Joseph Dzuibak of Albert Lea, Minnesota is a disabled veteran and very ill man. Dzuibak is also incarcerated in the Freeborn County jail serving a 10 day sentence for contempt of court. The contempt charges stem from Dzuibak’s refusal to use his VA disability compensation to pay court ordered alimony to his ex-spouse.
Dzuibak was arrested in May of this year for the same offense. However, within 48 hours of being jailed Dzuibak was released.
According to officials at the jail health and liability concerns were raised by the jail nurse, and a request was submitted to the judge to have Dzuibak released with an ankle bracelet.
In addition, numerous phone calls from supporters and members of Operation Firing For Effect were instrumental in getting Dzuibak released and sent home to serve out his 30 days. Apparently, this time Joseph’s poor health was not of great concern. The following video is TV6 News coverage of Dzuibak’s arrest and release.
[Video Note:] KAAL, TV6 News (May 25, 2010), Albert Lea, Minnesota, Disabled Veteran Joseph Dziubak Goes to Jail.
This time because of his fragile health Mr. Joseph Dzuibak is being held in a holding area away from the general population under constant observation by guards. This is nominally the location in the jail where they keep inmates on suicide watch. Joseph has no TV, or anyone to communicate with. Dzuibak spends 24 hours a day staring at the four walls. Joseph Dzuibak has committed no crime. Yet, he is incarcerated like the most hardened criminal. After 10 days if Dzuibak still refuses to honor the court order, he will go back to jail for 30 days next time. There really is no limit to how long the judge can keep Dzuibak locked up. The danger to Dzuibak is very real; he could suffer another stroke or heart attack or worse.
Dzuibak is among a growing number of disabled veterans choosing to face jail in protest for having their VA disability compensation calculated as ‘income’ and divided with an ex-spouse. Like most veterans, Joseph Dzuibak was taught that his veteran’s benefits were not attachable by any legal means. According to USC, Title 38, 5301, Joseph is correct. This particular Federal law reads as follows; “payments of benefits due or to become due under any law administered by the Secretary shall not be assignable except to the extent specifically authorized by law, and such payments made to, or on account of, a beneficiary shall be exempt from taxation, shall be exempt from the claim of creditors, and shall not be liable to attachment, levy, or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process whatever, either before or after receipt by the beneficiary”.
Unfortunately, most civil courts do not recognize this Federal law and divorce court judges across the country are routinely stripping veterans of their earned benefits and awarding them to an ex-spouse.
In an interesting side note, several deputies at the jail, who are also veterans, have expressed off the record that they feel Dzuibak is getting a raw deal and shouldn’t even be in jail. But, they also say have a job to do and cannot allow their personal feels affect their job. They must abide by the judge’s orders. The deputy’s names are being withheld to protect their jobs.
The following KWQC News broadcast will illustrate how widespread this problem really is.
[Video Note:] KWQC TV6 (April 2009) News broadcast features Jerry Bohr and members of Operation Firing For Effect, the Veteran’s Advocacy Group. This video provides a thumbnail sketch of the OFFE organization and the 5301 issue in Iowa.
Operation Firing For Effect is monitoring Joseph Dzuibak’s situation with daily calls to the jail. If you wish to call the jail to voice your support for Dzuibak, or to check on his condition, here is the number; (507) 377 5267 and listen for the prompt for the jail. Please be polite when you call.
‘AREA 5301’ is a web page created by Operation Firing For Effect devoted exclusively to the 5301 issue. Operation Firing For Effect is currently the only national organization addressing this issue.
[Video Note:] WIBW TV13 News (August 2010) broadcast is the latest coverage of this issue.
OFFE National Public Relations Director