Frank Hatley has been sitting in a Georgia jail for over a year for failing to reimburse the state for all the public assistance his “son” over the past two decades. The problem is that the homeless man is not the father of the boy and both the Court and the prosecutors knew that he was no the biological father than they threw him in jail.
Hatley’s case reflects the often draconian bureaucratic system facing parents in disputes over child support. What is interesting is that, despite tests proving that he was not the biological father, Hatley continued to pay child support as ordered until he lost his job and became homeless. Even after living on the street, Hatley made some payments out of his public support checks.
Hatley has been in jail since June 25, 2008. His problems began when he had a relationship with Essie Lee Morrison in the 1980s, who had a baby boy and proclaimed Hatley the father. They were never married and broke up after the boy, Travon, was born in 1987. In 1989, Morrison filed for support from the state, which in turn sought reimbursement from Hadley.
In 2000, tests proven conclusively that Hatley was not the father. However, the system continued to treat him as the father and demanded payment or jail. He continued to comply with orders to pay support, even from his unemployment insurance.
He never filed to ask the state Office of Child Support Services to relieve him of his obligations. However, both prosecutors and the court knew he was not the father when he was jailed, according to reports. Georgia lawyer Charles Reddick, working as a special assistant state attorney general, wrote the order requiring Hatley to pay the outstanding $16,398 and Cook County Superior Court Judge Dane Perkins acknowledged in that Aug. 21, 2001 order that Hatley was not Travon’s father. No one seems to have felt any compulsion to take affirmative steps to rectify the situation. After the order, Hatley paid off another $6000 but then lost his job. Reddick then prepared another order and Perkins signed it: finding him in contempt and sending him to jail for not paying more.
Obviously, Hatley might have been able to file for a change with the Department. However, he is homeless and had little money. He had a history of trying to pay regardless of the fact that he should not have been required to pay anything in the first place. What is most disturbing is that lawyers and a judge did not seem to view this as their problem to address. Everyone was on autopilot in the case — issuing motions and orders without any appearance of concern over the obvious injustice to Hatley.
This case is not unique in the jailing of fathers for failing to support children of other men, here.
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26 thoughts on “Homeless Man Jailed for More Than a Year For Failing to Pay Child Support — Despite the Fact that the Court and Prosecutor Knew He Was Not the Biological Father”
What’s really sad about this whole thing is that someone figured out how to make money off of people in on of the most devastating times of their lives. I mean really, your marriage has ended with someone you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with….your emotionally drained…oh and by the way we are going to ATTACK Your finances for X amount of years to the tune of over half of your check every pay cycle. And if you lose your job and are unable to pay, we will take away your license and throw you in jail..ludicrous and insanity followed by absolute nonsense and buggery. How does this benefit anyone. Simple fact is it only benefits the Department of Child Support.. People who’s only purpose is to pour salt in the wound, twist the knife in your back and make you pay for the dissolution of your dream of happily ever after…here’s another snippet of cheerful news…these people get paid for it, it’s their chosen profession…SICK
Sad State: You’re not paranoid if there really is someone following you!
In this case, there really is a War Against Fathers. And it’s all about the profits to be made from collecting child support. Are you aware that the state of Georgia got $88,972,449 from the feds in FY 2010? California got over $1 BILLION. Part of the problem is that Georgia paid out $101,727,934 in collection expenses, plus the $30,000 it cost to keep this guy in jail. How many more guys are jailed like this? The bottom line is that the taxpayers are being screwed, and it happens like this in every state. The system was intended to lower the cost of welfare, but instead, it went up, WAY up. So there is no up-side to child support collections. It’s just a huge, Communistic, TRANSFER OF WEALTH program; an entitlement for women, to the detriment of fathers and children.
So the jailing of the homeless man means that the state has paid about $30,000 of the taxpayers’ money jailing the guy, but none of that money has gone for the betterment of that child — who was not his child anyway — so we have, as usual, a lose/lose situation. “BIG GOVERNMENT” that the candidates all ignore.
Child Support agencies are more, not less, corrupt than the other state agencies. What more need we say? They can convict people of anything not only without due process and without full faith and credit considerations, but they can operate outside the normal channels because they (a) can get bench warrants without criminal information; and (b) require a cash bond in the amount of the money CLAIMED before their “decisions” can be appealed. Oh, and they can do all this without any judges — just within agencies, using clerks of court to issue “process.” RICO
The states attorneys general are ALL behind this scam. It arises out of the loosey goosey “law” that forms what we fondly call “family court.”
Having a child out of wedlock use to be a criminal matter with the right to a trial by jury. Did he ever have a right to a trial by jury? Did she face fraud charges for naming the wrong man?
No Due Process. No proportionality. No burden of proof. Just a corrupt legal ‘system’.
Nine innocent go free lest one innocent suffer – Lord Blackstone.
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