Man Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail Because of Clerical Error

| by Lina Batarags

A Houston father has to spend six months in jail after his employer made a clerical error that resulted in the father’s child support bills going unpaid for six months.

Clifford Hall had set up the payments be processed automatically.

Hall allegedly didn’t even know the payments had been neglected until 2013, when his ex-wife sued him.

CBS reports that after the mistake was noted, Hall paid his ex-wife the more than $3,000 he owed her, plus an extra $1,000.

“The money was withheld from me, they didn’t send it off for some strange reason,” Hall told KHOU.

Even though Hall’s employer admitted to having made the clerical error that caused Hall to accidentally neglect the payments, the court stuck with its initial decision: Hall would have to serve time in jail.

Texas law permits judges to issue jail time to anyone who is late in paying child support – even if he/she has paid the owed balance by the time the hearing takes place.

“The law says you can [no] longer cure an error with payment,” Hall’s appeals attorney Tyesha Elam said. “The judge has the discretion to send you to jail.”

Elam added that the money has to be delivered by the first of the month.

In addition to not delivering child care payments on time, Hall was also reportedly accused of violating a visitation schedule by keeping his 12-year-old son away from his mother longer than was permitted.

“It’s not me I’m really worried about: it’s him,” Hall said of his son.

“How is he going to be for the next six months? I can’t live not knowing am I going to jail today? Am I going to jail tomorrow? I want to get it over with,” he added.

Hall turned himself in to serve his sentence, bidding his son a tearful goodbye and promising the boy that he was “gonna fix it.”

Now, Hall’s attorneys have said that they believe the law should require that parents who are behind on child care payments to be notified before they are sued.

KHOU reports that while Hall serves his sentence, his lawyers will appeal the case in federal court.

Hall, for his part, quietly said that he does not want visits from his son while he serves his time, and that he hopes other fathers can “please learn from my experience.”

Sources: The Blaze, CBS Houston

Photo Source: The Blaze