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No Demand for $20 Shoeshines, Judge Told

Associated Press

A judge who last month told a jobless black man to start shining shoes to finance child support payments on Monday accepted the man’s plan to work instead as a cement pourer.

Charles Martin told State District Judge Oliver Kitzman that the shoe-shining venture was unsuccessful because no one would pay his fee of $10 a shoe--the price he said he needed to finance the $225 monthly payments to his ex-wife to help support their 6-year-old son.

“I believe we have compliance, and that’s what this is all about,” Kitzman said after being told Martin had found work as a cement pourer.

When Martin, 31, argued last month that he could not pay the court-ordered child support payments because he could not find a job, Kitzman handed him a shoeshine kit and told him to hit the streets.

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Martin said that Kitzman’s action was demeaning and made him angry. But the judge said he received favorable responses from throughout the United States and some foreign countries.

Sheila Gage Martin, Martin’s ex-wife, said she saw nothing discriminatory in the judge’s decision. “A bunch of black people I know said the judge would have done the same to a white man,” she said.


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