A warrant was issued for a woman’s arrest because her child missed school, but the child is not hers and she’s having to go to court to fight it.
Michelle Gonzalez is the proud mother of a freshman daughter who lives on the west side of town. All the way on the far south side of San Antonio, there's a different Michelle Gonzalez with a son. That boy missed a lot of school in 2011. His mom was issued a notice to appear in court. She didn't. Eventually, it turned into a fine, followed by a warrant.
Six years later, Michelle, with a daughter, was surprised to open a letter informing her that she had a warrant out for her arrest for being a no-show in court for a truancy case of a boy who's not her son. Michelle thought it’d be an easy fix, and she went down to the court with her daughter’s birth certificate and other official documents proving she only has a daughter.
She says that the court didn't want to hear her out, so she pleaded not guilty, paid a bond to make the warrant go away, and was forced to hire a lawyer.
“I've been crying every day,” Gonzalez said. “This is an emotional roller coaster every single day. I cannot believe that the system would pin a child on you without any kind of concrete evidence.”
Her lawyer says the justice of the peace, who originally issued the citation, lost track of the real Michelle with the son. Eventually, the case was turned over the law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. The firm is hired by the county to find Bexar County residents who have unpaid, outstanding citations.
“[The law firm] indicated that they had made a mistake,” lawyer Augustin Arredondo, Jr. said. “They had received a bad skip trace. That's where they attempt to try and find the guilty party through a background check and other resources, but that there were a lot of Michelle Gonzalezes and they just picked this one.”
Neither the law firm nor the court replied to KENS 5’s request for comment.
“They just pulled your name out of hat and this is your kid,” Michelle said. “What if I didn't have money for a lawyer? Am I going to be sitting in jail by Friday? I don't understand how the system works. Who does this? Who is in charge of this?”
Michelle has a court appearance on Friday. She will appear with her lawyer in the hopes of getting the case dismissed.
(© 2017 KENS)