A Michigan man faces jail for failure to pay child support, although DNA tests have proven he is not the father.
Carnell Alexander owes more than $30,000 in unpaid child support, and he’s scheduled to go back before a judge next month to argue that he shouldn’t be held responsible, reported WXYZ-TV.
In the late 1980s, a former girlfriend listed Alexander’s name as the father of her child when she applied for welfare benefits.
Alexander was then obligated under Michigan law to pay child support, and the state claims that a process server notified him immediately about the money he owed.
But the Michigan Department of Corrections shows that Alexander was incarcerated when those papers were allegedly served.
Alexander said he didn’t find out about the state’s paternity action until 1991, when he was arrested during a traffic stop for failure to pay child support.
He took a paternity test at that point, which ruled him out as the child’s father, and he has been fighting the child support order for more than 20 years.
“I’m almost homeless, I’m almost in jail, I am out of work — my money is threatened to be taken,” Alexander said.
Attorney Cherika Harris has agreed to represent Alexander free of charge after learning about his case in a previous news report.
The judge agreed to delay a hearing scheduled for Friday so Harris could review the case.
Alexander said the law should be changed so that other men weren’t caught in the same situation that he’s in.
“We can be defaulted into being a father of a child that is not ours,” he said. “I don’t understand the law, but we do have that law in place.”
Watch this video report posted online by WXYZ-TV: