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BONITA M. OLSON v. EDWARD J. DIETZ (07/17/85)

submitted: July 17, 1985.

BONITA M. OLSON
v.
EDWARD J. DIETZ, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order entered February 6, 1985, Court of Common Pleas, Adams County, Civil Division at No. DR-210-83.

COUNSEL

Samuel E. Teeter, Gettysburg, for appellant.

Roy Alan Keefer, Assistant District Attorney, Gettysburg, for appellee.

Tamilia, Johnson and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Johnson

[ 347 Pa. Super. Page 3]

This appeal asks us to review the validity of a jury charge on the evidentiary value of red cell and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) test results in determining paternity. Appellant also invites us to reconsider our holding in Turek v. Hardy, 312 Pa. Super. 158, 458 A.2d 562 (1983) which found such test results to be admissible to prove the likelihood of paternity. Finding no error in the charge as submitted to the jury, and being unpersuaded by Appellant's arguments to reconsider Turek v. Hardy, we affirm.

On June 6, 1983 Appellee, Bonita M. Olson, filed a complaint for child support naming Appellant, Edward J. Dietz, as the father of Scott A. Olson who was born on June 30, 1982. At a support conference held on June 16, 1983,

[ 347 Pa. Super. Page 4]

    however, Appellant denied paternity of the child, and requested a jury trial on that issue. Appellant agreed, at this support conference, to submit to cell and HLA typing tests for the purpose of determining whether he could be excluded as the father of the child.

On July 7, 1983 blood samples of Appellant, Olson and the child, drawn the previous day, were subjected to red blood cell and HLA blood testing at the Baltimore RH Typing Laboratory in Baltimore, Maryland. A letter from the laboratory to the Domestic Relations Office indicated that, based upon those tests, Appellant could not be excluded as the father of the child. The letter also included two other formulations: a "paternity index" of 110 to 1 and a "plausibility of paternity" of 99.10%.

One commentator has described the exclusion and inclusion procedures thus:

[ 347 Pa. Super. Page 5]

This calculation entails the use of a probability formula known as the "Essen-Moller" version of the "Bayes' Theorem." A simplified version of this formula may be summarized as follows: The ratio of the likelihood that the accused contributed certain genetic characteristics identified in the child, to the likelihood that one other "random man" contributed them. The "random man" variable is derived from the estimated frequencies of the particular characteristics in the relevant population. The ratio yielded by the Bayes' formula, called ...


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