By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


Please be seated. Hello, Your Honor. Hello. This is the case of
Allen v. Toliver.
Thank you, Jerome.
Good day, everyone. AUDIENCE: Good day. Ms. Allen… You claim the defendant
got you pregnant and now refuses
to do anything for your two-year old
daughter, Novella,who’s been diagnosed
with severe allergies,
leaving you in financial
and emotional distress.
You claim today’s
DNA test will prove
that he is Novella’s father and you need him
to step up. Yes, Your Honor. Mr. Toliver, you
and your girlfriend say you are 100% certain
you are not her child’s
biological father and have evidence
to support your claim. Ms. Allen, what has he
done for your daughter? Absolutely nothing,
Your Honor. Nothing? Nothing. JUDGE LAKE: Wow. TOLIVER: Well… Has he paid any
child support at all? No, Your Honor. Been involved
in her life? No, Your Honor. Come to visit her? No, Your Honor. I have several reasons that I can prove
that I’m not the father. How? TOLIVER: Well, I mean… What can you prove? TOLIVER: I’ve tried to get
her to do a DNA test. For instance,
just the other day, says she’s not
gonna do the test. JUDGE LAKE: Really? Yeah. Have you been avoiding
the test, Ms. Allen? Um, no, I have not
been avoiding the test. Why haven’t you taken it
if he’s volunteering? ALLEN: Um,
he’s the reason why. I, honestly, did not
want to go take a test
by myself, with him. And he don’t
wanna be around
my family. Wait a minute.
Now, you laid down
by yourself with him. Now you can’t go
and get a DNA test
by yourself? I just don’t feel… I’ve never heard of such. I just don’t feel
comfortable around him. But you don’t have to be
present at the same time
to get the DNA testing done. She texts him saying
that she misses him, and you know,
I accidentally saw that. It was on Facebook
Messenger, um,
that she missed him. So I don’t know where
she’s getting this… She doesn’t wanna
be with him, you know, it confuses
me too, so… TOLIVER: Whenever
she breaks up or has
a fight with a boyfriend, she comes back
to me, with… Acting like she wants
to get back with me. She loves me,
and she misses me, but then, when she’s
in a relationship, I don’t hear
anything from her. Wait, let me just
go back first. Before we jump into this, I wanna make sure
I understand. You two were in a sexual
relationship at some point. Am I correct? Yes. Was it during the window
of time that Novella
was conceived? TOLIVER: Yes, ma’am. How long were
you together? Just a couple
of months. Not long. It wasn’t a steady
relationship. We weren’t… JUDGE LAKE: So you
weren’t committed? Yeah, we was committed. We’d see each other
on the weekends,
every now and again. It’s not like we were… No. We were living
in different counties. And so… Well, you know, you can get someone
pregnant that lives
in a different county. (LAUGHTER) Yeah. But were you using protection
every time you were… No, ma’am. JUDGE LAKE: Okay. Okay, but how we met,
we met on a dating site. And, we… You know,
we had intercourse
the first night we met. She also told me… JUDGE LAKE:
Did you use protection? No, ma’am. But she told
me that the day before that, that her ex-boyfriend
she just broke up with, they had intercourse
that night. No, I did not
tell you that. Okay, that’s
what you said. No. Okay, so the day
you met her, she says, “I had intercourse
with my boyfriend, “my ex-boyfriend,
last night,” and then you had intercourse
with her that night. Yes, we were having
drinks and talking, and I don’t wanna
hear about that. I don’t wanna
hear who you… (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) …had sex with,
but, I mean… You know, I mean… Alcohol does that,
alcohol opens people up,
it’s what she told me. And, I mean, the first night
we met, you know, we had sex, you know? I’ve heard that I’m not
the only one that she’s
been like that with. JUDGE LAKE: I understand,
but, Mr. Toliver, you do understand
that if you were
one of them, then you were one
of the possible fathers. TOLIVER: Yes, but, I mean… JUDGE LAKE: Well,
let me ask you this. If you’ve been informed
that you possibly are this beautiful child’s
biological father, why is it you aren’t
pursuing the test, or pursuing some
form of relationship
with this child? TOLIVER: I need to know
if it’s mine or not. She’s given me every reason
to believe it’s not mine. JUDGE LAKE:
So your thing is,
“The buck stops here “until I figure out
whether or not
I am the father.” You don’t feel
like you wanna
invest any time getting to know the child… TOLIVER: No, it’s not that. Well, what is it then?
It’s been two years. I mean, look, okay. She’s told me
over the text messages
and phone calls that, “This other guy here, “this is gonna be
Novella’s father.” Wait, wait, wait.
When did that come out? TOLIVER: This was when
she was in the hospital. The guy in the hospital… With her. JUDGE LAKE: Let me
see those please, Jerome. And supposedly,
you know, that’s… She’s saying…
And it’s on
the Facebook. What are these pictures
of, Mr. Toliver? TOLIVER: That’s Ms. Allen
with the guy she was seeing
at the time that she’s… JUDGE LAKE:So this is her
in the hospital, having birth,
and that’s the man there,
on the phone, in the corner.
TOLIVER:Her boyfriend, or…She’s telling me
that that’s gonna be
Novella’s father.
JUDGE LAKE:When did
she tell you this?
Right after the pregnancy. JUDGE LAKE: So you
weren’t there on this day, the day she delivered? No, ma’am. JUDGE LAKE: Were you invited? No, ma’am. TOLIVER: How was I invited?
Was she gonna invite
me and him? I mean, that makes no sense. Um, I told you that he did not have
to be in the delivery room, that you could be in there. TOLIVER: No, you… ALLEN: Yes, I did. So wait a minute
now, Ms. Allen. You admit that you
had moved on and started dating
this gentleman? ALLEN: Yes. And you invited him
to the birth of Novella. ALLEN: Yes. Was he with you
during the pregnancy? When we got together,
when I was three
months pregnant, he was there the whole time. JUDGE LAKE: He was
there the whole time. Yes. You told Mr. Toliver that
this is Novella’s father, or he used the words,
“This is going to be
Novella’s father.” ALLEN:I told him that
he was gonna raise her.
So your contention is that
what you truly said was, “This is gonna
be her dad,” meaning, “Since
you’re not around, “and you don’t
wanna be involved, “I’m gonna make
this guy her father.” Yes. You took that to mean,
Mr. Toliver, that it was a potential
that he actually was
her biological father. I believe it could be, because she said
that he’s the daddy.“This is her true
father,” whatever.
I mean, I have a message
on Facebook here where he’s claiming her
as his little girl, you know. JUDGE LAKE: This piece
of evidence is what,
a picture of… TOLIVER: That’s the guy that
she was seeing at the time
with Novella.You know, as in claiming
it’s his daughter.
(JUDGE LAKE READING SCREEN) JUDGE LAKE: So let me
ask you this. Do you believe
that this gentleman is potentially Novella’s
biological father, or do you feel
like this is just
someone she’s using to get back at you? I don’t know,
it just seems to me like that’s a very
good chance, that he
is the father. When you got pregnant,
were you dating anyone
else at the time? No, Your Honor. Did you call Mr. Toliver
and tell him
you were pregnant? ALLEN: Yes, I did. What was his response? I called him when I was
in the doctor’s office,
told him I was pregnant. And his basic response was,
it was not his problem,
it was my problem. I said… I asked her
who the father was,
is what I told her. I said, “You need to find
out who the father is.” JUDGE LAKE: And what
was the answer? She just said that it’s mine.
She said I was the father. But it’s only when
she’s getting in a fight
with her boyfriend, or breaking up
with a boyfriend, that she come to me
and want me back
or this and that. Is that true, Ms. Allen? Do you just come
back around after you
broke up with somebody? No. Do you consistently press and try to establish
a relationship between
Mr. Toliver and Novella? Yes. JUDGE LAKE:
How have you done that? I have constantly tried
to get a hold of him. I’ve even asked
if he wanted to
come see her. And it’s always,
he’s too busy. You don’t have a way. I don’t have
a driver’s license, I can’t just up and drive
to Pelham, Georgia. Mr. Toliver, have you
ever met Novella?She’s two now.TOLIVER:No, ma’am.JUDGE LAKE:You never
met her? Two years?
TOLIVER:No, ma’am.I know, but if she
was really mine, she would want
to have this test done
from the beginning. It’s just wrong to…
I think it’s just wrong to toss a kid
around like that. She needs to find out
who the real father is, and she should have
done it in the beginning,
that’s how I feel. I mean, if she
would give me proof that I am the father,
then it’d be totally
different. But I can’t just
change my life because an ex-girlfriend
calls and tells me, “I’m pregnant
with your baby, “so you’re the father,
you need to do this.” And she said she don’t want
money or anything from me. She wants me to be
in their lives. Not just Novella’s life,
but their lives. So that’s why I feel like
she’s trying to get me back
by using the baby. Her ex-boyfriends,
from what I understand,
and the ones I’ve seen, are losers, more or less. I have a decent job,
I’m mean, I’m a pretty
good guy. I’m one of the better
candidates that she’s dated. And that’s what
I feel like she is… (SCOFFS AND LAUGHS) …trying to use that as… No. No. Use the baby as, well… (ALLEN LAUGHS) TOLIVER: You know? And, I mean, I have a life. I can’t change my life
just to make her happy, because this is
what she wants. So, Ms. Allen,
I have to ask you this. In your court papers,
you indicate that Novella has
severe allergies. Yes. JUDGE LAKE: And that’s
one of the reasons why you desperately
want to find, or have Mr. Toliver
identified as her
biological father.You need help.ALLEN:Yes, I do need help.JUDGE LAKE:Explain.ALLEN:She has
allergy problems.
I’m constantly going
back and forth to the
doctors with her.
She’s allergic to just
about anything you
can be allergic to. Pecans, pine trees, oak trees, apples, rice. You name it,
she’s allergic to it. There is no medical history of any kind of allergy
problems in my family,
whatsoever. Of anything. I mean… Nobody in my family
is even allergic
to poison ivy, which you got…
(STAMMERING) JUDGE LAKE:So wait.
The fact that she has
these allergies,
I mean, this is financially
and emotionally taxing on you,
I’m sure. Yes, it is. JUDGE LAKE: And you’re
taking care of her, and getting her back
and forth to her doctors. Yes. All by yourself. Yes, I am. Your Honor, I wanna
get this test done.
I wanna find out. Everybody needs to know,
you know? I need to know,
she needs to know, we need to know,
for the benefit
of the baby. But, you know,
it’s never just,
“Be in the baby’s life.” It’s, “Be in our lives.” I never said,
“Be in our lives,” ’cause I don’t want
you in our life. I want you in our
daughter’s life. You hear that, Mr. Toliver? TOLIVER: Yes, ma’am… Do you believe that
when she says it,
or do you think she’s… No, because I’ve been
going through this
for two years. On and off, for two years,
every couple of months. I really don’t, I don’t
want you in my life, I want you in
my daughter’s life. And, Ms. Bole, you’re in a relationship
with Mr. Toliver? BOLE: Yes, I am. And how do you
deal with all this? I mean, if it’s not
his daughter,
so that’s fine. But if it is his daughter,
I’m gonna act… You know, be like
a stepmom, I guess
you could say. I’ll take care of her.
I’ll make her happy, you know,
like it’s my child. So, I mean… But this
has got to come to an end. TOLIVER: She’s seen
the message. She picked my phone
up the other day and saw a message
from Ms. Allen saying how she missed me, and loved me,
and wanted to be back
with me and all this. It got me in trouble for it. I didn’t even see
the message she has. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) She got mad at me
for reading a message
from her. Are you enjoying this
a little bit, Mr. Toliver? You say you don’t want it, but do you enjoy the fact that she can’t seem
to completely move on
from you? No, I would love… Because you’re entertaining
this a lot. Well, I’m just trying
to make my point here that she’s using the baby
to try to get back with me. So in your court papers,
one of your major
pieces of doubt… Is that you say no one
in your family has allergies. None whatsoever. I just have one
question though, and I’d like to speak
to a medical expert
we have here. Jerome, would you
please escort Dr. Jameelah Gater
into the courtroom? I’d like to ask her… Yes. …a question or two
about this allergy issue. Just gonna have you go
up to the witness stand. Okay. Hi, Doctor. Hi. Thank you for being here. Thank you. So, Doctor, we’re
having a discussion concerning a beautiful baby,
Novella’s paternity. And we have heard testimony that suggests that she suffers
from extreme allergies. Mr. Toliver contends
he does not believe he can be her
biological father. He says he doesn’t
have allergies, he says nobody in his
family has allergies. And he says,
for this reason, he believes he could not be
Novella’s biological father. So I wanna know from you,if a child is born,
first and foremost,
with allergies,
does this cause
further complications? Asthma, things like this. Are these things you
can trace to heredity? GATER: Yes, so asthma
is definitely related
to allergies. About 65% of asthma
is allergic asthma. And that happens
when you breathe in air, and then the body actually
has an overreaction to it, or a hypersensitive reactionand causes difficulty
with breathing.
JUDGE LAKE:Okay.And so is this passed down
through the families? Is this hereditary? So it’s interesting, allergies and asthma
are actually not genetic. What can be inherited
and can be passed down
is something called “atopy.” An atopy is basically
the tendency of the
immune system to overreact to things
in the environment. So, in Novella’s case,
we’ve got a list here where she’s allergic to,
you know, apples, pine trees,
cat, oatmeal, eggs.All of these different things
that she’s allergic to,
and the way that
things are inherited, the parent, per se,
whether it’s the father
or the mother, isn’t necessarily going
to be allergic to those
exact same things. So what can be passed on is just the tendency
or the potential
to have reactions, and that could be broad,
from allergies to asthma
to eczema. JUDGE LAKE: Hmm.
So it’s hard for us
to drop a thumbnail and say,“Oh, you know what?
Because of these allergies,
“her father is…” GATER: Exactly. We can’t do that. No. JUDGE LAKE: That’s what
I needed to know. So, Mr. Toliver,
your argument just went
on out the window here with Dr. Gater. My argument was
the way she’s been… (AUDIENCE CHUCKLES) You know, not willing
to do the DNA test. But part of your argument was
that you don’t have allergies, and no one in your
family has them. Contributed to your doubt. But that’s because
she told me that… Told me that the baby
had allergies and they had to come
from my side of the family. I’ve told you, I’m not sure
how the allergy thing works, but my reason for doubt
is, for two years now that we’ve been going
on this DNA test, and it’s not happening,
she won’t do it. I mean, reason
after reason… Well… The good news is, is this court
has administered
the DNA testing… And I have the results. Oh. Jerome? Thank you. JEROME: You’re welcome. These results were prepared
by DNA Diagnostics and
they read as follows. In the case of
Allen v. Toliver,
when it comes to
two-year-old
Novella Allen, it has been determined
by this court, Mr. Toliver, you… Are her father. Okay. (APPLAUSE) JUDGE LAKE: Are you happy? Little bit, yes, ma’am. Just a little happy? (TOLIVER CHUCKLES) I mean, I’ve always
wanted a kid, but the other thing is
that, I mean… Now, I want Rachel
to understand this. I’m gonna be
in the baby’s life, but… You know, I know you said
you’re over me, but… We’re done with the going
back and forth, okay? Yeah, I’m in
a serious relationship.
I don’t want you. TOLIVER: That’s good.
That’s what… Just wanna make sure
we’re on the same page
on that. Me and Brittany are going… You know, we’re trying
to go somewhere
with our relationship. She’s gonna be part
of Novella’s life too. That’s fine. But, I mean… I don’t really know
who she is. This is my first time
ever seeing her, so I’ll have to get
to know her. That’s fine,
that’s understandable.
I wouldn’t ask you to… Okay, family,
so we’re going places. TOLIVER: Yeah. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) JUDGE LAKE: No, I like it. I just sat back and listened
to the dialog, and I like it. At the end of the day, it’s wonderful that you
found it in your hearts
to be here, because now,
we’ve cleared this out. And Novella has her father, she has her mother, and she even has
another woman who is gonna be there
to help raise her,
and be a part of her village. So I want you all
to talk to our counselor,
talk to Dr. Jeff, and figure out
how you start
going forward. All right? I will, I will. All right. I wish you
the very best of luck. Court is adjourned. (APPLAUSE)


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