Judge Lisa Millard
Typically, when a child support story makes the news it’s because a parent has fallen way behind on their payments and is headed to jail as a result. But Houston man Clifford Hall has more than enough time and money to provide for his son, and is still being sent to jail for six months.
According to Hall’s attorney, the man wasn’t informed when his child support payments were modified.
"I discovered for some reason his employer was withholding a large amount some weeks a small amount some weeks a zero amount some weeks," attorney Tyesha Elam said. Once the problem was discovered, Hall found he owed approximately $3,000 in child support.
Not one to shy away from his duties as a father, Hall immediately paid off everything he owed.
"I'm his father it's my responsibility to take care of him," Hall said.
When Hall and his child’s mother were in court last week, it was verified that he was completely up to date on child support payments.
"Opposing counsel testified twice that he's all paid up," Elam said.
So, the whole situation is resolved, right? Wrong.
The attorney representing the child’s mother wanted Hall to pay her an additional $3,000 in legal fees. Presiding Judge Lisa Millard agreed, despite the fact that the entire payment mixup looks to be a failure on the court’s behalf and not Hall’s.
On top of this, Judge Millard ruled that Hall was visiting his son outside of designated visiting hours. Hall said this was news to him, as he and the mother’s child were following the same agreed upon schedule they had been for months. At the close of the hearing, Judge Millard sentenced Hall to six months in jail.
"When she said I remand you to the Harris County Jail for 180 days my mouth just dropped," Hall said. “I can’t be there for my son in jail. I can’t pay child support in jail. This is not in the best interest of the child.”
While Hall plans to soon turn himself in, his attorney is working on an appeal. Elam is hopeful that once Judge Millard re-hears the case she will see that the blame in this situation shouldn’t be place on Hall. Community activist Quannell X has taken interest in drawing attention to the case as well.
"This entire situation is shocking to me," X said. "I've never seen one like this. The court failed the child. The court failed Mr. Hall. The system broke.”