The state is still after a Detroit man who has been ordered to pay $30,000 in back child support for a child he says is not his, a DNA test proves is not his and whose mother admits is not his child.
Carnell Alexander was back in court Friday to face a Detroit judge at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, fearing that he would be sent to prison. "I stayed up all night. Couldn't sleep thinking about it," Alexander told 7 Action News, which broke the story.
The judge in the case gave Alexander a reprieve of sorts, allowing the case to be postponed one month so that his new attorney, Cherika Harris, who has taken the case pro bono, will have enough time to get caught up.
To understand how Alexander found himself involved in such a mess, we must go back to the late '80s, when an ex-girlfriend had just had a baby. While applying for welfare, she was instructed that she had to list the child's father. She named Alexander as the father on state paperwork, and from that day, the state began building a case against Alexander, seeking restitution for the services that were provided to the child.
According to the news station, a process server noted that Alexander had been made aware of the state's inquiries, since he had been given papers at his Highland Park home.
One problem: This never happened.
The news station notes that on the day the processor claims to have given Alexander papers informing him of the state's interest, he was in prison for a crime he committed as a young man, and Michigan Department of Corrections records prove this.
In fact, Alexander told the news station that he didn't learn of the child support issues until he was pulled over in 1991 for a traffic violation and was arrested for being a deadbeat dad. Alexander has been on a one-man crusade for justice ever since.
"I'm almost homeless. I'm almost in jail. I am out of work. My money is threatened to be taken," Alexander told the news station.
Alexander told 7 Action News that no matter what happens, he cannot bring himself to pay money for a child a DNA test proves isn't his and he has no connection to. "I haven't even had a chance to speak to him except for one time when we took a DNA test," Alexander told the news station.
So for one month, Alexander can breathe a little easier. His hope is that this all gets sorted out and that no one after him will ever have to go through this.
"We can be defaulted into being a father of a child that is not ours," Alexander told the news station. "I don't understand the law, but we do have that law in place."