Some of the commentators on the previous blog on this case (I suspect may be the blogger)and the one above to Laura do a disservice to Domestic abuse victims by missing the point here. I see a pattern about poor mom, and money. I haven't seen much about concern for the children. Even where there was an attempt about the kids having to stay at the safehouse, it was about money from the dad. Not why mom couldn't work and find an apartment to get the kids out of that situation. Methinks mom likes the attention from playing victim. That makes it unfortunate for actual DV victims that really need a bed at a safehouse. That attitude actually hurts other DV victims and causes credibility issues because of false reporters. As another survivor herself said; There are real victims that need DV counseling and shelter and then there are also "advantage seeking" women. I liken it to someone making a prank call to 911. It takes time away from operators handling true emergencies. It is a disgrace!

  8. Judge Dickey is a complete and utter moron and puts people in jail to satisfy his ego. He provides no due process I have documentation of that. However, who you going to tell the Judicial Qualification Committee? Right. Just other Judges slapping the wrist of their old law school buddies. It's a joke!

  9. My husband went in front of Judge Dickey this week for child custody of his daughter. The mother has been unemployed for 15 months, begs for $$ on websites doesn't take the child to school daily, no hygiene. Instead, the judge awards partial custody to the mother, decides to change the daughters name at the request of the mother, and gives my husband his ex's lawyer bills to pay.. As she laughs all the way to the bank screwing the system my husband and I have to figure out a way to pay her high dollar attorney. Where is the justice!!!!!!!

  10. Judge Alan Dickey sentenced former Orlando business owner James Adamczyk for 5 months and 29 days for missing one hearing because of a Doctors Appointment. Case:


    A civil case over a breach of contract with Jack Hutchings, Hutchings attorney David Simmons of www.DBKSMN.com assisted the State Attorneys prosecution of Adamczyk. The typical sentence for this would usually be a week, but Judge Dickey who was sued by Adamczyk in federal court, has not removed himself from the case and has an obvious bias, abused his power and lashed out a 5 month 29 days sentence against Adamczyk.


    In a time when budget cuts and more come, Judge Dickey makes tax payers foot the bill for his abuse of power. Judge Dickey is following in the footsteps of Judge Erikson, who was reprimanded by the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

  11. Anonymous said,recently judge Dickey Back peddled on his judgement to not let a child be taken out of state to a sex offenders home in north carolina by a brother who has never been tested in ten years to be the real father,the fake dad sold his home in orlando after bankruptcy,and run for it because we got inches from having test done,Dickey stated in sept,2011 you cannot leave the state with the child!! the fake dad left anyway,lives there and where did the contempt go we were there for???? he could go but not child? what happened here?Judge dickey left courtroom and we were still talking!! Overrrr????? Definetly not!!!

  12. THIS JUST HAPPENED TO ME,,, November 25, 2013
    Judge Alan Dickey just sentenced me to 60 days in seminole county jail for failure to pay my wifes attorneys fees in our divorce case,,, I had a hearing this morning for request to modify the temporary relief which was NEVER even discussed at all in any form or fashion during the hearing,,, her attorney had filed a motion for a cross hearing for contempt of court in the same hearing.
    The hearing immediately started out as a contempt of court hearing and the original hearing that I filed for a motion for reduction in temporary relief NEVER was discussed at all...
    my wifes attorney stated that I am current on my child support, but i am delinquent on the order for temporary relief by approximately $7,000.00 and her attorney fees are delinquent by $2,651.00
    Judge Alan Dickey had me thrown in jail ONLY for being delinquent on paying her attorney fees of $2,651.00 and did nothing regarding me being delinquent on my wifes temporary relief......
    I went to jail today,,, My sister in Kentucky wired my girlfriend the money to go pay seminole county so I could be released from jail...
    Granted I was only in jail for about 6 hours but I'm totally blown away that he would do this over court ordered attorneys fees not getting paid........
    The only person that won anything at all this morning was my wifes attorney,,, my wife got nothing !!!! is it just me or is there something wrong with this picture ???

  13. In the past,, any dealings I ever had with Judge Alan Dickey he appeared to me to be an extremely reasonable no "bs" kind of judge.....
    I actually still like the guy even though he put me in jail today,,, I'm just genuinely confused as to why he did under the particular circumstances ......
    I truly have NO money,,, My sister has been letting me borrow money along with me liquidating anything of value I own own ebay and craigslist just to survive....
    And once again my sister saved the day and she was the one that actually in the end paid the court ordered attorneys fees.....
    Please someone explain to me what happened today ???? Was Judge Dickey trying to send me a message ???? Was he in a bad mood this morning ???? I'm seriously and genuinely concerned and confused !!! Does he think possibly that I'm lying when I say I have no money and no ability to pay the original court ordered attorneys fees etc.... ???

  14. he sometimes gets sidetracked but generally gets it right.i dont think he has a bad bone in his body.if he sentences someone to jail its a last resort. how many chances do these deadbeats deserve.its up to them to support their own children isnt that why they are in court . you cant complain about not supporting your own children

    1. Most of these people are talking about attorney fee's and not child support

    2. Dickey should be jailed for his behavior! Dickey, Simmons two thieves of the same cloth! If I had the $$$ I could prove it, but in their courtroom there is no justice! Welcome to the real Dukes of Hazard travesty of justice!!

  15. If you read this whole case...the father paid child support regularly...everything he had...he was on disability proven to the federal government and could only pay out of his disability check...leaving nothing for the wife's attorney. He was jailed because he didn't have $30,000 to pay the wife's attorney. Debtor's Prison....He served 87 days in jail...he got out 3 days early for good behavior. Now years later...he hasn't seen his daughter since October 2010...the mother blatantly has ignored the custody agreement and continues to abuse. The son is with the dad because she can't handle his anger towards her abuse..(he is bigger now). She had him Backer Acted at 6 years old because he wouldn't take her abuse...sent him away instead of letting the dad have him...took the dad 3 weeks to find out where he was. These kids are very troubled and no matter how many papers the dad files in Seminole county...they are just ignored or denied. He can't afford an attorney and the court won't take his filings serious...they keep telling him he needs an attorney. It's a mess!