18 Feb 2015

Judge says man must pay $30K in child support for kid who is not his

It is a story that inspired outrage.
Carnell Alexander says he got a shock during a traffic stop in Detroit in the early 1990s. The officer told him he is a deadbeat dad, and that he was under arrest.
The problem? Carnell didn’t have any kids.
He’d been made dad by default after an ex listed him as father when applying for welfare benefits. According to documents filed with the court, a process server claimed to have given Carnell Alexander, in person, a notice of hearing at a house he once lived at.  It is something that wasn’t possible.  Carnell wasn’t at that house on the date he was allegedly served.  He was incarcerated for a crime he committed as a young man.
“How can you start a case with a lie?” asked Carnell.  “The mom lied.  The process server lied.  Now I have to pay for it."
On Tuesday,  he went to the Third Judicial Circuit Court, hoping a judge would fix it.
Instead, his story inspired a different kind of outrage.
“I am outraged that Mr. Alexander for two and a half decades failed to take this matter seriously,” said Judge Kathleen McCarthy. 
Judge McCarthy described how he had been to court more than a dozen times over the years. She ruled that Carnell Alexander should have filed a motion to set aside the acknowledgement of parentage long ago.
“That motion must be filed within 3 years after the child’s birth, or within one year after the order of filiation is entered.  The defendant has failed to timely file this motion setting aside the acknowledgement of parentage,” said Judge McCarthy.
Because this case is now more than two and a half decades old, the judge ruled Alexander must pay.  She said he did not argue against owing this money in the past. 
Carnell Alexander says there is a good reason for him not filing that motion.  For one, he says when he learned he was allegedly a father, he had just gotten out of prison.  He had no income and no savings.  He has an eighth grade education.  He could not find a lawyer to help him. He was on his own. He says while he may not have filed a certain motion required by the bureaucratic court system, he did make sure Friend of the Court workers and judges on the case knew he was not this child’s father, had never been in the child’s life, and didn’t want to be held responsible.
“Every court appearance that she said I made, I made it clear to them I was not the father of this child,” said Alexander.
Carnell says when he first learned of the case against him,  the court gave him an old address for the mother who claimed he had fathered a child.  He went there hoping to get a DNA test to prove his story.  She didn’t live there.  He says the court told him it could not help him in any other way to locate the mother who said he was the father. He spent a lot of time looking for her over the years, but failed until 2013.  Once he had proof, he again tried to prove his case.
“Somebody should have helped him,” said his current attorney Cherika Harris. “To continue to harass and burden him to pay for a child that is not his, when they know who the real father is now, I don’t understand this.”
The real father has been in the life of the now adult child, unlike Carnell.
Cherika Harris took on Carnell’s case pro-bono after learning about it on Seven Action News.  As a result she was also surprised when the judge, while on the record, criticized our reporting.
“I am outraged at the media for the willful misrepresentations of the facts of this case,” said Judge McCarthy.  “Casting this court in a negative light.” 
The attorney who has volunteered hours of work for this case due to our reporting said she doesn’t see any misrepresentations.
“I just want to thank you for bringing this story forward,” said Harris, the attorney who has volunteered hours of work on this case without pay. “All you reported is factual.”
She says she took on this case because it is about more than money for child support.  It is about Carnell’s constitutional rights and freedom.
She says she is relieved the attorney general recently dropped a warrant for Carnell’s arrest because he had not paid child support.  She thought that would help her effort to erase the debt he owes for a child that is not his.  Though court did not go as she hoped on Tuesday, and he still owes more than $30,000 in child support, she says she will file other motions. 


  1. Assuming the facts are reported correctly in this article, we have here clear proof that only idiots still think that our courts dispense justice.

    If you are a just person, ask yourself..."how should a just person react to an unjust system?"

  2. And women will tell you with a straight face that feminism is about equality.

  3. This is unbelievable, but in our crazy world, it's predictable. I know of similar outrageous cases of women ruining men's lives through similar processes. I have a dear friend that went to prison because his crazy girlfriend was arrested for beating him with a candle stick...he had friends present, who witnessed the entire event, and he wasn't arrested (a miracle, because in California, many men are arrested for being hit by women). The cops even wrote up the report properly. While the female was in psych ward lock down, she befriended a social worker, and convinced the social worker that she had been psychologically abused by my friend, so of course, all the charges against her were dropped, my friend was charged, one witness was charged with assault because he restrained the women from hitting my friend with the candle stick, and both were forced to make pleas. After that case, I lost faith in our system.

  4. So what's the answer? How does a just person react to an unjust system?

  5. Whatever happened to common sense? If the judge wanted to show outrage against someone, how about the server who lied about delivering the notice and the mother who lied about who was the father?

    America had 40,000 new laws come into effect in 2014 and people are expected to follow all of them. America has secret laws. They're expected to follow them, too. Then there's secret interpretations of laws that even the government can't know about. Citizens have to abide by them, too. Keep in mind that common sense or logic won't even help you know if you're a law abiding individual.

    The bottom line is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to follow the law in America. Everyone is a criminal according to the corrupt system in place. Police assume people are guilty and are now required to prove they are innocent. The country was founded on the principle of assumed innocence until proven guilty. That country is dead and there's something new in its place.

  6. It's pretty easy to cast your court in a negative light, "judge".

  7. "Perhaps it would be instructive to end this article with a simple but profound anecdote. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., one of the great justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, was listening to the argument of a young lawyer who mentioned at several points in his argument that his client sought justice before the court. Justice Holmes listened as long as he could and then said not unkindly, "Young man, let me remind you that this is a court of law and not a court of justice.""
    As Mao might have said "All justice comes from the barrel of a gun"

  8. Choose not to participate in it. Start by refusing to vote. All you do by voting is give your mandate to govern to whoever has been prechosen to "represent" you. Let the "winner" of the election claim they have a mandate from 10% of the population, which is probably about as close to the truth as it can get.