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Wrongly Convicted Man Sued for Child Support

Posted October 23, 2007
Updated October 24, 2007

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— A man who was pardoned after spending 18 years behind bars for a rape he didn't commit has been sued for child support for the years he was in prison.

Dwayne Allen Dail, 39, was cleared in August of the 1987 rape of a 12-year-old Goldsboro girl. The girl identified him as her attacker, and hair found at the scene was similar to his. DNA evidence found on a fragment of the girl's nightgown years after the trial proved Dail wasn't involved in the attack, however.

Gov. Mike Easley pardoned Dail two weeks ago, making him eligible to receive $360,000 from the state – $20,000 for each year he spent in prison.

Dail, who now lives in Florida, was served Tuesday with a lawsuit by Lorraine Michaels, the mother of his son, who is seeking back child support. The suit does not specify how much money she wants, as is normal in North Carolina, but asks a "reasonable sum for the care and maintenance of the minor child" for the years Dail was in prison.

"Since his release, Mr. Dail has not indicated any intention to provide support to Ms. Michaels," Michaels' attorney, Sarah Heekin, said in a statement. "In order to fully protect my client’s statutory rights, it was necessary to file an action for child support prior to the minor’s eighteenth birthday."

Dail said he was devastated by the suit. He said his son recently moved to Florida to live with him.

"I was thrown in prison. What could I do? I missed my whole life. I missed my son's whole life. I'm not the person to be compensating anyone for anything – not me," Dail said.

"I'm sure the mother had her issues over the years, but nothing like the issues that Dwayne Dail dealt with for 18½ years,” said Chris Mumma, the attorney who helped establish Dail’s innocence.

Heekin, who said she filed the suit last week, works in the same law office as Don Strickland, the former Wayne County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Dail for rape.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dougalu Oct 23, 2007

    Of Ms. Michaels' attorney, Sarah Heekin, I'm wondering what %percentage she's taking??????????????

  • happyncgurl Oct 23, 2007

    If i remember correctly.. I do not think she is entitled to anything because he has been incarcerated. Several years ago my ex husband was diagnosed with sarcoidosis and my case worker was trying to have his locked up for non payment of childsupport (contempt of a court order).. I called her and asked her to stop the child support for awhile bc he was in the hospital and she said then that the only thing (other than me going in front of a judge to ament the court order) that would keep him from being obligated to pay is if he were in jail.. I agree.. he should give her something.. (if she wasnt recieving help from the state) and then.. well like someone else said.. the state should pay her... not him.. and 20K for the years he's been locked up.. seriously.. how many people, since high school has made 20K a year??? they need to pay him more!!!

  • C_Felix Oct 23, 2007

    Chance wrote: This woman is due compensation as she has fully supported the child for the past 18 years. The law requires child support be split by a percentage based upon annual salary.

    Wasn't his income $0?

    Plus, its not like he's a dead beat that skipped town instead of paying support. The dude was in jail!

  • poohperson2000 Oct 23, 2007

    I am assuming the 380K was based on what he was projected to make for those 18 years (ouch!!). Not sure if you get pain and suffering in this case or if that is a different lawsuit.

  • sandlizzard12 Oct 23, 2007

    Isn't it logical to assume that child support per year would be based on his annual income for those years the child was under 18? Now that the kid is living with dad no support is due. BUT WHERE IS LOGIC WHEN IT COMES TO THE COURT SYSTEM? Hopefully he will go before a judge with common sense.

  • Pandoras Box Oct 23, 2007

    "Lawyers are bound by professional ethics that would prevent such a conflict of interest."

    I've worked in a law firm for over 7 years - ethics are not always a big part of law, and conflicts of interest happen all the time.

  • robbincasino Oct 23, 2007

    I have to totally agree with Chance! DOC made the mistake, let them pay her. I don't know about NC law, but in California, if the custodial parent received any help from the State (i.e. Welfare, food stamps) the State receives compensation first. Any left over will be sent to the custodial parent. I feel sorry for this guy. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt, that if he hadn't been falsely locked up for 18 years he probably would have provided for his child. I see her as nothing more than a money hungry ..... And yes, I use to be a single mom with 3 kids and a mortgage and a ex who decided when and what he would pay. But finally for me, the courts stepped in and made him do what he was suppose to do.

  • poohperson2000 Oct 23, 2007

    I am about to get attacked by single moms, but o'well. Why is it that there are so many single parents? I do believe that both parents have a responsibility in paying for their child, but I also think that many of these situations have risen out of reckless abandon. Divorce is easy these days, and casual sex is rampant (that makes me sound like a prude). I hope we are doing a better job of teaching our kids about the life long commitment you are making if you are getting married or having casual sex. In the case of casual sex, you might as well assume your luck will run out sometime, in that case your life long commitment is to your child.

  • brooksdewire Oct 23, 2007

    He owes nothing. If he has anything from the 18 years and wrongful conviction he deserves to use it as he sees fit. Pathetic attempt on someone's part to intervene in his long fought opportunity to start over. Give the man a fair chance.

  • -info- Oct 23, 2007

    pay her according to his annual income while in prison for those 18 years, so that should equal about 5 dollars a month based on what 17% of his income....