(LANSING, Mich.) -- The Michigan Supreme Court said Tuesday that parents criminally charged with failure to pay child support should be permitted to argue in court that their support payments are impossible to meet, the Detroit Free Press reports.
In an opinion issued Tuesday with a 4-3 vote, the court ordered a new trial for Selesa Likine, who was found guilty of failure to pay child support for three children in November 2008. Court documents show Likine paid only part of the payments due between 2005 and 2008, claiming that she was unemployed and disabled with schizoaffective disorder and major depressive disorder. Because of the court's ruling, Likine had not been allowed to tell the jury that she had been unemployed because of her mental illness. She was convicted and sentenced to 43 days in jail, the paper says.
State Attorney General Bill Schuette will decide whether he wants to retry Likine or drop the charges, which were originally brought under his predecessor, Mike Cox.
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