Taron James was serving in Gulf War I back in '91 when a former lady friend of his claimed he was the father of her illegitimate child. Upon returning from the war with multiple decorations for his service, he got slapped with a default judgment and the State of California began garnishing 50% of his wages for the next 9 years.
Here's the Glenn Sacks article from 2003 on Taron's case:
"Sometimes it's hard to feel much pride on Veterans Day," he says.
"Sometimes I just feel like a sucker. Veterans Day only reminds me that my government holds me and other vets in such contempt that it cannot lift a finger to stop a blatant fraud which victimizes tens of thousands of servicemen. Worse, the government actively enforces that fraud."
While serving in Iraq, James was notified that a woman he knew back home was demanding that he pay child support for her newborn son. James knew from the beginning that the child could not possibly be his.
The Navy's Judge Advocate General is not authorized to handle a serviceman's legal problems outside of the military justice system, but a sympathetic captain helped him obtain an agreement from the child's mother for a DNA test.
Before the test could be done, however, the mother reneged on the agreement and disappeared with the child.
James requested a blood test from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, and was told repeatedly over the next year and a half that he would be notified when there was a new development in the case. The D.A. instead went to court without James' knowledge and obtained a default judgment against him. James did not find out about it until the D.A. seized his driver's license and began taking 50 percent of his take home pay.
Despite subsequent legal appeals and an April, 2001 DNA test which confirmed that the child is not his, the courts have refused to set aside the judgment. In the years since the D.A. and later Los Angeles County Child Support Services have: seized James' tax refund for six years in a row; blocked him from renewing his notary public license, which in turn caused him to lose his job as the manager of a business; ruined his credit, denying him the chance to purchase the business at a low price when the owner offered it to him for sale; blocked him from obtaining a passport; and forced him to drop out of college before finishing his degree.
James' problem is not uncommon. According to Carnell Smith, Executive Director of the National Family Justice Association, military men such as James are often "preyed upon" by unscrupulous "father shoppers" who can make fraudulent paternity designations without penalty.
"The military provides (a mother) a steady, easily garnished income as well as medical care for the baby. It's hard to contest paternity when you're thousands of miles away and losing a good chunk of your income to child support," he says.
"Sometimes the time limit for contesting runs out and the guy ends up on the hook for 18 years of child support simply because he served his country."
The solution to the problem is paternity fraud legislation of the type enacted in Illinois, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio and other states. This legislation allows putative fathers more time and greater judicial flexibility in challenging paternity findings.
Similar legislation in California was vetoed last fall by Gov. Gray Davis, and a revised paternity fraud bill, SB 1030, passed the Senate 34-2 in June but is currently stalled in the Assembly.
James has joined with 600 other victimized veterans and their families to form the Los Angeles-based activist group Veterans Fighting Paternity Fraud.
"The problems we face wouldn't be hard for the government to solve if someone gave a damn," he says. "Every Veterans Day and Memorial Day I think the same thing -- we don't need parades and speeches -- we need justice."
Amen Taron. How can our Government get away with this crap for our veterans?
If you'd like to support Taron and his cause, check out his website, Veterans Fighting Paternity Fraud.
UPDATE: Looks like the courts have denied Taron James a refund for the money fraudulently taken from him by a false claim of paternity. Via Glenn Sacks,
No Refund Due Man Ordered to Support Child Not His
James last year renewed his motions to set aside the paternity judgment and obtain reimbursement. Carroll granted the set-aside motion but denied his reimbursement request. The Court of Appeal agreed with the judge that Family Code Sec. 7648.4 barred reimbursement. Sec. 7648.4 expressly provides that, following the set-aside of a paternity judgment, “[t]he previously established father has no right of reimbursement for any amount of support paid prior ot the granting of the motion. ”Writing for Div. Eight, Justice Paul Boland said a plain reading of the statute precluded reimbursement. Adding that such a reading was consistent with legislative intent, he explained: “The section was intended to protect a declared father who, under existing law, lacked the procedural means to set aside or vacate an existing paternity decree after genetic testing determined he was not the biological father. While the statutory change was designed to enable a declared father to challenge a paternity decree, it was also intended to safeguard the child. ”While aware of the harm that paternity fraud inflicts on a declared father, Boland said, the Legislature balanced the competing interests of declared father and child and concluded a right of reimbursement should not be allowed.
Should not the interest of the child include having laws that do NOT give their mothers incentives to lie, cheat and steal?
Why shouldn't this mother that defrauded Taron James out of $12,000 and ruined his credit and caused other hardships that Taron did not deserve...why shouldn't she face ANY consequences for her despicable behavior?California law Sec. 7648.4 needs to be changed! Taron is an innocent victim here, and the fact that the Government is the de facto accomplice of this woman's blatant theft of Taron's money just goes to show exactly how misandrist and feminized our Government has become.