For more than two decades, a Detroit man has been fighting the state, which is requiring him to pay for a child he says he never had. Even after a paternity test proved he wasn't the father and the mother agreed, the court is still saying he owes $30,000.
WXYZ-TV reported that Carnell Alexander first learned of the child a woman claimed to be his in the 1990s when he was pulled over for a traffic violation.
“I knew I didn’t have a child, so I was kind of blown back,” Alexander told the news station when a cop told him of the warrant out for his arrest for failing to comply with a court order for child support.
Alexander sought a DNA test even after the court told him at the time it was "too late," and found it harder than he thought to get. Here's why:
It also was not easy to get a DNA test. Alexander didn't know where the woman was that had claimed he fathered a child. He only had an 8th-grade education, off-and-on employment at the time, and no money to hire help.
He asked the court for help, but the court couldn't help him in the way he was asking. Friend of the Court employees are not allowed to give legal advice.
Alexander explained to the judge and court again and again his situation. He says in hindsight, he didn't understand the formal legal steps necessary to make things right.
The news station reported that he eventually found someone who knew where the woman lived and got the necessary samples to conduct a paternity test, which ultimately confirmed he was not the child's father. What's more, he learned at the time that the child's biological father was actually a part of the child's life, WXYZ reported.
Still, decades later the court is saying Alexander owes money for refusing to sign a court summons delivered in the late 1980s. However, WXYZ found this wasn't the case because Alexander was in prison at the time, not at his dad's house where and when the summons was supposedly delivered. This meant, Alexander couldn't have signed it.
Even the woman who named Alexander as the father initially to sign up for welfare said she regrets the rigmarole he has been put through.
“Everything is my fault that I put him through," the woman, who was not named, told WXYZ. "I want everything to go away for him so he can go on with his life."
She even asked that the court not require him to pay her, which the court agreed to, but it said he still has to pay $30,000 back in welfare benefits to the state.
“We know this is not my child so let’s do what we need to do, what’s right,” he told the news station, refusing to pay this fee.
Watch WXYZ-TV's report on the odd situation: