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Divided high court affirms DNA unnecessary to establish paternity

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Indiana Supreme Court justices split 3-2 in affirming that DNA evidence is not required to establish paternity.

Justices issued a published order Thursday in In RE the Paternity of I.B.: K.H. v. I.B., b/n/f L.B., 34A02-1305-JP-401, denying transfer of a Howard Circuit ruling affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The order ends the appeal.

The Supreme Court held oral argument on whether to accept the appeal of K.H., who argued that the trial court lacked sufficient evidence to prove that he is the biological father. The court also ordered K.H. to pay child support after issuing findings that “provided by a preponderance of evidence, if not clearly and convincingly that … K.H. is the biological father of I.B.”

The child was born after mother L.B.’s marriage to C.B. dissolved, and both stipulated that C.B. was not I.B.’s father. K.H. appealed, arguing the trial court erred in concluding that L.B. had rebutted the statutory presumption that C.B. is I.B’s father in the absence of DNA evidence.

Justices Steven David, Mark Massa and Robert Rucker formed the majority that ordered to deny transfer of K.H.’s appeal without opinion, but Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote a dissent joined by Justice Loretta Rush.

“I respectfully dissent from the denial of transfer and would prefer for this Court to address whether DNA evidence should be required whenever a child may face the risk of losing the presumption of being the biological child of the birth mother’s husband,” Dickson wrote.

“I believe that in any proceeding in which the presumption of biological paternity is potentially impinged, DNA testing, if available, should be mandatory as the exclusive way of providing conclusive, direct, clear, and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption,” he wrote. “Without supporting DNA genetic evidence, courts should not make any judicial determination that a child’s biological father is someone other than the biological mother’s husband when the child was born. Nothing less should suffice.

“I would grant transfer so that this Court can consider adopting this new evidentiary requirement,” Dickson wrote.

 

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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