Please be seated.
Hello, Your Honor. This is the case of Lawrence v. Simmons.
Thank you, Jerome.
Good day, everyone.
JUDGE LAKE: Miss Lawrence, you claim that
six months ago, your mother, the defendant,
shared a secret she'd kept from you your entire life.
After 28 years, believing one man was your biological father,
you've now learned it may be another.
You've petitioned the court for a paternity test
to find out if the man waiting outside of our courtroom today
is indeed your biological father.
Now, Miss Simmons, you admit to keeping a lifelong secret from your daughter.
You claim you recently ran into an ex-lover on a bus.
Uh, you say that, for the very first time
you told this man that he could be your daughter's dad.
We'll meet him in just a few moments.
But first, Miss Lawrence, please tell the court
how your mother revealed her 28-year secret to you.
Um, first off, I just want to say that
I'm definitely emotionally frustrated with her.
Uhm, she called me about six months ago,
and when I answered the phone, she was hysterically crying,
and of course, I didn't know what was going on.
And I'm asking her, "What's wrong, what's wrong?"
She's beating around the bush, telling me all these random stories.
And then finally she goes into saying that
she met some random man on the bus and that he could possibly be my father.
One day, you were just sitting at home
talking to your mother...
Talking to my mom.
Just a regular phone call.
And out of the blue she says,
that someone else could be your father.
That someone else could be my father.
What did you feel like?
28 years, and you think another man is your father.
Definitely betrayed, being that we were like the best of friends.
She could have definitely told me a long time ago.
JUDGE LAKE: Mom, let me hear from you.
Um, I ran into Rudy on the bus, one day, on my way from school.
And I'm like, I know him.
You know, from my past. I've never forgotten him.
And, I say, "Excuse me,
"what is your name? Is your name Rudolf?"
And he says, "Yes." I say, "Rudolf Roquemore?"
He says, "Yes, it is."
He asks me, "Who are you?"
And I look at him like this. I'm like, for real? Really?
And I'm like, "I'm Yvette."
JUDGE LAKE: Well, okay.
"You better recognize," huh?
DAISY SIMMONS: Exactly.
We started talking for a second.
He even passed up his bus stop.
We exchanged phone numbers and just says, "Call me later."
So, we... You know, conversated for a while.
Like, "Where have you been? I haven't seen you in a long time.
"When did you come back to LA?"
I want to know what the conversation...
What happened when it got to the good part.
JUDGE LAKE: Look, Miss Simmons, she wants to know, uh,
what happened as it relates to her in this.
The fact that this man could potentially be her father.
How did it get to that part of the conversation?
In the conversation with Rudolf, um...
I told him, "It's a possibility..."
(SIGHS) "...that I may have your child."
JUDGE LAKE: Wow!
What was his response to this?
He say, "What would make you think that it's my daughter?"
I say, "Because there is really no resemblance
"to the man that she calls her father."
And she was...
Excuse me. Sorry.
I just want to know why you didn't tell me before, like...
I couldn't. I had no idea...
I had no idea.
JUDGE LAKE: When you say you couldn't, Miss Simmons,
why do you say you couldn't?
The man that she calls her father...
I mean, she's a daddy's girl, most definitely.
I didn't want to break the bond between her and her dad.
You know, I thought I would never see him again.
So, I felt that there was no reason for me to bring this up to her.
I think her initially telling me from the beginning
would have made it more, you know what I mean?
'Cause now it's just...
You knew, Miss Simmons, this man really may not be her father.
You made that call on your own
and you've held this secret by yourself, all these years?
Actually, I wasn't even really sure
because me and her dad had broken up.
And when I went back home and got with her dad,
I found out, like, I was almost three months pregnant.
But once you realized that you were pregnant,
you knew in your mind that you were not certain
who your daughter's father was?
What was your relationship like, Miss Lawrence,
with your father, growing up?
SHATIKA LAWRENCE: Oh, it was amazing. It was amazing.
Wherever he would go, I would go.
My dad always made sure I had money in my pocket.
Um, always the flyest...
I mean, back in those days... I'm a '80s baby.
So, Enyces, Filas, LA Gear.
Trust me, I was alive in the '80s, too.
I won't tell my age but I remember trying to be fly as well.
So you had a good relationship.
Me and my dad had
a very... I mean, we still do to this day.
We have a really, really good relationship,
and, um... Definitely, I mean because he, you know...
He had, kind of, like, that thug-life lifestyle,
to where he was, you know, kind of in and out of prison.
So, growing up, it kind of affected, like,
just me being in relationships with men and...
I've only had one, real long-term relationship...
JUDGE LAKE: Mmm-hmm.
...and that's my child's father.
And, um, he took care of me, too.
(SOBBING) Like, he took care of me, like,
when my dad wasn't there.
My baby's dad took care of me.
I mean, we would joke around.
It would be to a point to where he would say certain things like,
"You know who your daddy is."
You know, I mean, like, I would call him Dad sometimes.
Just because he was that male figure and...
Because you were looking for that male figure.
JUDGE LAKE: Now, Miss Simmons, how does it make you feel
to hear your daughter say this?
It hurts. It hurts a lot.
Um, I never really knew that she felt like that.
Me not telling her was because I didn't want to hurt her,
or I just... I didn't want to hurt her...
You didn't think that
it would hurt me more now than it would have a long time ago?
I never thought I would run into him. I never thought I would see him again.
LAWRENCE: But that's what I want to know, too.
Like, even still, if you didn't see him, like...
I don't know.
I mean, why bring up somebody that's not there?
He was non-existent.
If you hadn't run into him on this bus,
this was a done deal for you.
You were gonna go to your grave with your daughter thinking...
And that's exactly what she said.
And how does that make you feel?
With all of this happening, like, everything was happening so fast,
one day, she tell me about him,
the next day, she's sending the man a picture.
I don't know this man. I've never heard him.
I never heard about him, Rud, Rocky... What?
LAWRENCE: I don't know him.
JUDGE LAKE: So, wait a minute.
So, you're telling me that since your mother reunited
and found Mr. Roquemore,
she's been sending him pictures
and she's told him pretty much that...
...he's your dad.
And he basically...
I mean, she didn't... I don't know if she
told him that he was my dad,
but it's to the point where his family is like,
"Oh, she belong to us, then. She's a Roquemore for sure and..."
It's... I'm a Lawrence.
Miss Simmons, I need to understand from you if you really get
what this 28-year secret has done to your daughter.
I mean, you know what,
I also didn't have a relationship with my biological father,
and for, like, 11 years I never knew this man. I had never seen this man.
I shared my brother's and sister's dad.
And so, when I finally, you know, met my dad,
um, I could identify.
Like, who I look like and all of this.
Uhm, he wasn't a very good person, but I digress.
But because she had that relationship with her father,
who she calls her father,
who did her hair when she was little...
She didn't want me to do it.
He combed her hair, he made her up pretty...
(SOBBING) I couldn't... I couldn't tell her.
But now, uh...
What's his name again?
Is in sight, in mind.
Like, he here now. Like, he's around.
They be together all the time.
Well, you have never met this man?
Not a day in my life.
I think the time is now.
I know I wanna meet him, do you?
But I think it's the missing piece
to the answers that you're seeking.
I'll do it with you. How about that?
Jerome, will you please escort Mr. Roquemore...
...to the courtroom, please?
JUDGE LAKE: Good day, Mr. Roquemore.
How you doing?
JUDGE LAKE: Please, step up to the podium.
Thank you for joining us today.
Mr. Roquemore, this is the first time
you've ever laid eyes on Miss Lawrence?
JUDGE LAKE: A young lady that could
potentially be your biological daughter.
JUDGE LAKE: When you look at her today,
do you feel like this could be a real possibility?
Yeah, I can see some resemblance by the eyes.
Miss Lawrence, how do you feel right now?
Hmm, I have butterflies in my stomach. I really do.
I don't feel like, there's any, like,
attachment, or like, he could be my dad or...
You didn't feel anything?
I mean, I look at my dad-dad...
The person that I call Dad, I look at him and I'm like, "That's my dad."
That's who I look like.
You know, my mom's brown skin and my dad's dark skin and...
You know, like, I feel like I look like Mr. Lawrence.
When Mr. Roquemore walked into this courtroom just now,
you felt nothing?
Besides us having the same skin color, no.
Mr. Roquemore, take me to the day that you ran into Miss Simmons on the bus.
I had got on the bus, and she was sitting across from me, and
I was looking at her, and she...
You were looking at her because you recognized her
or you were looking at her?
(LAUGHING) I didn't recognize her.
I was looking 'cause she was looking good.
When I was looking, I say...
I was saying to myself, "Well, she got some beautiful lips."
Not knowing you'd already been there, done that.
ROQUEMORE: Yeah, yeah.
JUDGE LAKE: Okay, okay.
JUDGE LAKE: I'm with you, though.
So at least we know you're consistent.
You liked her all over again?
She was looking over at me and when she look at me,
I didn't want her to see me looking.
So I, like, turned my head a little bit...
Then she asks was my name Rudolf?
And I was like, "Yeah." She says, "Rudolf Roquemore?"
I was like, "Yeah."
And she was like, "Well, I'm Yvette."
And I was like, "Yvette?"
And then she pulled her glasses down and looked and I said, "Oh, okay."
Then I remembered her and got her phone number.
We exchanged numbers.
Then I got off, and you know, she had called me.
And we talked for a while.
She said she has something to tell me.
She said I might have a daughter.
And, you know, I got quiet at first and...
I couldn't believe it, you know. I was like...
And then she told me she was 28 years old,
and I was like, wait a minute. That's a long time.
You know, that's a lot of time lost out of a kid's life.
I mean, when we separated
I used to come back by her mom's house,
and, you know, just see if I can see her out or anything, but
I guess they had moved and...
Yes, Miss Lawrence. Yes.
Why do you want to know if I'm your child or not?
Because I think it's important to know who are my kids.
If I have kids, I'd...
It's been a really long time.
Like, I can't fault you at all.
I can't fault you for what's going on but...
You can't push me on the swing no more.
It's a lot of time lost. I mean...
I can't be pushed on a swing, and no more Big Wheels.
What do you think this is?
Yeah, I can just get to know you and...
You know, try to spend some time with you.
You know, I can't take the place of,
if you're my daughter, the guy that's been taking care of you.
I can never take his place, because he's been there.
But I'd just like to get to know you and spend time with you.
If he's found to be your biological father,
what do you want going forward?
Gradually, slowly but surely, we can, you know, get to know each other,
but off top, initially...
JUDGE LAKE: So, you'd be willing to do that?
Eventually. I can't say... Not at this very moment,
like, "Let's go home and sit up and chop it up."
But, um, eventually. Yeah.
And if he isn't your father?
I'm going back to Vegas.
JUDGE LAKE: And it would be...
I'm not just saying I'm gonna be excited that you're not my dad.
But I mean, this can just be like...
I can just brush it off my shoulders and continue on with
whatever I was doing.
It will be a relief.
Miss Simmons, how do you feel standing in the room now?
For one, I want to apologize to my daughter.
I never meant to hurt you
or keep something from you as important as this.
Like I said, I understand the relationship between you and your dad
and I didn't want to bring up old wounds.
He wasn't around. I didn't know where he was.
You don't feel like that apology is sincere?
Mmm, well, she's apologized multiple times already.
When you stepped into this courtroom today, the first thing you did
was acknowledge the fact that
the man that raised her, that she acknowledges as Daddy,
was there for her and took care of her.
And I thought it was so admirable that when you asked her
whether or not you two could potentially work on having some type of relationship,
that you acknowledged that you would never be him
but that you could also be there for her in your own way.
Well, I think it's time to solve this 28-year mystery.
JUDGE LAKE: Jerome, do you have the envelope?
JEROME: Yes, I do.
Okay, go slow. Go slow, go slow.
Go slow, go slow.
I always do.
These results as prepared by DNA Diagnostics
read as follows. "In the case
"of Lawrence v. Simmons
"when it comes to 29-year-old Shatika,
are her father.
(SOBBING) No, leave me alone right here, please, Mom. Stop.
Oh, my God!
I'm so sorry.
JUDGE LAKE: Miss Lawrence, there's some tissue for you.
Mom, get back on your side.
Can you put your feelings into words and explain?
I can't even... I don't even...
I don't have the words.
LAWRENCE: Oh, my goodness.
Mr. Roquemore, how do you feel today? This is...
...I'm sure, overwhelming for you as well.
Yeah, I feel nervous.
It's a lot of time gone
to not know you have a daughter.
That's a secret that shouldn't have been kept.
Miss Lawrence, a lot of men in his situation
would not step forward in this way.
I know you said it's gonna take you some time,
but understand that this truth has opened a door for you.
Don't look at it as a closed door,
because you're always gonna the relationship you have with your daddy.
But look at it that this truth has opened yet another door for you.
To have another man there in your life as a father figure.
I wish you all the best of luck.
Court is adjourned.
I know I'll never be able to take your dad's place,
but I would like to be in your life.
I thank you for being the man that you are, 'cause like she said,
most men wouldn't step up and do things like this nowadays.
It would just be way over their head and it would get bypassed.
So, thank you for that.