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Thursday, April 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Mother Gets Jail Time Over Son’s Last Name

(CN) - A mother must spend 10 days in jail for allowing her son to use his stepfather's last name in his baseball league, the Alabama Court of Appeals ruled.

As part of her divorce decree, Lisa Preston was required to have her son use the last name of her former husband, Matthew Saab, when playing sports.

When the boy visited his father for Thanksgiving, the father's wife noticed that "Preston" was written on the tags of the boy's clothing, and he also had a magazine subscription with the name Preston. She also discovered that the boy was registered for baseball under the name Preston.

The mother admitted that she had allowed her son to choose which last name to use. He had his first name on the back of his jersey.

The trial court found the mother guilty of five counts of criminal contempt and sentenced her to five days in jail for each count. The Alabama Court of Appeals affirmed on two counts, but reversed on the others. Preston must spend 10 days in jail -- five days each for the incorrect name on the registration and on the baseball roster, the court ruled.

"Although we believe that the mother's jail sentence was particularly harsh in light of the circumstances of this case, we cannot conclude that the trial court exceeded its discretion in sentencing the mother to five days in jail for each finding of criminal contempt," the court wrote.

The original sentence was 25 days, but the judges reversed the ruling on the mother's contempt charges for the clothing tags, the magazine subscription, and for allegedly not allowing sufficient telephone contact with the father.

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