Pay Your Support or go to Court

Nichole Taylor Compton, Carolyn Gaeta McLean and Chief District Judge Sean Delahanty.

Nichole Taylor Compton, Carolyn Gaeta McLean and Chief District Judge Sean Delahanty.

The Voice-Tribune Intern

There are over 60,000 active child support cases across Kentuckiana. WBNA TV and BMB Productions are bringing the action and drama of these cases to television with their new program, “Deadbeat – Kentuckiana Child Support Court,” which began airing in June.

WBNA General Manager Tom Fawbush has guaranteed that the narrowly focused but relatable program will “entertain and educate people at the same time.”

Courtroom and prison coverage, post-court interviews and studio footage comprise the show. The staff hopes to include outside interviews and coverage of other related types of law as it expands.

“Deadbeat” is filmed on Monday and Friday afternoons in Jefferson County’s 30th District Court of Kentucky, which handles the criminal side of child support disputes, among other legal matters.

Here are some of the key people behind the show:

Chief District Court Judge Sean Delahanty

Judge Delahanty approved the project and is one of the two district judges seen on camera. Those that find themselves in non-support court are usually given a chillingly clear decision to make. “We have the big stick,” Delahanty said. “You’re going to have to go to jail unless you pay your child support, so let’s figure out how you’re going to pay your child support. Let’s find out what these issues are.”

The judge is excited that the show has shined an educational spotlight on the Jefferson County court system without interfering with the court’s usual procedure. The show’s hands-off recording and production preserve the authenticity of the courtroom proceedings and serve the raw, direct purpose of the program. “They’re not sensationalizing it. This is exactly what is occurring in the court,” Delahanty said. “They’re being honest about it, and I’m very happy about that.”

Delahanty is serving his 16th year on the bench and is up for reelection at the end of 2014.

District Court Judge Erica Lee Williams

Judge Williams has been on the bench since 2009 and also serves on the Governor’s Scholar Program’s board of directors. The Western Kentucky University and University of Kentucky College of Law graduate’s non-support childcare docket made her courtroom an obvious choice.

“I think her personality lends itself to television very well,” said co-host Nichole Taylor Compton. “You can see two totally different judges and what their approaches are.” Williams is also up for reelection at the end of 2014.

Carolyn Gaeta McLean

A former WAVE 3 newsroom reporter, McLean is the primary host on the show. She serves “snarky commentary” on the courtroom action. “They don’t mind you giving your opinion,” she said. “In fact, they want it.”

McLean believes it’s the real cases and real people that will make “Deadbeat” such a success. Viewers will experience exposure to a side of Jefferson County they are not necessarily familiar with, and yet they may recognize someone that is standing trial or pressing charges.

“It’s compelling. I think it has potential to go there in an emotional way, because I think once you start following certain characters, people get more and more invested,” McLean said. “I don’t think Louisville’s ever seen anything like it.”

Nichole Taylor Compton

A practicing attorney and judicial candidate, Compton first began work on the project alongside Ron Burrell in late 2010. WBNA picked up the idea and began producing last year. Now, Compton co-hosts the show with McLean and provides legal analysis. As a former single teenage mother herself and practitioner of all kinds of law, the show is personal for her.

The show is what Compton calls “edutainment.” Viewers have already begun reaching out to ask the show’s cast for personal legal advice. Although the material can be heavy at times, overall, the show is an energetic and fun piece of reality television.

“You can’t make some of this stuff up,” Compton said. “Some of the comments, some of the emotions, some of the things that happen in court are so hilarious or so serious or so entertaining that we don’t even have to write it.”

Ashley Anderson.

Ashley Anderson.

Ashley Anderson

Editor with Bleacher Report, co-host of a sports radio program on 970 WGTK and former writer with the Voice-Tribune, Anderson has joined McLean and Compton as courtroom correspondent.

She sits in on every hearing the show covers, and she often discusses the cases with the individuals involved immediately outside the courtroom. “Usually, the prosecuting witnesses are the ones that really want to get their story up, because they’re trying to get money from their spouse,” she said. “They can definitely be pretty heated. They want to talk about their situation. You see all sorts of situations through those first few interviews.”

“Deadbeat” airs daily on WBNA TV at 1:30 p.m. after WAVE3 News Midday. It also airs nightly on RTV 21.4 (TWC Channel 185) at 9 p.m.. Previously run episodes may be viewed on the show’s Youtube channel.

One Response to “Pay Your Support or go to Court”

  1. PBinLosAngeles

    In U.S. Divorce and or Custody matters mothers are awarded Primary Physical Custody of minor children – when such children are involved – in 91% of cases. Not 75% of the time or half the time, but fully over 90% of the time Mom gets the kids.
    In California alone, we have over 8,000 men paying child support for children that DNA evidence has proven they didn’t father; why? Quota! If the Golden State were to emancipate these men from their assigned debt, California risks losing all or part of the $504 million Federal Dollars it received during the 2012/13 fiscal year for its child support collection and case management efforts. Not incidentally, those federal funds never make their way into the lives of children of divorce or impoverished kids. Instead financing the salaries, benefits packages, paid-time-off, and pensions of those employed by – or retired from – the family law and child support industries; people such as Compton, McLean, and Delahanty.
    The only Federally Funded study ever conducted on the subject of child support showed that when employed, men pay between 83 and 91% of all court ordered child support and that they do so without intervention of any kind. But, when these figures became apparent the commissioner of the National Office of Child Support Enforcement in D.C. – who’d authorized the analysis – had the study discontinued! In fact, the OCSE’s office demanded a formal Freedom of Information Act Submission merely to review the study’s data.
    In the United States, divorce and custody comprise over half of all civil litigation, constituting the cash cow of the judiciary, and bringing employment and earnings to a host of public and private officials, including counselors, lawyers, child support collection agents, mediators, psychologists, law enforcement officers, and countless others in both the public and private sectors, all in the name of helping “troubled children”. What ever pieties these practitioners may voice about the plight of those children, the fact remains that these same people need those kids for their own livelihoods, and removing the fathers via court order accomplishes that goal.