A Georgia man spent more than a year behind bars for failing to pay child support for a child that wasn't his, but he was released after DNA tests showed he wasn't the father.
Frank Hatley, 50, had been jailed since June 2008 for not making payments, but two separate DNA tests in the last nine years showed he was not the father of the boy, who is now 21, The Associated Press reports.
According to Reason Online, in a nutshell, Hatley had a relationship with a woman in the 1980s (they never married), she became pregnant, told him the child was his, then they broke up soon after the birth. When the mother applied for welfare in 1989, the state went after Hatley to reimburse the cost and pay regular child support going forward.
He complied, in part because he thought he was the father.
He paid almost $6,000 of that back, but then got fired, became homeless, fell behind in his payments, and got jailed for contempt. The state's Office of Child Support Services says, with sadness more than anger, that Hatley is "dealing with a valid court order," and that he has failed to make an official request to be relieved of his remaining obligations.
Latesha Bradley, an attorney who represented Hatley in that hearing, told CNN the argument for keeping Hatley liable for the back payments was that he had signed a consent agreement with the office of child support services. The court agreed that Hatley had to comply with the consent agreement for the period that he believed the boy was his son.