Danney Williams has recently announced that he is “moving forward” with a paternity lawsuit against Bill Clinton in his home state of Arkansas. Williams is fighting for recognition from Clinton as his father, which only a DNA test can prove. Whether or not an Arkansas court will grant such a DNA test to Williams is the issue.
The Williams team is hoping a DNA test will be ordered by the court automatically upon Williams challenge. Indeed, Arkansas Code Section 9-10-108 states that “Upon motion of either party in a paternity action, the trial court shall order that the putative father, mother, and child submit to scientific testing for paternity … to determine whether or not the putative father can be excluded as being the biological father.” Yet the key here is, what is a paternity action that is recognized by the court in the first place, and how long after the age of 18 can someone file such a paternity action?
According to the Arkansas Law Review’s interpretation of the 2012 ruling, State V. Perry, the “right to request paternity testing is only allowed during the period of time that a man adjudicated to be the father is required to pay child support.” In that specific case, Perry requested paternity testing for himself but was denied because the child was over the age of 18. Yet according to the company Support Collectors, who collect child support on behalf of clients, “there is no statute of limitations in Arkansas regarding establishment of paternity.” Therefore, the question of establishing a paternity case when a man is over the age of 18 is not easily resolved.
The same Section 9-10-108 of the Arkansas Code states that “If the results of the paternity tests establish a ninety-five percent (95%) or more probability of inclusion that the putative father is the biological father” then this will, on the face of it, constitute a “case of establishment of paternity.” However, one study points to how Danney Williams can already do a test with 99.997% accuracy.