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Court will hear case of mentally ill woman jailed for failure to pay child support

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear the case of a woman who spent 43 days in jail for nonpayment of child support, despite the fact she had been declared totally disabled by the Social Security Administration because of her mental illness.

The Michigan Supreme Court Thursday will hear the case of a mentally ill woman who was sent to jail because she could not pay her child support.

Selesa Likine  is divorced, has children, and worked as a realtor.

Likine suffers from schizoaffective disorder. She was hospitalized several times, lost her job, and was declared totally disabled by the Social Security Administration.

But the jury wasn’t allowed to hear about that, so Likine spent 43 days in Oakland County Jail after she was convicted of failure to pay child support.

“That was traumatic," Likine says. "I felt rock bottom. I can’t even put the experience into words.”

Likine feels she has no employment future because she has a felony conviction.

David Moran of the Innocence Clinic represents Likine. He says it’s illegal under the federal Constitution to send people to prison or jail because they cannot pay.