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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. MARGARET HEIMBROOK v. WAYNE HEIMBROOK (02/16/82)

filed: February 16, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. MARGARET HEIMBROOK
v.
WAYNE HEIMBROOK, APPELLANT



No 1698 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Pike County, No. 20, March Term, 1978.

COUNSEL

Arthur B. Siegel, Public Defender, Milford, for appellant.

Steven R. Guccini, Assistant District Attorney, Paupack, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Spaeth, Wieand and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 295 Pa. Super. Page 301]

Wayne Heimbrook was found to be in contempt of court for failing to pay a support order and was sentenced to serve

[ 295 Pa. Super. Page 302]

    six months in prison unless he purged himself by paying $250.00 on account of accumulated arrearages. On appeal, he complains (1) that he was not afforded the procedural protections guaranteed by Criminal Procedural Rules 1401 et seq. and (2) that the trial court imposed conditions for purging with which he cannot presently comply. We will examine separately each of these contentions.

On May 2, 1978, pursuant to a petition filed under the Civil Procedural Support Law of July 13, 1953, P.L. 431, 62 P.S. § 2043.31 et seq.,*fn1 the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County entered an order directing appellant to pay the sum of $20.00 per week for the support of his three minor children. There was no appeal from that order. Appellant refused to comply with the order, however, and he was found in contempt on July 17, 1978, September 5, 1978, and February 26, 1980. On all of those occasions, appellant purged himself by complying with conditions decreed by the court. In February, 1980, changed circumstances caused the order to be modified to require appellant to pay the sum of $10.00 per week for the support of one son. He was ordered also to pay the sum of $20.00 per week on account of accumulated arrearages.

On July 1, 1980, appellant was again before the court, charged with contempt. At that time, testimony disclosed that appellant had failed to make payments and, despite an employment opportunity with the Pike County CETA office, had refused to report for work. At a final hearing on July 8, 1980, appellant's unjustified refusal to report for work was confirmed. Appellant was thereupon found in contempt and sentenced in the manner hereinbefore recited. This appeal followed.

The enforcement provisions of the Civil Procedural Support Law appear at 42 Pa.C.S. § 6708(a) wherein it is provided:

"A defendant who willfully fails to comply with any order under this subchapter . . . may, ...


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