1982: Paying alimony in pennies gets Morgan County man sent to jail for six days

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT)-  Back in 1982 WHNT News 19 did a story about a Morgan County man who decided to pay his alimony in pennies.   A Morgan County judge said Norman Guthrie was making a mockery of the court and sentenced him to six days in the county jail.

The story above originally aired on February 24, 1982.

Guthrie likely could have appealed the judge’s sentence to a higher court and won.   That’s because United States Code says pennies can be used to pay debts to the court.

Title 31, Subtitle IV,  Chapter 51, Subchapter I, Section 5103 of the United States Code states:

United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.

However, Guthrie did not appeal the decision and served his six days in jail.  He told us back in 2013 that he no regrets.



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