HOUSTON - Clifford Hall is facing a contempt charge for failing to pay child support in a complicated case that has captured national attention.
He fights back tears as he faces the next six months in jail and the possibility of not seeing his 12-year-old son.
"It's not me I'm really worried about," he said. "It's him. 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."
According to his attorneys, Hall did fall behind and owed more than $3,000 in child support. But they claim the money was garnished not from his paycheck but his employer. The company did not submit the money to the court for his son and ex-wife to collect.
Hall eventually paid what was due plus an extra $1,000, but by that time a change in the law made it impossible for him to avoid jail time.
"The law says it was due on the first," attorney Tyesha Elam said. "You didn't pay it on the first, you can go to jail for six months."
Hall is also facing accusations that he did not follow a court-ordered visitation schedule and kept the mother away from his son longer than allowed.
The case was appealed to the 14th Court of Appeals. Hall was unsuccessful and was ordered to begin serving a jail sentence.
"My message today is in support of father's rights," Erika Watson said. "Hang in there. Get active, don't give up."
Hall hopes his story can become a cautionary tale.
"Fathers, please learn from my experience," he said.
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