Bloomington attorney Tristan Bullington, left, and Amber Buck. 

BLOOMINGTON — A father held in contempt of court for refusing for attend child custody hearings in McLean County was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday at a hearing where issues related to a warrant for his arrest also were addressed.

Michael Cadena's sentence is the maximum penalty for the direct criminal contempt of court issued by Associate Judge Lee Ann Hill for his failure to comply with multiple court orders to return to Illinois for hearings on his 2014 petition for custody of his 4-year-old son, Michael Cadena Jr.

Before issuing the sentence, Hill said the father “wants what he wants when he wants it, without following the law.”

Cadena could begin serving the six months soon. 

Cadena has refused at least six orders by Hill to attend hearings in his ongoing dispute with his former girlfriend, Amber Buck, over custody of their son.

The new terms will allow the warrant to be entered into a national criminal information database accessible for all law enforcement agencies. Hill previously set a $25,000 cash bond for Cadena.   

Cadena will have the option of fighting extradition, a process that would further delay his transfer to Illinois.

The family court proceedings relate to a petition filed by Cadena in 2014 seeking custody of the child. Cadena has alleged the boy was physically and emotionally abused during the time he was with his mother. Buck is on probation on drug charges.

Cadena's efforts to have the family court case transferred to Massachusetts where he has been living since he left Illinois with the boy in March 2017 have been unsuccessful.

In a recent ruling, a Massachusetts court denied the father's request to transfer jurisdiction from Illinois on an emergency basis to protect the child from the threat of abuse.

As part of her ruling to bring Cadena back to Illinois, Hill awarded custody of the boy to Buck while the case is pending. The mother traveled to Massachusetts in June to pick up her son, but returned without him because a judge there took the jurisdictional issue under advisement.

Buck's attorney, Tristan Bullington, said after Thursday's hearing that "Amber will continue to take the appropriate steps to ensure Mikey returns to Illinois safely." 

Future hearings to determine what is in the child's best interests will be handled by another judge, who will be assigned the case because of Hill's December retirement.

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Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny

McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.