If an inmate that is on death row impregnated a woman, would he have any paternal rights? This is a question a judge in Brooklyn has decided upon. Suffolk County Family Court Judge David Freundlich rejected Ronell Wilson’s petition seeking paternity over a boy born to Nancy Gonzalez. Gonzalez had sexual relations with Wilson while at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

The reason behind this ruling is that since Wilson is on death row, he is considered “civilly dead” and cannot claim paternal rights for the baby he and Gonzalez conceived while he was behind bars. The judge goes on to say that a declaration of paternity is a contract in which the father assumes a multitude of duties and obligations enforceable by law, but since Wilson is already facing conviction for a capital crime when the child was conceived he forfeits any right to the child.