Please be seated. Hello, Your Honor. Hello. This is the case
ofWhisler v. Frazier.Thank you, Jerome.
Good day, everyone. AUDIENCE: Good day! Mr. Whisler, you claim you
currently owe almost $21,000 in back child support… Yes, Your Honor. …for the defendant’s son,
a young man you believe may not be yours. Yes, Your Honor. You say your paycheck is
garnished each week, leaving you only $70. Yes, Your Honor. If today’s results
prove you are not the
young man’s father, you plan to return
to your home state to get this
enormous debt erased. Yes, Your Honor. Miss Frazier, you admit you’ve
always known the plaintiff may not be your
son’s biological father but acknowledge he’s been
held financially responsible
for him. Yes, Your Honor. Yet regardless of
whether or not
today’s results prove he’s the father, you say he really just
needs to get over it. Yes, Your Honor. WHISLER: No! Mr. Whisler… We’re here today to get this
settled once and for all. I’ve been waiting 18 years. Well, tell me why you
doubt paternity. Uh, because, Your Honor, uh,
we were in a relationship. In about 2000… Late 2005, she comes to me
and tells me she’s pregnant. And, uh,
I always ask her, “Are you for sure
it is mine?” You had doubts
from the beginning? Yes, ma’am.
I had a torsion. That, uh, you know,
the doctor said right there, “No, you’re unable
to have children.” So, the doctors told you
you weren’t… Yes, Your Honor. …able to have children
due to a medical condition? Yes, Your Honor. Okay. And, now,
I’ve got this bill, $21,000 they’re wanting me
to pay for somebody else. I never asked… I never asked
child support from you. I never asked them to get
child support from you ever. Uh… Never. Yes. You go down and take care
of this like a young lady. I went down there. You can
look at the paperwork. Uh, yeah. The paperwork always
said the other guy’s name. Uh-huh, yeah, okay. Well, we’re gonna
find out today. FRAZIER: That’s cool. We are going to find out
today the honest-to-god’s
truth. It’s been 18 years that I’ve
been living through this… (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) Excuse my language. JUDGE LAKE: Please be
respectful in the court, sir. So, Miss Frazier, when you
found out you were pregnant, did you tell Mr. Whisler
it was his child? I told him
I was pregnant and he told me
it wasn’t his. And the other guy
that you say you always put his
name on all the paperwork. All the paperwork. This other guy signed
the birth certificate? WHISLER: What about the birth
certificate? WHISLER: What about the
birth certificate? You wanted him to have
your last name. You told me… You told me
if I wanted that kid To have your last name. to have my last name… …and I wanted to claim him,
I would be there
for the birth. Yeah. And I was there. And I did it. That’s why he’s got
your last name. And then it come out
a little while later that you had been sleeping with
this other man all this time. At six months
you knew. Yeah, at six months
after birth… JUDGE LAKE: So… …after the fact. So, Mr. Whisler… Right? Yeah, and… WHISLER: And? You did sign the birth
certificate? That was wrong. I can’t
go on with my life now. You did sign the birth
certificate, am I correct? Yes, ma’am. Yes, Your Honor,
I did. And you claim that not until
the child was six months old were you told that
there could be a question regarding the paternity? Yes, Your Honor. JUDGE LAKE: So, take me back
to that time. How did she
tell you this? She told me
straight-up, yes, it could be
this other man’s. Because he was
proud to have a son and not denying it
like you. He should be standing up
if it’s his kid. He does. He should be
standing up for it. He did. Why am I liable to pay this over $21,000… I didn’t ask for that. … when I was working, I ain’t seen none
of that money. they was taking most
of my paycheck? Never given it to me.
I ain’t got no
child support one. You never received
any child support Never, nope. from the State
of Missouri? No. I think you are… Not one. JUDGE LAKE:
Hold on. Mr. Whisler… I have not. Mr. Whisler, (FRAZIER CHUCKLES) what is the evidence
you keep holding up? This? May I see that, please? A letter I received from
the child enforcement of the State
of Missouri just about
two weeks ago,
Your Honor. But they’re not
giving it to me. I’ve never received
child support. And, you know,
that just don’t add up. This letter from the State
of Missouri indicates total past-due
support $20,850.56. Yes, Your Honor. And I’ve paid
no telling how much already on this child. And so you say the other man
may be the father? Yes, Your Honor. So, did he ever
pay child support? No. I’ve never gotten any.
None at all. Were you receiving
assistance from the State? Uh, food stamps. Okay. So, if you were getting
assistance from the State, they’re going to then follow up
with the father, the legal father of record… WHISLER: Yes,
and I am lucky… …to pay them back… FRAZIER: Right. the money, you understand? On the paper.
On the paper. So who did
you tell the State? On the state…
Or, I mean, on the paper it asks if there was
anybody else who could be
the biological father, and I’ve always put
down the other guy’s name. Always. Did you put down
Mr. Whisler’s name, too? That was the name
on the birth certificate. But, Mr. Whisler, because you
signed the birth certificate, under the law,
you are the legal father. Yes, Your Honor. Yes, Your Honor. We… Did you understand that
when you were signing that birth
certificate that day? Yes, Your Honor,
I certainly did, but I was to the impression
it was my child. I understand. There was no other ifs,
ands, or buts about it. It was mine. And now, here $21,000
later in debt… And so you
brought a witness. I’d like to hear from her.
Ma’am, please stand. Yes, ma’am. Miss Owsley, thank you
for joining us. Your relationship
to Mr. Whisler is? Fiancee. What do you know about
this situation? I’ve been doing
some research, um… And that’s what I have here…
On child support. Jerome, will you hand me
that evidence, please? What do you know… WHISLER: That they could
come after her… And this evidence is
presented to prove …for this. what exactly,
Miss Owsley? The penalty for
lack of child support. So your concern is your
fiancee could go to jail… Exactly. …for failure to pay
child support? Yes, Your Honor. Um, you know,
I don’t know if there’s gonna be
a knock at the door. You know,
come get him,
take him away, because he owes
the back child support. And I’ve seen them take people
for less than $21,000. I’ve seen them go
for $5,000, $6,000. And it’s just not right,
you know, for me to be
in this position because of this
lady here. JUDGE LAKE: And yet you
signed the birth certificate
willingly. Yes. Yes. You know, I was under
the impression that I would… Could’ve been
the only person that could’ve been
this child’s father. You signed that
birth certificate because you believed, at that time,
it was your child… Yes, Your Honor. …because that’s
what Miss Frazier told you and never told you
there was the other person? Yes, Your Honor, until
about six months later. After the child
was already here… Yes, Your Honor. …and you had already signed
the birth certificate? Yes, Your Honor. I even went
as far as after the child was born,
a couple weeks, I went to my boss
and asked her for the money
to loan me
to get her a ring, and I proposed
to this lady. And she took
the ring and said, “Not right now,” and put
the ring on her finger. FRAZIER: Why? And I’m here today to finally see that
this is tooken care of after 18 years. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) We are here. And I still got to go back
to the State of Missouri and hire someone
before I go to jail. Because Dalas is
almost 18 now… Yes, Your Honor. …however, you have all
of these arrears that are still adding up… Yes, Your Honor. …and you could go
to jail for failure to
pay child support. Yes, you’re right,
Your Honor. Dalas is now
18 years old. Yes, he is.
Yes, Your Honor. Have you tried to develop any
type of relationship with him? Yes, Your Honor. Numerous
times I have traveled over 300 miles to come and see him,
and I would call… FRAZIER: At your convenience. I would call
and ask Miss Frazier, “Could I come by and see
Dalas when I get there?” “Uh, sure.”
Then, when I would
get up there, on my way over, I would
call and say I’m on my way. “Oh, we’re somewhere else.
We ain’t at home. “We can’t
do it today.” We have lives.
We can’t stop… You know, yeah, but I… You came for
a 10-minute visit. …understanding that
I had called previously and asked you. Well… Did I or did I not? No? Not always. You won’t let me take
him nowhere… Whatever. …and he refuses
to go because… He needs to go off by himself. …you got him brainwashed,
I believe. JUDGE LAKE: Miss Frazier,
is there a reason (LAUGHING) why you wouldn’t allow him
to see Mr. Whisler Growing up? …for all those years? Growing up, yeah,
because, I mean, he never… He not once
changed his diaper. Never, not even once. I was at work
during the day… I was at home every night. …and you were out
messing around. How can I do that
when I was raising two kids
all by myself? So, were you aware,
Miss Frazier, that all of these years
he’s been on the hook and responsible
for child support? I’ve tried to get them over
and over numerous times to test the other man,
and so… Because I can’t
afford to pay for it. And I’ve tried
to get them to do it, and they have never
done it. So I pay for it until
whatever. FRAZIER: I ain’t asked for
nothing from you. Huh? I have never asked
for anything from you. No, you haven’t.
The State of Missouri has. Okay, there you go. That’s not me. Yeah, it is,
the same thing as you… FRAZIER: No, it’s not. No, it’s not. For lying to me
this whole time. Mr. Whisler, you submitted
to the court pictures, and you feel like Dalas
looks like you in many ways. Yes, Your Honor, and I think
there’s a lot of resemblance. And so if
he is your son… I will step up to the plate. …do you want to develop
a relationship? Yes, Your Honor,
I certainly do. I will step up to the plate
and do what I have to do to take care of this
$21,000 that I am in debt. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) Jerome, I think
it’s time we meet Dalas. Can you escort
him in, please? (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) JUDGE LAKE:
Mr. Whisler, thank you
for joining us today. You realize
why we’re here? Yes. And so I have to ask
you directly, do you believe Mr. Whisler
is your biological father? Uh, I would… As I was growing up, I did
believe he was my father, but I was always told that
it could be somebody else. You were? Yes. Always told? Yes. Which is consistent with
your mother’s testimony
that there… She always tried
to list another, the other person. Have you ever met
this other man? Yes, I have. You have? Do you refer to him
as “Dad”? Um, I did one time, but that was just
to get his attention. Okay. (FRAZIER LAUGHS) Do you have a relationship
with that man? Not anymore. And how about
Mr. Whisler? Do you refer to him
as your dad? Yes, all the time. All the time? Yes. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) Yes, he has, Your Honor. And you’re a young man,
just 18 years old, and this must be
very difficult for you. Were you aware of
the circumstances Mr. Whisler
testified to that he’s been
paying child support and been responsible for
child support for you? You know he’s on your
birth certificate, right? Yes, Your Honor. You do know that,
listed as your father? Yes, Your Honor. And yet,
for most of your life, you understood that
it could be someone else. Yes. And nothing’s been done
about that for 18 years. She has tried to, but Missouri has not
answered anything that she has
tried to tell them or ever tried to change
the birth certificate. So you have personally
witnessed firsthand your mother make the
attempt to change your
birth certificate? Uh, I’ve seen her try
to get the other guy listed as the father. Now why, Miss Frazier,
would you change the
birth certificate to be the other guy when
you don’t know for certain if it’s him either? So that the state wouldn’t
be going after him. Okay, so you thought… ‘Cause I’ve never… I’ve never felt that
he should have to pay the child support
’cause it wasn’t right. Here I am stuck with
this $21,000 debt still. But I’ve tried to keep
them from doing it. That does not
make it go away. But, Mr. Whisler,
I have to inform you, because you signed
the birth certificate, you may still be
responsible for… Yes, your honor. …that $21,000… Yes, I understand that. Depending on
today’s results, you will have the opportunity
to return to your home state and see if perhaps
there is a way you can get that
$21,000 debt erased. However, there are
no guarantees. Yes, Your Honor,
I understand this. But, if Dalas is
your biological son, understand, then you are
rightfully responsible for that debt. Yes, Your Honor,
I certainly am. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) Okay? WHISLER: I love this young man
with all of my heart and always have, and I always will. And I’m here today
to get the final answers. That I’ve been looking for. Well, I have those
answers for you. Jerome, the envelope. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) These results were prepared
by DNA Diagnostics and they read as follows… “In the case of
Whisler v. Frazier,
“when it comes to
the paternity of
Mr. Dalas Whisler,” Mr. Whisler, you… Yes, you’re right,
Your Honor. JUDGE LAKE: “In the case of
Whisler v. Frazier,
“when it comes to
the paternity of
Mr. Dalas Whisler…” Mr. Whisler, you are not his father. Dalas, that’s still not
gonna change my love for you and wanting to
spend time with you. I still love you, too. I am a man of my word. I just thank you,
Your Honor, and now I can go back
and try to get this resolved. You need to seek legal
counsel when you return to your home state… Yes, ma’am. …with the understanding
that there are no guarantees that that debt will
be erased… Yes, Your Honor. …because you are
on the birth certificate, and you signed it
voluntarily. Yes. But at least now
you have the truth. This has been a difficult
situation, I can see, for all of you adults, and yet my concern really
is with you, Dalas. Are you okay? Yes. You are? Are you okay because
you always knew there
was a possibility? Yes, I am,
Your Honor. Okay. Well, Mr. Whisler obviously
has a lot of love for you, and I’m hoping you are
a man of your word, and you continue to love
and support this young man. I most definitely will,
Your Honor. And this court has resources
for you to help you begin to process this to figure out
how to move forward because that’s what
we want the truth to do
for each of you. And I wish you all
the very best of luck. WHISLER: Thank you,
Your Honor. Court is adjourned. FRAZIER: Thank you. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) Dalas, you’re always
gonna be in my heart, and I still
love you, and this won’t change a thing
about the way I feel for you. You understand me, son? Yes. I hope it doesn’t change
the way that you feel
about me, okay? It doesn’t. It doesn’t? All right, thank you.