Bryan Caplan  

Bio-Economics in the Courtroom

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True story:

Twin brothers Raymon and Richard Miller are the father and uncle to a 3-year-old little girl. The problem is, they don't know which is which. Or who is who.

The identical Missouri twins say they were unknowingly having sex with the same woman. And according to the woman's testimony, she had sex with each man on the same day. Within hours of each other.

When the woman in question, Holly Marie Adams, got pregnant, she named Raymon the father, but he contested and demanded a paternity test, bringing his own brother Richard to court.

You'll be shocked, shocked to learn that it's all about money:

As soon as Raymon was asked to pay child support, he demanded that he and his brother both take a paternity test. When the paternity test came back with the same results, he took the matter to the courts where Judge Fred Copeland ruled that even in light of the identical DNA tests and overlapping relationships, Raymon would remain the legal father of the child. Raymon hopes to continue appealing the decision.

"I want to go to the Supreme Court," Raymon told ABC News. "If they can't prove it's me then they should throw it out of court." And as for the child support, he said, "The state should eat it."

Yep, two grown men share half the baby's genes, but a nation of strangers should pick up the tab.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
dearieme writes:

I rather suspect that Solomon's procedure wouldn't work with these two.

Brad Hutchings writes:

I saw this on TV a couple weeks ago... Notice that neither of these guys has a lock on his refrigerator.

Dan Robinson writes:

I think I was talking about this case with Tom Bell and Michael Huemer (maybe you?). My recommendation would be a fertility test on the twins, although it's a long shot.

Christina writes:

Raymon is much more likely to be the father because a) he and the mother had a relationship, while his brother was merely a one-night stand; and b) the conception likely did NOT occur on that day that she had sex with both brothers.

Also interesting to note is that neither brother has a relationship with the child, either as uncle or father, but their mother does.

Raymon is going to be quite disappointed to learn that paternity law existed before DNA testing, and the state is quite willing and capable of holding him accountable without it. And he can't get out of his obligation by declaring bankruptcy or quitting his job. The state will take his money regardless.

jurisnaturalist writes:

So, there's no way that the judge can order the brothers to each pay half the child support?

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