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Man: Arrest for unpaid child support was illegal

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Brian Lucynski admits he owes thousands of dollars in child support, but claims the person who ordered his arrest didn't have the authority to do so and he's hired an attorney get it thrown out of court.

Lucynski admits he owes $20,000 in back child support for his four kids. He said he was paying it though work, but they stopped withholding it for unknown reasons without his knowledge. When he went to court last month to show officials what happened, Lucynski ended up in jail.

Lucynski and his lawyers said it was a hearing officer who ordered him to jail, although the records say it was a judge. Court documents show the judge's order is dated May 9 -- 19 days after the arrest.

"I tried to plead my case, and they told me that was a bunch of baloney and that was pretty much it," Luczynski said. "Then -- all of a sudden -- I have two guys at my back putting handcuffs on me."

Luczynski said he spent three days in jail and then hired his attorney, Neil Weinreb.

"They are just turning around, essentially, to the officers in the courtroom and incarcerate this man, and in my opinion it amounts to a false arrest," Weinreb said. "They are incarcerating people immediately before a judge even has a recommendation."

When Weinreb went to the judge who signed the document for Luczynski's arrest and pointed out the discrepancy, the judge immediacy ordered Luczynski's release.

Court officials said they really don't know the background on this, but they did say a hearing officer cannot order the arrest of someone. It has to come from a judge.

Weinreb said he is trying to get things changed and believes that may happen by pointing this out.

"I think it's a lawyer's duty as an officer of the court to make sure the courts are respecting the law the way they are supposed to," Weinreb said.

The hearing officers are appointed by the court but are paid by the Florida Department of Revenue.  Employees in that office said they were not aware of this case, but admitted their staff does not have arrest powers. They added, however, that the hearing officers don't work for them.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.