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The sickling phenomenon as a basis for legal exclusion of paternity

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Abstract

ONE of the laboratory procedures frequently requested by the courts is the application of blood-group genetics to problems of identity. The most common of these problems is that of exclusion of paternity. This procedure requires the determination of the blood groups of the accused man, the mother, and the child or children. These data are then reviewed to determine whether or not any of the accepted laws of heredity are violated by assuming that the defendant is indeed the father of the child. Obviously if the data do not fit into recognized theories of inheritance the defendant can be excluded from consideration. Any such exclusion is predicated on the assumption that the plaintiff is really the biological mother of the child.

The evidence supplied by blood tests can be used only to exclude, and not to prove paternity. In many jurisdictions, laws have been passed empowering the courts to order blood-grouping tests in cases in which paternity or related problems may be at issue. The law in the State of Ohio was passed in 1939, but even before that time there were several instances in which the court ordered blood tests at the request of a defendant in bastardy trial.1

The Ohio Code provides that men who are defendants in bastardy trials can request the court to order blood-group tests of the mother, the child, and the defendant for the purpose of determining whether or not it is possible to exclude paternity by such tests. Such exclusions as are demonstrated . . .


 

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