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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. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  2. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  3. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  4. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  5. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

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