July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Man appeals order to not have more kids

ELYRIA — Asim Taylor has appealed Lorain County Probate Judge James Walther’s order that he not father any more children while he is on probation for failing to pay nearly $100,000 in back child support to the four children he already has.

Doug Merrill, Taylor’s attorney, said he doesn’t believe Walther’s order will stand up to review by higher courts.

“We’re appealing because we feel the judge has completely overstepped here,” Merrill said.

The Ohio Supreme Court overturned a similar order in 2004 that was issued by Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler because it didn’t contain a mechanism to have the no more children order lifted.

Walther’s order states that if Taylor becomes current on his child support payments, he can begin to have children again.

Merrill argued during a sentencing hearing last month that Walther’s order violates Taylor’s rights to procreate and engage in sexual intercourse. The only way, he said, for Taylor to guarantee compliance with Walther’s order would be to abstain from sex.

Walther’s order requires Taylor “to make all reasonable efforts to avoid impregnating a woman” during the five years he is on probation after pleading guilty in four separate criminal nonsupport cases.

Walther said Friday that he was glad Taylor decided to appeal his order. He sees the order as a test case that eventually could reach the Ohio Supreme Court. He also plans to impose similar orders in other nonsupport cases.

“I’m interested to find out what the (9th District) Court of Appeals has to say about it,” Walther said. “I think it will be upheld.”

Merrill said Walther’s order is fraught with problems, including the possibility that a woman impregnated by Taylor would feel pressure to have an abortion to prevent Taylor from being jailed. He said the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision makes it clear that it’s a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.

Taylor, of Elyria, previously said that he takes care of his children, although he doesn’t do so through child support.

Merrill said Friday that the Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has agreed to file a brief supporting Taylor in the appeals case. The ACLU similarly was involved in the Medina County case.

Walther said he understands that his order is controversial and doesn’t mind that it’s being reviewed.

“People have weighed in on both sides and I think it’s a good issue to talk about,” he said.

Contact Brad Dicken at (440) 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com .