“How can you start a case with a lie? The mom lied. The process server lied. Now I have to pay for it.”
In 1987 a young woman gave birth to a child. In order to get welfare funds from the government she was obliged to fill out a form indicating who the father of her child was. She named Carnell Alexander as her child’s father.
She then filed a court action alleging he was the father and sought child support.
A process server was hired to personally deliver the court documents to him, as was required by law.
A court hearing took place but Carnell Alexander wasn’t there. He was in jail serving time for a juvenile offence.
Later in the early 90’s Carnell was checked in a routine traffic stop and advised there was a warrant for his arrest. The police officer told him he was a “deadbeat dad”.
You can imagine his surprise…he had never received notice of the paternity hearing as he was behind bars at the time, and he swore he had no children.
He began searching for the woman who had named him as father so he could prove he was not, through DNA testing, but his efforts failed until 2013 when a paternity test was administered.
With his grade 8 education and no assets or income, he could not afford a lawyer, but each occasion he went to court he repeated the refrain that he was not the child’s father.
But the government wanted him to pay arrears of child support of $30,000, so he showed up in court on his own expecting that justice would prevail. Boy, was he wrong!
Judge Kathleen McCarthy said she was “outraged that Mr. Alexander for two and a half decades failed to take this matter seriously.”
She said that Mr. Alexander should have filed documents protesting paternity years ago and because he did not, he must pay the support.
Yes, even though he had no notice, was not the father, and the child’s biological father was in his life, he must pay.
Feeling helpless, Mr. Alexander went to Michigan radio station WXYZ who broadcast his story.
And yes, Judge McCarthy was outraged about that too saying:
“I am outraged at the media for the willful misrepresentations of the facts of this case. Casting this court in a negative light.”
Due to the media exposure Carnell Alexander now has a pro bono lawyer, Cherika Harris, who has vowed to continue the fight for him.
As for Judge McCarthy, it is not the radio station that has cast a negative light on her court. She did that all on her own.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang