H. Beatty Chadwick has been in a staring match with the judicial system for the past 14 years, and the system just blinked. Chadwick was ordered to pay his ex-wife $2.5 million after their divorce. He refused to pay saying that he couldn't because he lost the money in a series of "bad investments." The judge in the case didn't believe him and sent him to jail for contempt. That was 14 years ago. Last week another judge let Chadwick go saying that "continued imprisonment would be legal only if there was some likelihood that ultimately he would comply with the order; otherwise, the confinement would be merely punitive instead of coercive." Chadwick, now 73, is believed to have served the longest contempt sentence in US history.
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