The Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to decide whether the felony conviction of a Detroit woman who was too poor to pay more than $1,100 a month in child support should stand.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic are representing Selesa Likine, who lost her job and custody of her three children after being diagnosed with a severe mental illness.
The ACLU of Michigan and the U of M Innocence Clinic will argue the trial court violated Likine’s constitutional rights by not allowing her to prove to the jury that she was unable to pay her assessed child support.
Last year, a judge adjusted Likine’s child support payments to $25 a month; however, she still owes tens of thousands of dollars in back payments.
In 2005, Likine was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder.
After a lengthy hospital stay, she was terminated from her job and has not been able to work since.
In 2007, despite the fact that her only income was the $603 a month she received in Social Security benefits, the court increased her child support payments from $181 to $1,131 a month.