H. Beatty Chadwick
H. Beatty Chadwick is the American record holder for the longest time being held in civil contempt of court
Contempt of court
Contempt of court is a court order which, in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court's authority...

. In 1995, a judge ruled (solely on the word of Chadwick's wife) that Chadwick hid millions of U.S. dollars in overseas bank accounts so that he would not have to pay the sums to his ex-wife during their divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

. He was incarcerated until such time as he could present $2.5 million to the Delaware County
Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Delaware County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of 2010, the population was 558,979, making it Pennsylvania's fifth most populous county, behind Philadelphia, Allegheny, Montgomery, and Bucks counties....

 Court. Chadwick maintains that the money was lost in a business transaction and therefore he cannot surrender money he does not possess.

For the past several years, Beatty Chadwick has been represented by prominent criminal attorney Michael J. Malloy, Esq of Media, PA. In March, 2009, Malloy issued the following statement: "I am hopeful that Mr. Chadwick will not be the first American to receive life imprisonment in a divorce case."

As of March, 2009, Chadwick was awaiting a decision on a petition for habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

pending in the court of common pleas in the Delaware County. On Friday, July 10, 2009 H. Beatty Chadwick was ordered released from prison by Delaware County Judge Joseph Cronin, who determined his continued incarceration had lost its coercive effect and would not result in him surrendering the money.

Although never charged with a crime, H. Beatty Chadwick spent fourteen years of his life in prison.
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