Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Not a legal profession case, but of possible interest to the parents among us, is a decision today from the Indiana Supreme Court. The court reversed a criminal conviction for battery on a child. The defendant was the child's mother. He had stolen her clothes, taken the clothes to school, and lied when confronted. After taking two days to "ponder her options" they had a long conversation. When the child repeated the lies, mother had him remove his pants and "proceeded to strike him five to seven times with either a belt or an extension cord." Some blows landed on his arm and thigh as well as his buttocks. He went to the school nurse, who contacted protective services. The mother was arrested, charged and convicted at a bench trial.
The court held that the parental privilege defense is a "complete defense" that the State did not disprove beyond a reasonable doubt. The court considered the fact that the child was eleven years old and not a "first offender." The punishment was not "unnecessarily degrading" or disproportionate to the offense. (Mike Frisch)