View Full Version : Life Lawyer Jailed for Contempt Is Freed After 14 Years...

07-21-2009, 03:35 PM
Pennsylvania lawyer H. Beatty Chadwick either could not or really did not want to hand over the $2.5 million his ex-wife was awarded after their divorce, and he was prepared to go to jail for contempt rather than do so.

That was 14 years ago.

Chadwick has consistently claimed that he could not and cannot pay because he lost the money in "bad investments." But the judge that jailed him did not believe that, and neither did the judge who let him go last week. Judge Joseph Cronin said he agreed with previous rulings that Chadwick had the ability to comply with the order to pay but had "willfully refused to do so." He released Chadwick, though, because he found that continued imprisonment would be legal only if there was some likelihood that ultimately he would comply with the order; otherwise, the confinement would be merely punitive instead of coercive. Apparently 14 years of incarcerated non-compliance - believed to be the longest sentence served for contempt of court in U.S. history - is enough to support a finding that future compliance is unlikely.

Albert Momjian, the ex-wife's lawyer, was not happy with the ruling. "Here's a guy who thumbed his nose at a court order for 14 years," he was quoted as saying. "There should be some kind of sanctions for doing that." Good point - the guy should serve some jail time, or something. Momjian said he still thought Chadwick had the money to pay, pointing out that if he was broke, "how does he pay all these lawyers?" (The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Chadwick's attorney has been working pro bono for the past six years, though Momjian's question might be relevant to the first eight.)

Others were not sure what to think, like John Reilly, the prison superintendent who has hosted Chadwick since 1995. Reilly noted that Chadwick had done more time than many murderers do, and found it hard to imagine that anyone "in his right mind" would defy a court for that long if he was actually able to comply. He also noted that Chadwick had been a "model inmate," apparently so much so that he became good friends with guards and administrators, many of whom, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, were "crying and hugging" Chadwick as he departed. (On the other hand, the Daily News also said that Chadwick, at least in his life before prison, had "reportedly [been] a control freak who would ration his spouse's toilet-paper usage and designate specific times for sex." So there's that. Prison probably cures a man of control-freak habits, though.) Ultimately, Reilly wasn't sure what to think. "To me, he's an enigma," he said. "I can't get a read on the guy."

Chadwick, now 73, said he wasn't yet sure what he would do with the rest of his life, but that it would probably include trying to get his law license reinstated. I'd guess it will probably not include paying his ex-wife $2.5 million, but time will tell.


I'm guessing he had the money at one time even if he doesn't now.

From posts here this off season, I think I can understand a little but 14 years? That takes dedication.

07-21-2009, 03:39 PM
good for him.

'she take my money, but I'm in neeeeeeheeed. lord, she's a triflin' friend indeed. oh, she a gold digger. way all the time. she's annoying me..........'

07-21-2009, 03:42 PM
14 years for nonpayment. Seems a bit much.

07-21-2009, 03:46 PM
[narrating] I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew. Things went on like that for awhile - prison life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Andy would show up with fresh bruises. The Sisters kept at him - sometimes he was able to fight 'em off, sometimes not. And that's how it went for Andy - that was his routine. I do believe those first two years were the worst for him, and I also believe that if things had gone on that way, this place would have got the best of him.

Mr. Flopnuts
07-21-2009, 03:47 PM
14 years is ricockulous.

07-21-2009, 03:50 PM
14 years for nonpayment. Seems a bit much.

Especially since there's no children involved. It doesn't change the fact he was ordered, legally, to pony up the money. I wonder how/why he wasn't able to prove there was no money or how the wife was able to prove that there was. I'm sure the judge (at least I hope the judge) didn't pull the number out of the air. He had to have thought it was there to award.

07-21-2009, 03:52 PM
Now he needs to marry a 20 year old and buy her a new 2.5 million dollar house.

07-21-2009, 03:59 PM
14 years is crazy, but OTOH, the guy seems like a complete dickbag who could have ended his time behind bars years earlier had he wanted to.

Personally I'd think 14 years of life, especially to somebody who was older, would mean more than money.

Very strange.

07-21-2009, 04:02 PM
14 years is crazy, but OTOH, the guy seems like a complete dickbag who could have ended his time behind bars years earlier had he wanted to.

Personally I'd think 14 years of life, especially to somebody who was older, would mean more than money.

Very strange.

Maybe he's nonreligious but still enjoys the cloistered lifestyle.

07-21-2009, 04:05 PM
How deeply must he hate his ex to be willing to spend 14 years in prison rather than give her the money?

Assuming he had it, of course.

07-21-2009, 04:25 PM
Maybe he thought 14 years in prison was easier than watching a that nag that required to be scheduled for coitus spend his money....

07-21-2009, 04:32 PM
Well, lawyers are a contemptuous bunch.

07-21-2009, 04:34 PM
Buy that persistent fucker a beer....

07-21-2009, 04:36 PM
You have to admire how he sticks by his convictions .......................... :)

07-21-2009, 04:54 PM
We he fought the law and he won...you gotta give him respect for that.