Best Interest

Did Luke Skywalker really want to know that Darth Vader was his father? Wouldn’t he have been happier without that knowledge? Could Darth Vader be held liable for unpaid child support?

I’m mystified by these questions and my understanding has definitely not been helped by a pair of oddly contradictory rulings from the same New York Appellate Division court on the same day this month. In one ruling, the court said it was not in the best interest of a child to find out who her father is. In the other ruling, the court said it was in the best interest of a child to find out who her father is.

You’re probably thinking right now that the facts are different in each case. You’re right about that. But if I describe the would-be fathers could you tell which ruling applied to them?

In one case, “Daniel X.” claimed he never had sex with the mother and didn’t want to be considered the father. In the other case, “William P.” had a good relationship with the child but “Stephen N.” had sex with the mother once and was now claiming paternity.

That’s right. The guy who didn’t want to be the father can’t have the test so the kid is stuck with him (and he’s stuck with the kid) but the guy who did want to be the father has to be tested just in case the one-nighter is really Dad.

This is all in the best interest of the child.

Someone should check these kids out in 20 years to see how they feel about the legal system.

Do you think it’s possible someone got the files mixed up?

Meanwhile, an appeals court in Iowa grappled with another “best interest of the child” issue: his name. Here’s a sentence from the ruling that may surprise you: “Our own research reveals courts have long debated the legal import of middle names.”

How did I miss this long debate? Must have slept through that class in law school.

Anyway, it turned out that the child’s best interest called for him to have a contradiction in terms: a second middle name.

It seems to me that if there are four names in your name, the middle is a blank. The second and third names are not in the middle.

But I guess you could have a long legal debate over that.

Failure to communicate. When dealing with law enforcement, proper enunciation is critical.

This is from a Minnesota federal judge’s ruling the other day: “She contends that she told them she would ‘sue the f*ck out y’all.’ Sather, however, apparently believed that she said she would ‘shoot the f*ck out y’all.’”

There’s a pretty significant difference there. But what intrigues me about that passage is the use of asterisks. I know this is common, but what exactly is the point? Do we not know what those stars stand for? In our minds are we thinking “fstarck” instead of what was really said? Does the letter “u” have some sort of religious significance?

If you want to be prim and proper, use four stars. It’s much classier.

Science. More evidence that you can hire an expert to say almost anything. This is from a recent New Mexico Court of appeals ruling: “Taxpayer’s expert, Dr. Richard Holder, a chemist, testified that ‘everything in this room is a chemical.’”

I’d advise getting out of that room fast.

%d bloggers like this: