Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, January 13, 2006

Case Law Development: Scienter in Criminal Non-Support Actions

The Missouri Supreme Court reviewed the conviction of a Father for criminal non-support.  Father challenged the conviction on the basis of the state's failure to prove that he knew of his court-ordered child support obligation. The court held that the state need not prove that Father was aware of a court order for child support, so long as he knew that he was the father of the children that was sufficient to satisfy the "knowingly" requirement of the act. "The purpose of the criminal nonsupport statute is to compel recalcitrant parents to fulfill their obligations of care and support; the purpose is not to enforce court-ordered child support obligations.... As such, in a prosecution under section 568.040, the existence of a child support order is merely evidence of what constitutes 'adequate support.'"  Two judges dissented.

State v. Reed, 2006 Mo. LEXIS 14 (January 10, 2006)

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