Mr. Hatley, a man who erroneously believed that he was the father of a child who was birthed in 1986, paid 13 years of child support for that child until DNA tests proved that he was not the father. Mr. Hatley, who is said to be a hard working and honest man, stepped into a legal quagmire although he was obviously the one wronged by the afore stated predicament.
The mother of the son, who was thought to be Hatley's until DNA evidence proved otherwise, filed for public assistance for her son in 1988 in the state of Georgia. The law of Georgia, allows the state to pursue the non-custodial parent (in this case Mr. Hatley was erroneously considered the "non-custodial parent") to reimburse the state for any monies rendered for assistance.
Despite acknowledging (in 2000) that Mr. Hatley had paid child support for over a decade for a child he didn't father, the court ordered that Mr. Hatley pay the state more than $16,000 as a reimbursement for the public assistance.
According to CNN: "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."
Despite the injustice of the situation, Mr. Hatley complied with the payments. However when Mr. Hatley became unemployed in 2006, he was unable to make the payments. The "justice" system incarcerated him for 6 months for failure to make payments. He was jailed for another 6 months in 2008, when he was unable to make payments due to a job loss and homelessness.
The ridiculousness of this case is appalling. The system spent taxpayers money to legally bid and incarcerate a man who paid child support for a child he never bore.