Local News

Local Judge Uses New Technology in Courtroom

Posted October 28, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— A Person County judge has taken a novel approach in hastening the judicial process in her courtroom. DNA testing has come to Roxboro and the judge is using it to force fathers to take responsibility for their offspring.

State court officials say, to their knowledge, no one has ever tried this approach before. Judge Patty Harrison has set up a DNA testing lab next-door to the courtroom to determine paternity of suspected "deadbeat dads".

Judge Harrison says her method is efficient.

Contesting paternity can tie up a child support for weeks, months, or even longer. Judge Harrison now orders men who claim not to be the fathers of children in question to submit to a test that will prove or disprove their claims.

Mothers and children come in at separate times in order to avoid confrontations.

Tara Davis and her daughter were tested Monday. She told WRAL TV5'sMark Robertsshe approves of the Roxboro system.

Court records show that many fathers don't take responsibility, but some men, like Lamont Bradsher, say there are two sides to every story.

Six different men who had planned to fight against paternity in court Monday admitted they were the fathers when faced with the DNA test. That means six children in Person County who didn't have it before Monday will have financial support from their fathers.

Judge Harrison has the luxury of not being accused of doing this for political reasons. While she is running for re-election, she is running without opposition.