Please be seated. Good morning,
Your Honor. Good morning. This is the case of
Jenkins v. Bond.Thank you, Ron.
Good day, everyone. AUDIENCE: Good day. Mr. Jenkins, you reached out
to the court to open a case. You believe that you have
a long-lost daughterand hoped to one day find her
to prove you are her father.
Is that correct?JENKINS:Yes, Your Honor.JUDGE LAKE:So, we’ve located
the woman you believe
is your daughterand she’s here
in court today.But she does not believe
you are her father. So, Ron, can you please escort
Ms. Bond into the courtroom? RON: Yes, Your Honor. Thank you. Stand behind
the left podium. JUDGE LAKE: Thank you
for joining us, Ms. Bond. So, before the court
have you ever… Had you ever heard
of Mr. Jenkins? No, I’d never heard
of Mr. Jenkins. None of my family members
have spoken on him. I’d also like to
submit this as evidence that his name isn’t even
on my birth certificate. Ron, can you pass me
that evidence, please? So, you don’t believe
he’s your father? No, Your Honor. Because you’ve never
heard of him? Never heard of him,
no one’s ever
spoken of him. I’ve never seen
any pictures. My mother never
even spoke of him, brought him up
in no conversations
whatsoever. JUDGE LAKE: So this is
your birth certificate? Yes, Your Honor. And under
father’s legal name,nothing is recorded.ANDREIA:Yes, Your Honor.But you were raised by a man
that you believe… You were told
was your biological father. ANDREIA:Yes.
He died in a car accident
in 1999 with my mother,and I believed that
that was my father.So, Ms. Bond, ultimately,you come to court today
completely in the dark. ANDREIA: Yes, Your Honor. You don’t have
any information? No information. No one’s ever
told you anything? No one’s ever
told me anything. JUDGE LAKE:
And, Mr. Jenkins… Yes, ma’am? You have known about
this young woman
all her life. I’ve been looking for her
over 24 years, Your Honor. Me and her mother
was in college together. And I’m telling you,
she was banging. I mean, it was bad. (LAUGHTER) I mean, she had a nice,
big back porch on her. Hefty side… And she used to wear
this little black hat
with an “X” on it. I mean, you know,
and I was like… She was like
Lena Horne to me. You know, she… JUDGE LAKE: Aw! She was fine.
I mean, she was fine.
Light brown eyes. Ms. Bond looks
just like her. She ended up getting pregnant
while we was living together. JUDGE LAKE:Okay.So, during the time
when we was living together,I was going
to the doctor with her. I’d like to submit this
to the court, Your Honor. JUDGE LAKE: Yes. Ron, can you hand me
that evidence, please? It’s an ultrasound picture
that I used to go to… To the hospital with her. You did?
So when you found out
she was pregnant… I was excited. I said,
“I got my first child.
I got a girl!” You know, I was…
I was just blown away.
I was on top of the world. So this is an ultrasound
picture of Ms. Bond… JENKINS: Yes.…that you saved
all these years?JENKINS:For 24 years,
I’ve been saving that
picture right there.If you guys were so close
and you were so in love
and everything, why did it take you
so long to find me? I’ve been doing
everything I can do,
I promise you. Ms. Bond, after your
mom passed, and your dad,
who took care of you? A relative
on my mother’s side. JUDGE LAKE: Did you know
she was there? Yes, Your Honor. So, I’d like to hear more
about what life was like after your mom and dad
passed away for you,because now
you’re growing up
without your parents.I felt alone. You know, I didn’t have
anyone to talk to.
I didn’t have anyone. (CRYING)
I lost my mother… Take your time. …and my father.
And I didn’t have anybody. And I struggle.
And I’m still struggling.
I’m homeless. I’m trying to
get my children. And I have no one
on my side and
I just feel so alone. I feel like
a part of me
is really missing. JUDGE LAKE:
How many children do you have? I have two sons. JUDGE LAKE: I can see that
this was very painful for you. I know what life is
like to have to go on
without your mother. I’ve lost my mother,
and I can only imagine
if it was your mother… ANDREIA: It hurts. …and the man you know
as to be your father. So you basically
raised yourself with
the help of family. Mmm-hmm.
Yes, Your Honor. But you felt alone. ANDREIA: Always felt alone.
I still feel alone. Cry myself to
sleep every night ’cause I just
don’t have anyone. Excuse me, Your Honor.
She got me. No, you don’t have to
worry about nothing. See, ’cause I’m your man.
I’m going to step up and
do what I’ve got to do. My job is to protect you
and love you. To show you how a man’s
supposed to treat you,
you know. And I missed that.
I missed that growing up. I didn’t have a father figure
to tell me, you know,
right from wrong, type of boys to date. I’ve made a lot
of wrong decisions and I’ve made
a lot of mistakes ’cause I didn’t have
anyone there to guide me. Well, you got me now.
I wanna love you. I’mma be there for you.
I want to support you. I’m going to teach you
how a man’s supposed
to treat you. You know, I’m a man. You know,
I want a man for you
like the man that I am. I still… I still
have my doubts, though. I used to go over
one of your family
member’s house. I used to come over there
I used to go over there. They kept me
out on the porch.
Played crazy on me. Playing like she
didn’t know who I was.
I’ve knocked on doors. I’d like to submit
one more thing to
the court, Your Honor. I have
a Facebook page. If you went
through social media,
you could’ve found me. I did everything
I could do. I’ve been looking for you
over 24 years. JUDGE LAKE: Ron,
let me see that evidence. I’d like to submit
this to the court. That’s one of your numbers
that I have. I had contacted
Ms. Bond before. I’ve never received a call. Is that your phone
number, ma’am? It might have been. I have so many numbers,
I don’t remember. You don’t remember? I’ve never got a call.
I’ve never got a text,
a letter, nothing. JENKINS:
I’ve been googling her. All these different sites,
I’ve been doing
all this research. I don’t understand,
you’ve done all this and
you still couldn’t find me. I just…
I don’t understand. I really don’t. I’ve put in the work. So, I want to know more
about… How did it end? It seemed like
you all were in love
and you were having a babyand you’ve got
What happened?I also had people
putting stuff in her head,
turning her against me. The more I was
trying to do things…
We was both going to school. I’m sorry, I still don’t
believe that’s the reason
to break up with someone. Letting outside people
get into your relationship. If you really loved her,
you would have stayed, regardless of
whatever was going on. I did everything… I did everything that
I possibly could do. Matter of fact,
she wanted to get married. She had asked
my mother to marry me. During that time,
I was still in college. You know, I said,
in my head, “Let me get me
a good education.” I get a good job
before I make that step, because during that time,
I wasn’t ready.
I wish I did. So, you regret that? Yes, I do. So, when she wanted
to get married and you felt like
you weren’t ready, was Ms. Bond here?
Was the baby here?
Had you had the baby? JENKINS:I wasn’t
at the hospital.But once she was born, she got in contact with me. Me and my mother
went to see the baby. And that’s a picture
of Ms. Bond? JENKINS: Yes, that’s it. That’s a baby
picture you have… JENKINS:Exactly.
And I’ve been having
that picture over 24 years.I look at that
picture all the time. You believe
that’s Ms. Bond? Yes, I do. Ms. Bond, have you ever seen
that baby picture of yourself? I’ve never seen that
baby picture of myself. I held her once.
In my life, I held her… And that was it. At about two weeks old. You’ve never seen
a picture of you as a baby even with this
same onesie on? I’ve never seen that
picture, Your Honor. Have you ever seen pictures
of the day you were born? No, Your Honor. So, Mr. Jenkins… Yes? …did you ever come close
to meeting Ms. Bond? I mean, after being
there in the hospital… I don’t even understand,
how did you lose contact? I lost contact,
like I told you, after people got in her head,
took her away from me. I went by there and
left my phone number. And Xavier called me. And when she called me,
I was excited.
I was like, “Wow. “Here I can get my girl.
I can get my girl.
I can see my baby now.” I was just excited.
And then I said,
“Where are you?” You should’ve
saw me regardless
of whether or not she was in
another relationship. You shouldn’t have let
anything get in between
you being with her or you seeing me,
being around me,
raising me. JENKINS: I didn’t know
where you was at. ANDREIA: I’m here now. I thank God for this here
show right now because this is
one of the ways
that I found you. You know, because,
other than that, I was doing all the footwork.
I was knocking on doors. So, when you left
your phone number… JENKINS: Yes. …and Ms. Bond’s mother
called you back… Yes, she called. …did you make contact?
Did you see her again? No, I didn’t. She would’ve been
around eight years old.Yes, I…You didn’t get to see her?I did get to see her.What happened?I talked to her
on the phone.
And she said, “In the next week or so,
I’ll let you see Andreia.”
I said, “How’s she doing?” “She’s doing pretty good.” A week later,
I call her back
at that number, and I heard some bad news
that she was in a bad
car accident. JUDGE LAKE:Oh, my goodness.JENKINS:And here we go again
I had to start all over again.She got killed
in a car accident. You could’ve came
to the funeral. I was cut off from the… I still don’t feel
like you’re my father,
I’m sorry. ‘Cause, well, if you
were really my father, you would have
tried harder. You would’ve been in
my life regardless of
anything that was going on. JUDGE LAKE:
And do you understand… (APPLAUSE) Mr. Jenkins, I mean,
this is a 24-year-old
young woman and yet there are some
very real feelings that are just
still from a young girl
that’s been through so much. I mean, it’s hard for her
to wrap her mind
around the fact that there was no way
for you to get to her. I don’t believe
that at all. JUDGE LAKE: So you don’t
think your family did that,
Ms. Bond? No. So, Mr. Jenkins, do you think
there’s a possibility
that Ms. Bond’s mother didn’t think you were
the biological father? I don’t think that,
Your Honor. She knew that
I was the father. I only say that because,
of course, I sit in this
chair day after day. And one case in particular
sticks out in my mind where a gentleman
was in a very similar
position to you. I mean, he came to court.
He knew this young woman
was his daughter. He had a baby picture of her.And yet, ultimately it was
determined he was not.Could it be possible
that maybe there was something
that you just missed? No, Your Honor. Right, ’cause
I’m saying, like,
she never spoke of you. And I’m just trying
to understand if you
were really my father. In eight years,
she’s never shown me
a picture, she never spoke of you. No one has ever
spoke of you. This is my first
time seeing you,
hearing of you, so it’s just
hard for me to believe
that you’re my father. I mean, I didn’t want to end
up getting to the point that
I’d get into any trouble, but I pushed it
as far as I could push it. Well, I think that’s
one point, Ms. Bond, that I want to help
articulate better. When you submitted
your birth certificate
to the court, and under father,
there was no name listed, because he was not listed.He doesn’t have any
rights to see you.Or to stake any
claim to visit you. Anything. And so, Mr. Jenkins,
let me ask you this. What jump-started,
this new search? Now it’s been 24 years. And, I mean,
you contacted this court and you were looking
for this young woman
with a… A vengeance. You called this court
every single day. Now, just a while back,
music artist Prince had died and he didn’t have any
estate or nothing to leave
any of his stuff to. So the things that I have,
or the things that I’ve
accomplished in life, I would like to leave
them to my daughter. I still have… So when you look at
Mr. Jenkins, Ms. Bond, and you look at him,
do you see yourself at all? Do you say, “I kinda feel
like I look like him”? ANDREIA:I look more
like him, to me,
in my opinion.JUDGE LAKE:You feel
like you look morelike the man you believe
to be your father? Yes. All right, well, the only way
to move forward,
that’s why we’re here, is to get the results,
and we have those for you. Ron, will you give me
the envelope, please? Yes, ma’am. These results were prepared
by DNA Diagnostics and
they read as follows. “In the case of
Jenkins v. Bond…”When it comes to
24-year-old Andreia Bond, it has been determined
by this court, Mr. Jenkins, you… …are her father. (AUDIENCE CHEERING) I love you.
I love you. I love you. (SOBBING) I love you. I love you.
I love you. I love you.
I love you. I love you. (SOBBING) 24 years. 24 years of
doing footwork. And it paid off. JUDGE LAKE: Yes, it did. Thank you, God. I love you. I love you, too. Aw! JENKINS: It paid off. Well, y’all got me
crying now. (LAUGHTER) This is one
beautiful sight. This is exactly
why we do this. So I am going
to adjourn court, but I’d like to see
you both in my chambers if you can spare a couple
more minutes with me. As long as you want to. JUDGE LAKE: All right.
I’m so happy you all
found each other. Thank you. Yes. Court is adjourned.
I’ll see you in my chamber. (APPLAUSE) Ms. Bond,
I listened to your story
as you testified today, and I was really moved. We reached out
to the college where your father
and your mother
went together. Wayne County
Community College. And we told them
about this remarkable
young woman that we think deserves
some much-needed support. So they’ve agreed to
offer you a scholarship… ANDREIA: Are you serious? …to pursue the degree
of your choice. Oh, my God. Thank you.
Thank you so much.
Thank you. You know what I think?
You’ve been through a lot. And it’s your turn now. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. I think I need a hug.
Y’all had me crying. Oh, I’m so happy for you. ANDREIA:
Thank you so much. Oh, my pleasure. Aw, congratulations.