CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Earlier this year 19 News Investigators interviewed a man who filed an appeal after a judge ordered him not to procreate because he owned hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support. The Ohio Supreme Court just ruled that’s unconstitutional.
London Chapman’s attorney, Giovanna Bremke, got Ohio’s Supreme Court to reverse the order that she says restricted Chapman’s constitutional rights.
“The trial court in effect castrated Mr. Chapman,” she previously said in an August hearing with Supreme Court Justices. “At what point do we say this is too many children this is too many convictions this is too much support? In this case it’s 13 children, but what’s to say the next judge doesn’t say it’s five, three or even one?”
Chapman said he has 13 kids by nine different mothers.
He pleaded guilty to felony charges last year, after failing to pay the more than $200,000 he owed in child support.
As a part of his probation, a Lorain County judge ordered him to avoid impregnating another woman.
It was an idea the Supreme Court justices didn’t necessarily seem opposed to, in theory.
“To have additional off springs, presumably he’s not going to be able to do any better by that child or children than the ones he already has. That’s the government interest here,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said.
However, the Cleveland ACLU helped argue on Chapman’s behalf in this case, saying that procreation falls within the category of fundamental rights.
The question, until now, was whether someone loses that right under probation or court ordered community control.
Chapman said in January he didn’t plan to have any additional children, but he didn’t want someone else to be hindered if they do.
“It’s wrong for the next person to go through that if he wants to have kids,” Chapman said.
In the court ruling that just came down, the Supreme Court sided with Chapman, saying, “the precreation prohibition is not reasonably related to the goals of community control.”
That means Chapman could legally have more kids and he would only face additional criminal charges if he continued to fall behind on child support payments.
Chapman’s attorney is representing another man who was also ordered not to procreate.
The court said it was going to wait to review his case until it made a decision on Chapman’s case.