FLORENCE, AZ - A Valley man is in jail for not paying his debt. A judge ordered him to stay in jail until he pays the money he owes his ex-wife.
"I never thought it would come this far," said Nathan Powell.
Powell is a former teacher and father of three. As part of a divorce settlement, a judge ordered Powell to give his ex-wife more than $30,000 from his retirement account.
But after losing his job, Powell says he needed the money.
"I took money out of my retirement early, something no one wants to do. I had to use it to live off of, pay my bills and support my kids," said Powell.
Judge Steven Fuller originally said Powell could not go to jail for not paying the money he owes-- but gave Powell a deadline. When Powell’s ex-wife didn’t get the money, Judge Fuller changed his mind.
"I fully expected--there is no way a judge is going to fully violate the law knowing that he previously said he couldn't take him into custody," said Charity Clark, Powell’s attorney.
Clark says the judge violated the state's constitution that prevents people from going to jail because they can't pay their debt. And they have already filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court.
We reached out to Judge Steven Fuller, he has yet to return our calls.
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