Michigan Judge Defends Actions in Servicemember Custody Case


Michigan Judge Defends Actions in Servicemember Custody Case

Judge Noe, the Michigan judge who issued a bench warrant for a sailor aboard a U.S. submarine who couldn’t show up for a custody case in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, changed her ruling and ordered a stay until October 22, according to The Associated Press. The judge cited the SCRA, which mandates that court actions against an active duty member of the armed forces be suspended until he or she can reasonably return.

The court case involves Matthew Hindes, a deployed U.S. Navy sailor aboard a submarine in the Pacific Ocean; his ex-wife Angela Hindes, who spent ten days in jail for neglect after her boyfriend at the time abused their daughter; and 6-year-old Kaylee, who lives with Matthew’s new wife, according to the Daily Telegram. A meeting was still scheduled without Petty Officer Matthew Hindes regarding the issue of a temporary modification of visitation for Angela Hindes.

Following the issuance of the bench warrant by Judge Margaret Noe, dozens of protestors arrived outside of the courthouse carrying signs in support of Matthew Hindes, The Daily Telegram reported in a separate article. Many were eager to tell the news source about their support.

“I have several friends who serve in the military,” Amanda Halter, of Adrian, Michigan, told the Telegram. “Just the thought of something like that happening to them just broke my heart.”

Judge Noe defended her actions in court, the Telegram reported, saying, “I know in my own heart that I am full of pride and appreciation for the effects of military duty.” She went on to note that her father served in the U.S. Navy, her two brothers in the Army and Marines and that her son served in the Army and Air Force.

Noe stated that she had never been asked to issue a stay under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act until Nighbert filed a motion on June 18, according to the news source. Documents filed in court June 13 included letters from Hindes and a Navy administrative officer that stated the facts of his deployment, and that he was unable to attend the June 16 hearing.

“I had no idea, nor was I advised until I was advised in the courtroom on the record, he was unavailable and deployed in the ocean,” Noe said, according to the Telegram. “This court will make every accommodation for Mr. Hindes to appear in this court.”

This case highlights the importance of knowing whether you are legally in the right to pursue penalties against an active duty member of the armed forces. A military service verification can help organizations and individuals to determine their rights.

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.

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