Here is a previous
article on Perry Manley...
Man wages public protest against
child support laws By Steve Corda,
Perry Manley of Silverdale walked
his sandwich board down Wheaton Way
in East Bremerton on Monday
afternoon to protest what he believes
are unconstitutional child support
laws. Staff photo by Steve Zugschwerdt
A Silverdale man is waging an
attention-grabbing battle against
a child support system he believes
is unconstitutional. He brought that
battle to Wheaton Way in Bremerton
Perry Manley, 48, estimated
that he has paid $109,024 in
support and health-care payments
for his three children in the 10 years
since he and his ex-wife divorced.
When a judge ordered him to increase
his payments from
$201 to $459, Manley decided
enough was enough.
"I used to work for $15
an hour. Now, I'm unemployed,"
Manley said. "I'm unemployed
because the government takes 28 percent
of my income in taxes, 50 percent
in child support and I can't live
on $1.50 an hour."
Manley said he sued the state
and his ex-wife — her only as a technicality
— claiming that the state's child
support laws unconstitutionally
rob him of "my life, my liberty
and my property."
He said that the judge refused
to hear his constitutional arguments,
so he took his case to the appellate
level. After six months of inaction,
he learned his case could be held
up for as long as two years.
That's when he decided to act.
He now alternately marches on highly
visible streets in Bremerton,
Silverdale, Tacoma and Seattle, clad
only in a pair of shorts hidden
behind a sandwich board that declares
he has been "State Raped."
He also carries a large American
flag, hung upside down.
He was on Bremerton's Wheaton
Way on Monday and expects to be marching
on Silverdale Way tomorrow.
Published in The Sun: 04/18/2000
is the last email I received from
him about 2 pm yesterday.
to see him go but you can only push
people so far, may his name not die
OF “WE THE PEOPLE”
the various State Governments of the
UNITED STATES of AMERICA has
committed repeated acts of war against
“WE THE PEOPLE” of the United States
of America; Therefore be it Resolved
by the “PEOPLE” Legal Constitutional
Representatives of the United States
of America, that the state of war
between the United States and the
various State Governments which has
thus been thrust upon the People of
the United States is hereby
formally declared; and that the President
be, and he is hereby, authorized and
directed to employ the entire naval
and military forces of the United
States and the resources of the Government
to carry on war against the various
State Governments; and to bring the
conflict to a successful termination:
all of the resources of the country
are hereby pledged by the People of
the United States.
various City, County and State Governments
of each of the fifty States along
with their assigned and or elected
executives sworn by official oath
of office: Have by use of said office
and in violation the oath on record
committed acts of treason and tyranny
against the PEOPLE of the United States.
The governments duly sworn
by oath to the Constitution and the
Bill of Rights deny the just liberty
and freedom of 25 million citizens
forced into involuntary service and
peonage in violation of guaranteed
protection of human rights.
THE PEOPLE” of the United States of
Signed the 19th
Day of June 19, 2005
The gentleman that was killed Perry
was fighting and suing for years.
I was one of about 15 people who were
on his private email list, I had just
received an email a couple of hours
before this happen and had responded
to it NOT knowing that this event
had already happen.
He also upset about not being able
to give his daughter away at her wedding,
I am not sure about all those details
right now but will let you know when
I find out.
Perry was a real crusader.
Here's another story from last week...
June 15, 2005
Local man fathers a movement to abolish
By CYDNEY GILLIS
Wind and rain pierced the plaza at
Seattle’s new federal courthouse on
May 18. That didn’t stop Perry Manley.
He was determined to burn an American
flag to protest something he’s been
fighting 15 years: child support and
the second-class citizenship of divorced
“Freedom march for non-custodial parents!”
Manley cried. “Freedom march for non-custodial
Except for one other dad taking pictures,
Manley was a march of one. He wore
a black judge’s robe and yellow sandwich
board, which he took off before stepping
up to a fountain to burn the flag
he’d brought with him.
His lighter, however, only burned
holes in the nylon — nothing for the
nine policemen on hand to worry about.
Manley has been to the courthouse
so many times, in fact, that one of
the officers greeted him by name,
then asked why he needed to burn a
“It’s a symbol of freedom,” Manley
answered. But “25 million non-custodial
parents don’t recognize this symbol
because this symbol doesn’t represent
Because his ex-wife hates him, Manley
told the officer, he won’t get to
walk his daughter down the aisle this
August. The very thought choked Manley
In the myriad of lawsuits Manley has
filed against the state, however,
he’s argued money shouldn’t have been
withheld from his paychecks to support
his ex-wife’s choice to have children
or get a divorce — which Manley objects
to on religious grounds.
Despite the lone flag-burning, Perry
Manley isn’t alone: He’s part of a
growing national network of divorced
and angry fathers who aren’t just
offering support or legal advice any
more — that was the ’80s. Today, disgruntled
dads with groups such as Dads Now,
Fathers4Justice and a host of others
are arguing that the child support
system doesn’t treat dads equally
and should be abolished.
For 15 years, Manley has been arguing
there’s no such thing as a non-custodial
parent. What he and other dads say
they want is real, joint custody where
no child support is paid to either
parent, and each has the kids half
Lawyers say shared custody is a growing
phenomenon, but one that only works
when the divorced mom and dad can
communicate without conflict.
In the three latest lawsuits Manley
has filed in U.S. District Court since
2000, however, he hasn’t been arguing
for joint custody — his own three
children are already grown. What Manley
has argued, over and over, is that
child support violates the Anti-Peonage
Act and represents involuntary servitude,
which he says is illegal under the
That, says Manley, who filed the lawsuits
on his own, has deprived him of the
fruits of his labor, including paying
an overage of $14,000 in child support
after his kids were grown.
In his two most recent cases against
the state, he also sued three of his
former Seattle employers — the Women’s
University Club, The Salvation Army,
and Aramark Sports — for complying
with state orders to withhold child
support from his paychecks.
In every case, the court, most recently
under U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly,
has dismissed Manley’s claims — moves
that led the father to file letters
with the court system April 18 and
May 31 accusing Zilly of treason for
not enforcing the law as Manley sees
Over the years, Manley, who was divorced
in Bremerton in 1990 and now lives
in Seattle, has been evicted, jailed,
and homeless in the same cycle of
Tom Swanson, the dad who was with
Manley at the flag-burning, says he’s
been living out of a storage unit
for about six years — the result of
a hand injury that left him unable
to work for two months. As a result,
he could not pay the $900 in child
support he owed from his monthly paycheck
He currently has a payment plan to
retire the $65,000 in back child support
he owes. But Swanson says his ex-wife
and son are long gone. Even when he
knew where they lived, he says his
ex-wife disobeyed the visitation rules
and there wasn’t much he could do
“The parenting plan isn’t worth the
paper it’s written on,” says Swanson,
a Gulf War veteran who came home to
find his wife in bed with the gardener.
While fathers can appeal to the court
to have child support payments reduced
or deferred, many divorced dads say
the courts and lawyers are a big part
of the problem. They say attorneys
represent men terribly in family court,
which nearly always gives custody
to the mother.
“I paid a lawyer $5,000 to be a dummy
and be silent while I got less than
30 percent non-custodial” visitation,
says Steve Polson. “By giving me less
than 30 percent, that lets them charge
maximum child support and funds the
Polson is a fisherman who came down
from Alaska last year to be near his
daughter and ex-girlfriend, who moved
to Washington in 2003. Since then,
he says, his ex-girlfriend has moved
again. More than an hour’s drive now
separates his house in Rochester from
hers in Kalama.
That makes his Thursday though Saturday
visitation with his 4-year-old daughter
a constant rush, Polson says — with
no end in sight. Polson says he and
the mother are currently in jurisdictional
limbo between Alaska and Washington.
“I’m asking for equal custody,” Polson
says. “It’s statistically proven that
children do better with both parents
in their life. This is so one-sided.”
All three men say their custody fight
isn’t a gender fight — three million
of the nation’s non-custodial parents
are women who suffer the same travesties,
Manley says. But the writings at Hate
Male Post, a web log where Manley
and Swanson post notes and articles,
“The ‘woman’ has waged WAR against
Patriarchy, defined as control by
Manley wrote in a recent entry at
the site. “The movement seeks to destroy:
The Constitution, The Family, Established
The website of the “Indiana Civil
Rights Council” — a fathers’ rights
group through which Manley and Swanson
met — is far more detailed. It claims
more mothers abuse children than fathers
and lays the blame for youth suicide,
teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency,
and other social ills squarely on
the shoulders of single mothers.
“The court gave the child to a high
school dropout who was unemployed
and had no skills,” Swanson says of
his ex-wife. “She’s never had a job.”
Three attorneys with experience in
family law say Manley’s legal arguments
don’t excuse a man from supporting
his children. They agree, however,
that representation of fathers has
been atrocious over the years — something
that ’s slowly changing.
In the meantime, Nancy Sapiro, an
attorney with the Northwest Women’s
Law Center, says mothers still tend
to get custody because they are usually
a child’s main care-giver — the number-one
factor that a judge is supposed to
consider under the state Parentage
If a husband shared care-giving during
the marriage (for instance, feeding,
diapering, and bathing the children
half the time), Sapiro says he’s entitled
to half custody — something Manley
had but calls a joke because he had
to pay someone to raise his children.
Sapiro and Renton attorney Ruth Moen
insist, however, that when men chose
to litigate, they prevail — particularly
men with money. “They used that power
viciously,” Moen says.
“As in any situation, you can drum
up examples on either side to boost
your point of view,” Moen says. “As
many stories as there are of women
manipulating the system, there are
an equal number or more stories of
men manipulating the system.”
Haven't you guys had enough? Wha's
it going to take before Fathers
realize that this crap has been
going on for at least the past
50 years and EVERYBODY knows
it - Its no secret - FATHERS
AND KIDS GET SCREWED.
We need to
organize, become some type of
union where we can initiate
change. - big change - Unions
do it all the time, and succeed
in there cause.
We need a leader
- another Martin Luther King?
What if all
the small fathers groups with
all the thousands of web pages
joined, united and went on strike
- everyone stop paying child
support. Everyone ..........................
I am just another
screwed dad who misses his kid,
tired of the court system,
and tired that all this continues
to go on WITHOUT any change.
What's it going
to take to get some real change?
Man killed at court
was upset over child support
By Sara Jean Green, Mike Carter And
Jennifer Sullivan Seattle Times staff
Perry Manley didn't want to pay child
support, and the seeming unfairness
of a system that hounded him to turn
over his hard-earned cash to his ex-wife
had made him angry and obsessed over
the past 15 years.
Manley had written and talked about
the topic ad nauseam. He had filed
no fewer than five lawsuits, and had
joined others supporting the rights
of fathers as noncustodial parents.
Being required to pay child support
for his three children, Manley claimed,
was a form of involuntary servitude,
where a man is forced to work to support
a child he is not responsible for
In recent years, his writings and
actions showed him to be increasingly
In the end, his obsession is apparently
what got him killed, in what friends
believe was a last-ditch effort to
draw attention to his cause.
Manley was shot to death yesterday,
the day after Father's Day, by two
Seattle police officers inside the
secure foyer of the federal courthouse.
In one hand, he clutched a defused
Manley, dressed in camouflage and
carrying a backpack strapped across
his chest, walked into the courthouse
shortly before noon and tried to inch
along a small ledge that rings an
indoor reflection pond in an apparent
attempt to avoid the metal detectors.
Eric Robertson, U.S. Marshal for the
Western District of Washington, said
security officers saw he was holding
a World War II-era hand grenade and
Security officers summoned police
and spent more than 20 minutes trying
to persuade him to surrender. He placed
papers he apparently wanted to present
to a judge on the floor and used both
hands to cup the grenade to his body,
a police spokeswoman said.
Police fired twice after he "made
a furtive movement with the grenade,"
Robertson said at a news conference
yesterday. He was shot once with a
shotgun and once with a .223-caliber
assault rifle, said Seattle Police
Chief Gil Kerlikowske. It was clear
the man was dead immediately after
the shooting, he said.
The incident prompted the evacuation
of hundreds of courthouse personnel,
including judges, jurors, employees
and prisoners. The courthouse was
closed the remainder of the day.
Police later determined that the bottom
of the grenade had been drilled out,
making it inactive, but that wasn't
apparent to officers, Kerlikowske
A bomb expert was called to examine
the contents of the man's backpack
because officials were worried he
might have strapped explosives to
his body. No explosives were found.
Instead, officials found a cutting
board and a copy of the man's living
will inside his bag, the chief said.
Kerlikowske speculated that the cutting
board may have been for protection
against police bullets and suggested,
given that the man was carrying a
copy of his living will, that his
death may be a case of "suicide
Manley, 52, was a well-known figure
at the U.S. District Courthouse who
had recently attracted the attention
of the U.S. Marshals Service after
accusing U.S. District Judge Thomas
Zilly of treason in a letter filed
in court last April. Manley said the
crime was punishable by death, and
wrote on a fathers'-rights Web site
that he was visited by two agents
later that month.
Zilly, contacted at home last night,
acknowledged that "the letters
were turned over to the U.S. Marshal's
Office." The judge called the
Carried will with him
A friend of Manley's, Richard Roberts,
said Manley wrote a living will the
day after the visit from the agents
and always carried it with him. Manley
had said he believed agents were "going
to shoot him anyway," Roberts
Manley's ex-wife, Susan Calhoun, 48,
of Suquamish, Kitsap County, said
yesterday she was aware that Manley
had been killed, but had not been
formally notified by police. His oldest
daughter, Kristen Manley, 23, said
she also was aware of the shooting.
Both declined comment last night.
Police last night had not released
Manley's name, but his identity was
confirmed by a law-enforcement source.
Last month, according to published
reports, Manley attempted to burn
an American flag in a rainstorm on
the plaza outside the courthouse.
According to a story in the homeless
publication Real Change, Manley was
so well known to courthouse security
officers that they greeted him by
name. Manley had notified the media
about his flag-burning plans, but
only a Real Change reporter showed
Tom Swanson, who accompanied Manley
to the flag burning and shares Manley's
belief that child support is illegal,
said Manley had promised that if the
flag burning didn't attract enough
attention to his plight, he was going
to do something "more drastic."
"Nobody would listen to us,"
said Swanson, who lives in his car
in Tacoma and was reached by cellphone.
"His final statement"
Roberts of East Bremerton said Manley
had been jailed at least twice for
contempt of court for failing to pay
"He was an extremely hardheaded
individual," said Roberts, who
met Manley at the Silverdale Baptist
Church in Bremerton 16 years ago.
"This was his way of making his
final statement. I'm sure what he
did was premeditated," Roberts
said. "This is not a wacko, but
a guy who was at the end of his ropes.
It's a tragedy he felt he had to go
Roberts said Manley wasn't opposed
to giving money to his ex-wife, he
just didn't think the state had the
right to force him to make payments.
Pleadings in the numerous lawsuits
filed by Manley over the years show
the arc of his obsession.
Calhoun had their marriage dissolved
in 1990. He appealed a court order
for child support, which was summarily
Manley's court filing, done without
an attorney, "contains no statements
of facts," the appellate court
Over the next decade, Manley would
lose dozens of jobs and be jailed.
The courts noted that he was "voluntarily
underemployed" in an effort to
attempt to avoid his child-custody
payments of more than $600 and back
payments that by 2002 had grown to
more than $8,000.
Living in a shelter
From 2001 until last year, Manley
lived at the William Booth Center,
a shelter run by the Salvation Army
that provides housing and support
services to homeless men in the Chinatown
International District in Seattle.
A facilitator there, Mike Jones, said
he remembered Manley, but he was unwilling
to say much without permission from
his superiors. He said Manley was
forced to leave last year because
he had reached the limit of the amount
of time he could stay.
Manley, who Roberts said was a Navy
veteran, participated in the veterans
transitional program at the shelter,
which houses up to 185 men, Jones
Manley wore fatigues when he lived
there, Jones said.
In the meantime, he sued the state
and several of his past employers,
claiming they were violating his rights
by garnisheeing his wages and turning
his pay over to the state. His most
recent lawsuit was assigned to Judge
Zilly in January 2003, but like the
others was dismissed a few months
Manley, however, continued to file
often rambling pleadings, including
several in which he accused Zilly
of treason. The most recent was filed
Last night, the FBI searched Manley's
studio apartment in the 2500 block
of Western Avenue in Seattle's Belltown
neighborhood, Robertson, the U.S.
Marshal, said. Manley was a frequent
visitor at both the federal courthouse
and the Jackson Federal Building on
"In most instances, he would
come in and would be required to go
through screening. At times, he would
sit outside in the courtyard area,"
said Robertson, adding the man seemed
to be motivated by "a global
The entire incident yesterday was
captured on digital security video,
but Robertson declined to release
that footage. Still, he said, "you
can clearly see the [court security
officer] trying to get him to put
down what was in his hand."
Jeff Sullivan, the chief of the criminal
division in the U.S. Attorney's Office,
was getting off the elevators on the
fourth floor of the courthouse when
he saw the man, surrounded by armed
officers, backed up against the glass
wall at the west end of the courthouse
foyer. Sullivan said the man was on
the secure side of the reflecting
pond, not far from the elevators that
would have given him access to the
rest of the courthouse.
The man, Sullivan said, had his arms
through the harness of a yellow backpack
across his chest. Sullivan said the
man had a manila folder full of papers
in one hand and an object he couldn't
see in the other.
"The officers had their guns
out and had taken safety positions,"
Sullivan said. "They were talking
to him. I clearly heard them tell
him to put down what he had in his
Sullivan said he thought the man may
have said something like, "I'll
come halfway," but the officers
insisted he drop whatever he was holding.
At that point, Sullivan said, agents
with the U.S. Marshal's Service noticed
him up against the railing "and
told me to get the hell out of there,"
he said. A few minutes later, as officials
were ordering the evacuation of the
first five floors of the courthouse,
he said he heard two shots.
Wiped out by a
system implacable to all reason
Editor, The Times:
Every divorced father
knows exactly how that poor guy, Perry
Manley, felt ["Man
killed at court was upset over child
support," Times page one,
He was absolutely
correct in his assessment of "child
support." It is destructive in
many ways: It pretends to support
children but the amounts are way beyond
basic needs and really go to support
the lifestyle of a mother who these
days has the income of the father,
and usually owns the house as well.
It destroys relations
between ex-spouses and thus is detrimental
to any children as they grow up: They
sense the resentment and are frustrated
that their father is bitter and poor.
If a father remarries,
it is destructive to a second wife
who must see her husband's income
frittered away to another woman. It
must give any son pause before he
marries a nice girl and raises a family,
knowing there is a good chance he
will get trapped in the same situation
as his father.
Coping with this
system is very challenging and this
man could not do it. Now his daughter
will wake up every day with the knowledge
that she will never see her father
again, propagating the system's injustices.
family law says to the father, "You
are now divorced. You have the privilege
of seeing your children a few days
a month, and for that you will pay
a monthly fee. A big one."
It is a system that
feeds off greed and vindictiveness,
is fundamentally corrupt and ultimately
does nothing good.
Frankly, I'm surprised
incidents like this are so rare. Believe
me, there's a little of him in every
one of us.
— Philip Siers, Mountlake
may be recognized in this man's tragedy
Perry Manley's death
this week, while tragic, has thankfully
brought the state's child-support
laws back into the public arena where
a discussion is long overdue.
As primary custodial
parent of two small children whose
husband sued me for divorce last year,
I am extremely familiar with the state's
I was appalled that
Mr. Manley, whose income was just
$2,000 per month, was required by
the state to provide $650 a month
in support for his three children;
while my ex-husband, who earns more
than $8,000 each month, was required
under state law to pay only $750 a
month for his two children.
A child-support system
that allows such huge discrepancies
in payments should be challenged by
both custodial and non-custodial parents.
It is high time for
the Legislature to revisit this issue,
and it can begin by restructuring
the child-support table, which not
only fails to reflect the actual marginal
cost of raising one child in this
state, but also has not been adjusted
upward in probably 20 years.
In addition, the
state can do a much better job of
determining both custodial and non-custodial
parents' ability to pay, assigning
financial responsibility based on
that ability, and making periodic
adjustments to reflect both increases
and decreases in each parent's income.
More than 50 percent
of the marriages in this state fail,
and a lot of them involve kids. Let's
get sane about our child-support laws
and let's do it soon.
— Virginia Vanderlinde,
Harsh paternal punishment
The financial burden
of Perry Manley's monthly child-support
payment was obviously odious, but
monthly payments are only the beginning.
The state's practice
of "proportional" division
of child support means a father who
is obligated for 66.7 percent of the
total state-calculated child support
must also cover 66.7 percent of other
expenses, such as uninsured health
costs and often non-essential expenses
such as music lessons. The courts
have no sympathy for any non-custodial
parent who protests his/her obligation
for such costs.
In Washington, a
parent's financial obligation can
continue even after the child reaches
the age of majority. Washington's
courts regularly order divorced parents
to pay for their child's college education,
and it's not just the wealthy; average
parents are ordered to pay.
Ostensibly, the state's
concern is for the "welfare of
the children." But laws that
force divorced parents to pay for
a college education, when no similar
obligation exists for so-called "intact"
families, are simply discrimination
against the divorced.
It is clear the courts
too often view non-custodial fathers
as little more than checkbooks. If
nothing else, Manley has shown how
devastating such a myopic view can
be — for fathers and their children.
— Carl Dombek (former
Seattle radio reporter), Indianapolis,
Dread of household
I don't understand
why some non-custodial parents think
they shouldn't have to pay to support
their offspring. If you decide to
have kids, why would they cease to
be your financial responsibility just
because you don't live in the same
house they do?
The reason you don't
live with your children — whether
it's because you couldn't stand the
other parent, they couldn't stand
you, or something else — is immaterial
to your responsibility to financially
support the children you chose to
If you don't want
to pay the money it takes to bring
up your own children, then don't have
— Ann Ziegler, Seattle
Lend a supportive
courthouse shooting strikes chord
for activists" [Local News,
June 22] struck a chord for me, too,
both because I've been in that courthouse,
and because I rejected Perry Manley's
plea for help.
Years ago, while
working as the intake attorney for
a law firm, I received a rambling
e-mail from him. I could not help
him because we did not handle child-support
But he had two valid
points. Child-support obligations
are seldom reduced, even when a father
loses his job, even though child support
is supposed to be based on income.
And when the father goes broke, judges
hold the father in contempt of court
for failing to pay, without appointing
counsel to enable him to show he is
unable to pay.
These problems stem
from judges' failure to implement
the Washington Supreme Court's 1975
Tetro decision. That case held that
poor fathers charged with contempt
of court for failing to pay child
support have the right to a court-appointed
attorney. That way, they can prove
they are in fact unable to pay, and
thus do not deserve to be jailed for
might reduce fathers' desperation
and thus prevent more courthouse shootings.
It would also save taxpayers money
by preventing unnecessary jailings.
— Hans Bader, Arlington,
Every mother's sum
The Times [coverage
of] Perry Manley, which has been circulated
worldwide, represents but the tip
of the iceberg. What pushes divorced
fathers over the edge and into post-divorce
depression is a combination of the
domestic-violence industry and the
divorce industry, which together grant
mothers physical custody of children
upwards of 90 percent of the time,
while simultaneously marginalizing
or severing the father's relationship
with his children through visitation.
Further, the father
is required to pay for the lifestyles
of his former wife and children and,
should he not pay what the courts
award, they put him in debtor's prison.
Until the laws of
every state are changed to require
that all marriage dissolutions begin
with the presumption of equal, shared
parenting and financial responsibility
— adjusted to each family's needs
— we as a nation will only see more
and worse of what we saw Monday.
— Gordon E. Finley,
Ph.D., professor of psychology, Florida
International University, Miami, Fla.