Please be seated. -Good morning, Your Honor.
-Good morning. This is the case
ofJones v. Turner.Thank you, Jerome.
Good day, everyone. [audience]
Good day. Mr. Jones. You state you have
always believed you are not the father of the defendant’s
five-month-old son, Ahmir. You claim
were confirmed after receiving
a text message just three weeks ago.
Is that correct? Yes, Your Honor. Ms. Turner, you say
you are desperate
to prove the plaintiff is Ahmir’s father and claim once today’s results
prove paternity, you need him
to step up and sign your son’s
birth certificate. -Is that correct?
-Yes, Your Honor. All right. Mr. Jones,
why are today’s results so important to you? I’ve been wanting
to claim the baby, but at the same time, I got so many doubts. A lot of doubts. And I can see
this is troubling for you. You are emotional
about the fact that you really don’t know. -Yeah.
-[Judge Lake] You don’t believe
you’re the father. No, Your Honor. Tell me why you don’t believe
you’re the father. ‘Cause like you said,
just three weeks ago,
I received this text message. What text message is that? It’s a message
from Facebook from somebody
I don’t even know. [Judge Lake] Jerome,
let me see that evidence. You say
just three weeks ago… -[Jones] Yes, Your Honor.
-…you get this message. -[Jones] Yes, Your Honor.
-And this message says… [Judge Lake reading] “Don’t be a fool.” -[audience exclaiming]
-[Turner laughing] That is not
the message you wanna get when you think
you have a newborn baby. So, what’s goin’
through your mind
when you get this? This is at 12:59 a.m. -[Turner] Okay.
-[audience exclaiming] Take me back to that day
when you got this text message. I woke up in
the middle of the night seeing I had a missed message. I see that message on there and I instantly got up
and called her. Like, “Who is this?” Asked her does she
know the person, she said no,
I looked up– It comes from a number
you don’t even know. [audience exclaiming] Ms. Turner, do you
remember that night when
you got that from Mr. Jones saying, “I got
a text message”? -[Turner] Yes, Your Honor.
-What happened? Um, I don’t know
who that is. But like I told him,
he got so many females. We do got people
that are some haters. So it could be
a little fake page. [Judge Lake]
Oh, wait a minute. -You said haters.
-[Turner] Yes. So, you think it’s a hater just texting him
at 12:59 a.m. I know for a fact
it’s a little hater. ‘Cause I don’t even know
who the person is. So, they made it up. Little fake page. It was a male,
Not a female. So who is the hater
that writes… [reading] Who’s the hater? -[Judge Lake] Who’s the hater
that would write that?
-He got so many female friends that don’t like him
being with me. So, it could be
one of them. It don’t have to be a man. They could have
Stole somebody’s profile. So you think,
“Oh, ’cause it came
from a man.” -Mm-hmm. Yes, Your Honor.
-But you didn’t
know who it was. Never seen that guy
a day in my life. -Never seen him before neither.
-A man told me that… -I ain’t never talked to him.
-I figured it was somebody
she used to talk to. [audience oohing] Oh, so you thinking
it’s somebody who used to sleep
with Ms. Turner, or was sleeping
with Ms. Turner during the window
of conception. Yes. Yes,
Your Honor. So what was the nature of your relationship
with Ms. Turner at the time
this message was sent? Ah, we was good. We was in a relationship.
Everything was okay at that time. All right, now
take me back to the nature
of your relationship during the time
Ms. Turner was pregnant. When she was pregnant,
we had a whole lot of
falling out. And mainly this is why
I got doubts. All right, so take me back
to that time, ’cause that’s pretty much the time
that’s at issue. Uh… Take her to
a neighbor’s, yeah. He had texted her one day
when I went to work. Like 6:00
in the morning. Right after I
left for work. Trying to come over. -Trying to come over?
-[Jones] Yes. Come over for what? That’s what I’m
trying to know. [audience laughs] Seen a text message
in her phone, saying, “Are you okay, sis?” And I’m knowing
that this number is not
from any of your brothers. I’m like, who is this? She broke down,
got to crying
and told me yes, it was
the neighbor. She told me -it was the neighbor.
-I was crying? She let me know
who it was… -What is there to cry for?
-…and said that he was
trying to come over here. Oh, so you’re saying when you confronted
her about this, she broke down
and started crying, -you thought this was
out of guilt.
-Yes. Ms. Turner, were you
receiving text messages from other men during
the window of time when Ahmir
was conceived? My neighbor had
text messaged me, and was like,
“Hey, sis.” Most of my friends
that I’m cool with, if I’m cool with
or whatever, I do call, you know,
if they do… If they like
a brotherly figure to me, I call them “bro,”
they call me “sis.” I ain’t around here
sleeping with nobody and they talking
about some sis, or I’m talking
about some bro. ‘Cause that’s trifling. [talking over each other] This came from
the same guy I told to quit calling her phone
once before. [talking over each other] It was 4:00
in the morning. He had no reason calling
her phone, and y’all
just cool like that… It weren’t no 4:00
in the morning. -It was 7:00
in the morning.
-4:00 in the morning. -No, when he
texted your phone…
-And he hid my phone. [talking over each other] And I had to take it. Everybody know,
they can’t talk to me
with Rickey. [talking over each other] What does the neighbor want at
all these times in the morning? At 7:00 in the morning? -What does the neighbor want?
-He was asking me a question. Sometimes they ask me
for a ride. -Days when I–
-What kind of ride
at that time of night? [Turner]
“Time of night”?
It was a.m. It was a.m.
What you mean,
that time of night? [Judge Lake]
he texts… The same neighbor
was texting her at 4:00 a.m. You say
it was 4:00 a.m. Yeah. This the same
neighbor I done said, “Quit calling her phone.” -Same neighbor,
at that time.
-[Judge Lake] And this is… And Mr. Jones,
this is just one
of the reasons you believe Ms. Turner
was cheating during the window
of conception. Yes. One. Give me another reason
why you believe that. All right. I go
through her phone, find out she been
talking to one of her exes, saying, “Good morning,
baby. How’s your day?” Uh, “Is you having
a good day at work? -I miss you.”
-Yeah, yeah, yeah. -I’m asking her, I’m like…
-He thinks that…
He thinks that… -I’m not even getting
no good morning texts.
-He thinks that… -Nobody telling me
-You want to know why? Nobody was telling me
they love me. None of that. He was talking to
somebody else. But she was telling
this man that. Uh, “Is you having
a good day at work?” -He was talking
to somebody else.
-This was all the time. Oh. Okay, so– He would come to my job
and chill with me
for a little bit. Then he’d be like,
“Oh, I’m about to
go home and lay down.” But he going somewhere else.
He making little detours. Over to somebody else’s house. That’s the problem. So since he want to go out
and talk to somebody else, so, yeah, I got to
hit my ex up like,
“Good morning.” But you love him. -But you love him.
-Why would I tell you
“good morning”? [Judge Lake]
Oh! He didn’t deserve that
no more. So, Ms. Turner,
you’re admitting you began to have a relationship
with your ex -because you believe–
-[Turner] It was talking
on the phone. We weren’t having
no relationship. He was living
in Memphis. -I didn’t even…
I hadn’t see him…
-He travels. [Turner] We were
communicating. So you start sending -friendly good morning texts.
-[Turner] Yes, ma’am. “How are you?
How was your day?” Being a little extra
friendly and cozy. Because you
thought Mr. Jones
was cheating. I ain’t thought.
I knew. -[Judge Lake] So you knew
he was cheating.
-[Turner] Mm-hmm. If he was pregnant,
I would say his baby
ain’t mine. So, Mr. Jones,
the truth is, you’re just finding
a whole bunch
of text messages. You got messages. -Oh, yeah.
-I gotta tell him
when I’m going to the store, when I’m going
to the bathroom, -when I’m fixing
something to eat.
-But I also… -I also…
-So he know everywhere I go,
he know everything I do. I mean, it has to be
more than just
text messages. -[Jones] Yes, ma’am.
-You believe she was
actually sleeping with her ex? Yes, ma’am. Why do you
believe that? One day she butt-dialed me, or however she called me. I don’t know
if it was on purpose. Uh… I didn’t
answer the phone. -It was a message.
-Why didn’t he
answer the phone, though? Why didn’t he
answer the phone?
Where was he at? Message on my voicemail. Where was he at, though? Why you didn’t
answer the phone? It was a message.
It was late night,
I was asleep. Aw, he was in
a hotel room. So hold on,
let me… Ms. Turner, let me
hear this story. When you played
what’d you hear? I heard moaning. Moaning? I heard moaning
and I heard another man
talking in the background. [audience] Oh! Who was moaning, though? A woman or a man? -It was a woman.
-[laughing] I was in a car,
playing the radio, singing. -And I had a cough too.
-She was moaning, Your Honor. And I could hear
a man’s voice. I couldn’t hear exactly
what he was saying
and everything.But later on,
she let me knowshe was with somebodywho she intended
to have sex with,
but she didn’t. Why did I intend
to have sex with him? Ms. Turner, where you
with another man? Okay, this is
two separate nights
today he talking about. I was on my way to… I think to my mother’s house
or something like that. I had her vehicle
first of all, so I wasn’t about to
have sex with nobody
in her vehicle. The second night is what he was
me going to go “intend” to have sex
with somebody. I pulled up on my ex,
I sure did. When he called me,
I answered my phone. He asked me,
I told him where I was. All in the same month.
All this, same month. But he just said
the same night, though. -All this is in the same month.
-Get your story together, ’cause it ain’t
coming together. This was two separate nights. That night
when he called me, I told him that
I was with my ex. Because he was at a hotel room
with a whole ‘nother female. Now, I’ve seen they
text messages, ’cause I know how to… We talking about
why did you… [Turner] No,
we talking about what I’m
talking about right now. He didn’t even know
that I went through his phone. They had already intended… They’d made plans
to see each other. She let him know that
she was about to
go get a room. He was fitting to
get away from me. See, he didn’t know
all of this. [Judge Lake] So, okay.
So, granted… -[Jones] Because I…
-Hold on. Hold on. -[Turner speaking indistinctly]
-So if those messages
were true… -[Turner] They are.
-…what did you go do… [Turner] I pulled up
on my ex. I though about doing
something with him, but at the time,
I was already pregnant. ‘Cause I had took
a pregnancy test and we was
already rocking it,
’cause I was ready. He already knew,
when I called him,
told him I was pregnant, we was about to break up.
I was about done
with him anyway. So we was just,
you know what I’m saying,
we were… Let’s try to work it out
for the baby, we… You know, when our parents
weren’t in the same household
with us… All right. I want to understand. Y’all had a lot going on
during the window of time
when Ahmir was conceived. Yeah.
A whole lot. Some things we say
to hurt a man when they’ve hurt us… You know, there’s that
boomerang effect in life. Sometimes, when we set out
to hurt other people, we hurt ourselves. And we hurt our baby. -And I know
you were hurt.
-[audience applauding] I can see it
in your eyes. But as soon as
you say to him, “Oh, yeah, and I was
going to sleep with him
but I didn’t.” In his mind then,
“Well, who else
does she sleep with?” I mean, that’s
a logical conclusion. And then we’re here
in Paternity Court. Way too much mess. Did you have your father
growing up, Ms. Turner? Mm-mm. So that’s why this is
so important to you, because you want Ahmir
to have what you didn’t have. -Am I correct?
-Yes. Yes, Your Honor.
That’s why I tried
to work it out with him. So he could be
in the household with his mom
and his dad. And I can see
the tears in your eyes. How does make you feel, to see your baby not get
what you know he deserves? It hurts my feelings. ‘Cause I’ve been there,
I know how it feels. So this matters to you. [Turner]Yes.[Judge Lake]
little boy, Ahmir.This is about his life.This is not a joke. This is not
a back and forth
tug of war, you know, exercise between
two people who probably
love each other, but can’t figure out
how to be in a relationship. Once you bring
a real person, a whole life
into the world, stakes change. And I can see, Mr. Jones, the way you look at him. It’s like, you look at him with love and confusion and doubt. Yes, Your Honor. [Judge Lake]
So it’s not that
you don’t love him,you just don’t
truly know.I can see it.
You’re very emotional.Ahmir… Ahmir is my son, the way I look at it.
I don’t want
to hear nothing else. That’s all that
I’m worried about.The doubts, all that
that happened,that was a whole lot.[Judge Lake] You said
it was a whole lot. Yes, it was a whole lot
in one month. It was too much
at the same time. So I gotta question it.
And I gotta get proof. I gotta get
some type of answers. So have you prepared
yourself, Mr. Jones? Either way, have you been
honest with yourself, and said,
“What will I do if Ahmir is not
my biological son?” I ain’t looked at that
even possibility, not really. [Judge Lake] You haven’t? And I can see
the tears in your eyes, because it means
that much to you. Uh, yeah.And like you said,
I grew up without
a father too.If it ain’t the best father,
they gonna know me.[Judge Lake]
that honesty.You know, a lot of times,
I always tell people,
when you grow up without having your father,
it can go one of two ways. You can either be the father
you never had, or you canbethe father
you never had. [audience clapping] Same sentence, two different meanings. And I appreciate,
Mr. Jones, you saying you’re doing your best to be what you never had
and sometimes, you don’t even know
how to be that. Yeah. Exactly. [Judge Lake]
‘Cause you’d never
had an example. Okay. Jerome. Let’s get the results. [audience clapping] These results were prepared
by DNA Diagnostics, and they read as follows. In the case of
Jones v. Turner…[audience clapping] When it comes to
five-month-old Ahmir Turner, it has been determined
by this court, Mr. Jones, you are the father. [all cheering] [Turner] Thank you.
Thank you. Okay. -Do you feel better?
-That don’t mean all that. You feel…
No, it do. -It do.
-Does it mean
the baby’s mine? -[Judge Lake] Well,
-It do. Listen, let’s not go back
down negative roads, you know? I mean, that’s what
drives me crazy. We get… We get off a negative road, and we’re trying to
get on Positive Lane. You know, let’s go. We have come
to the understanding that Mr. Jones is
Ahmir’s biological father. So now that you
know the truth, let me deliver some truth
to to you all. If you keep operating the way you have in the past, we gonna be back here again. Not just this courtroom, but in a place
where there’s no trust. No belief. And whether you all
choose to be in
a relationship together, and make that family for Ahmir
that you both dreamed of, or you choose to co-parent, you’ve gotta find
some solid ground. Because you’re trying to
break generational curses. And it’s not too late. We have counseling
and resources for you both. I want you
to talk to Dr. Jeff
and figure it out. And Mr. Jones, I want you
to be honest about that fatherhood component
you talked to me about. It’s… Don’t ever
feel like it’s wrong to say, “I don’t know
what to do.” Do you understand?
That I need help. How do I become
the father I never had -when I didn’t have
-Yeah. Because one day,
Ahmir will be a father, and you want him
to be the father that he can be. -Right?
-Yes. [Judge Lake] And he’s
gonna learn how to do
that from whom? -From me.
-[Judge Lake] That’s right. All right. I wish you
all the very best. Court is adjourned. [all cheering]