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General News    H3'ed 9/8/11

Are Blacks More Likely Than Whites to Face Stiff Penalties in Child-Support Cases?

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Message Roger Shuler

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

Three current or former professional athletes have been in the news recently for alleged failure to pay child support. All three happen to be black, and all three faced the threat of arrest.

Ted Rollins, a member of one of America's wealthiest families and the subject of several posts here at Legal Schnauzer, has a history of failing to pay child support. In fact, public documents show that Rollins has been late with child-support payments for months on end--and it isn't clear that he has ever made some payments. Ted Rollins happens to be white, and we see no sign that he ever has been seriously threatened with arrest.

That raises this troubling question: Are blacks more likely than whites to face serious consequences for failure to pay child support? The story of "Ted Rollins and the three athletes" indicates the answer is yes.

Ted Rollins' advantages might go beyond skin color. He is the CEO of Campus Crest Communities, a Charlotte-based company that became a Wall Street darling when it completed a $380-million IPO in late 2010.  Rollins has strong political connections, with his stepmother and late father both having run for public office as Republicans. As if Rollins didn't have enough money on his own, his family owns Orkin Pest Control and other enterprises. Rollins' connections apparently helped him obtain an extraordinarily advantageous (and unlawful) outcome in a divorce case with his former wife, Alabama resident Sherry Carroll Rollins.

So perhaps our question should be this: If you are white, fabulously rich, and have deep connections to Wall Street and the Republican Party, are you likely to receive gentle treatment when you fail to pay child support?

The answer appears to be yes--and we feel certain that would be of interest to Andre Rison (photo above), Terrell Owens, and Jimmy King. They are the three athletes with child-support troubles, and officials did not seem willing to let them skirt the law, as apparently happened in the Ted Rollins case. Here are the athletes' stories:

Andre Rison--A former wide receiver with the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers, Rison was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on one count of failure to pay child support. The case became a federal matter because Rison lives in Michigan and the child lives in Arizona.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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