AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Joe Chavez had his civil debt forgiven after a child support case, but his criminal record remains.
To understand how Chavez got to this point, you need to go back to 1993 when he was incarcerated on drug charges.
During his time in prison, his wife at the time was collecting Chavez's disability checks, totaling more than $68,000. Chavez's wife filed for divorce in 1995, one year before he was released.
In the divorce agreement, Chavez was scheduled to pay $250 per month in child support. Unfortunately for Chavez, his ex-wife cashed the disability checks and kept the money, which Chavez thought would cover the child support payments.
In 2000 Chavez was tried and charged in Randall County for criminal non-support. He was given the maximum sentence of two years in prison, partially because of his prior drug conviction.
After he was released, Chavez said he paid child support in both Potter and Randall Counties, which means he was overpaying. Randall County eventually relinquished the child support payments. However, his criminal record still remains.
"They kicked out the child support that I owed Randall County, well they kicked that case out for lack of jurisdiction," said Chavez. "If they kicked that case out, why wasn't my criminal case kicked out with it?"
The First Assistant District Attorney in Randall County spoke with NewsChannel10 and told us any miscues in payment method do not change the courts ruling on the criminal charges Mr. Chavez was convicted of.
"He may be forgiven of his civil debt, but it does not have an impact on his actions of April 1998, when he was accused of failing to pay child support for his dependence," said First Assistant District Attorney Robert Love, who tried Chavez in 2000.
The state of Texas has since updated how child support payments are made. Rather than pay to individual counties, there is now one clearing house in San Antonio that collects all payments.
Unfortunately for Mr. Chavez, unless he is granted a pardon or clemency, his criminal record will remain.