Texas Man Pays Child-Support Debt Yet Still Heads to Prison

Change.org is circulating a petition asking Gov. Rick Perry to lift all charges against Clifford Hall.

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Clifford Hall    

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Updated: Saturday, Jan. 11, 1:08 p.m. ET: A bizarre case involving a Texas man who was jailed for paying too much child support has the social media world abuzz. Change.org is urging people to sign a petition asking Gov. Rick Perry to lift all charges against Clifford Hall, who earlier this month was sentenced to six months in jail for overpaying child-support and spending too much time with his son.

Earlier:

Houston man is headed to jail for six months even though he paid his child-support debt, Fox 26 reports. 

Clifford Hall told the news station that he had no problem paying child support for his 11-year-old son.

"I'm his father; it's my responsibility to take care of him," Hall says. So he had the child-support payments set up to be taken from his check through his employer.

"I discovered for some reason his employer was withholding a large amount some weeks, a small amount some weeks, a zero amount some weeks," says Hall's attorney, Tyesha Elam.

At some point his child support was modified, and Hall claims that he was never notified. So Hall paid the almost $3,000 he owed in back child support. "I didn't want to go to jail basically," Hall says.

When Hall and his unidentified ex-wife were in Judge Lisa Millard's court last November, Hall didn't owe anything.

"Opposing counsel testified twice that he's all paid up," Elam told the news station.

Hall ex-wife's attorney requested that Hall pay her $3,000 legal bill, and the judge agreed. 

Court documents seen by the news station show that Hall also saw his child on days that didn't follow court-scheduled visitation.

Hall says that he was never informed of this modification either. "When she said, 'I remand you to the Harris County Jail for 180 days', my mouth just dropped," says Hall.

"The judge ended up sentencing him to six months in jail." Elam tells the news station.

"I'm like, he couldn't have gotten a worse result. He could have gone in there with a monkey and gotten a better result. What did I do that my client has over-paid, over-visited and is now paying $3,000 in attorney fees and is going to jail for six months?"

Community activist Quanell X thinks that the court system betrayed Hall and believes that the state's judicial board should investigate.

"This entire situation is shocking to me," Quanell X says. "The court failed the child. The court failed Mr. Hall. The system broke down."

Judge Millard told Fox 26 that she found Hall in contempt and that he walked out of the courtroom, which, she says, is a big no-no.

Hall's attorney is working on an appeal, but for now Hall is preparing to check himself into jail in a few days.

"I can't be there for my son in jail," Hall tells the news station. "I can't pay child support in jail. This is not in the best interest of the child."

Read more at Fox 26.

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