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Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

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Friday, February 1, 2008

One For The Razorbacks: Darren McFadden Agrees To Take Second Paternity Test After First Is Deemed Inadmissible

Darren McFadden, a former All-American running back at the University of Arkansas and certain first round NFL draft pick, will comply with a request that he take a second paternity test in response to a motion brought by Tiffany Rena Smith.  Smith filed a petition on January 18th, seeking to establish that McFadden was the father of her nearly four month old daughter and receive child support.  Before this petition was even filed, however, McFadden allegedly voluntarily took a paternity test which indicated that the probability that McFadden was the father was zero percent.  Smith's attorney, Agather McKeel has noted, though, that the results of this test are inadmissible in court, and McFadden has agreed to take a paterntity test which is admissible and verifiable.

It is difficult to ascertain what paternity tests McFadden took and will take, but one article  seems to indicate that there were chain of custody issues with McFadden's paternity test.  In other words, when a blood or DNA sample is taken from someone, courts require that every person handling that sample can be accounted for to ensure that the sample was not tainted or misplaced and replaced with another sample.  In the paternity test context, Arkansas Code Section 9-10-108(B)(i) specifically provides that "[i]f contested, documentation of the chain of custody of tissue and blood samples taken from test subjects in paternity testing shall be verified by affidavit of one (1) person witnessing the extraction, packaging, and mailing of said samples and by one (1) person signing for said samples at the place where same are subject to the testing procedure."

Presumably, then, Smith contested the documentation of the chain of custody of the samples taken during McFadden's paternity test, and McFadden didn't have the necessary affidavits. 

-CM

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