January 4, 2006
Case Law Development: South Dakota Supreme Court Says Spanking Unruly Child May Constitute Child Abuse
Without ruling that spanking an unruly child with a belt goes beyond the boundaries of a state law allowing corporal punishment, the South Dakota Supreme Court has decided that a Huron woman went overboard in correcting her daughter. It observed that “While the spanking left no bruises on C.F., it did leave her with enough pain that she sat down in a guarded manner . . . some thirty to forty-five minutes after the strikes were administered.” The decision upheld an earlier ruling by Circuit Judge Jon Erickson, who said it was child abuse when the girl was struck several times on the buttocks with a belt. In 2002 the South Dakota House Judiciary Committee rejected a measure that would have made spanking a child abuse felony. Sources: usatoday.com., HSLDA.org. Please click here for current story (last visited January 4, 2006, reo). Please click here for 2002 story (last visited January 4, 2006, reo). The decision by the South Dakota Supreme Court, In the Interests of C.F., filed December 28, 2005, may be found here (last visited January 4, 2006, reo).
Additional information on this topic can be found at: Professor Barbara Glesner-Fines, Family Law Prof Blog, posted December 20, 2005, Case Law Development: “When is Spanking a Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights?”
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