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Man isn't entitled to parental privilege defense

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In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide whether a defendant who lived in a woman's home in exchange for babysitting her children would fall under the parental privilege defense for disciplining a child.

In Jason McReynolds v. State of Indiana, No. 82A01-0809-CR-432, Jason McReynolds appealed his conviction of Class D felony battery of a person less than 14 years of age after he spanked Yavonne Wasson's 7-year-old son with a belt and wooden clothes hangers with metal prongs after the boy wet himself.

McReynolds lived with Wasson and her two children and agreed to baby-sit them while she was at work, provide them transportation to and from school, and to assist with homework. He usually asked her permission before disciplining the children.

McReynolds claimed the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and to rebut the parental privilege defense, which is a complete defense to the battery of a child.

Although he is not a parent of the boy, McReynolds argued that common law provides some custodians with the right to use reasonable corporal punishment in disciplining a child.

Analyzing its ruling in Dayton v. State, 501 N.E.2d 482, 485 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986), in which it determined custodians who are persons in loco parentis have the right to use corporal punishment, the Court of Appeals ruled in the instant case that McReynolds isn't a person in loco parentis.

He wasn't a stepparent or romantically involved with Wasson; he didn't act as a father figure nor have the responsibilities of one; and he didn't make parental decisions on his own or even in conjunction with Wasson, wrote Judge Terry Crone.

However, even if the appellate court determined he was entitled to assert the parental privilege defense, his use of force in this case was unreasonable based on Willis v. State, 888. N.E.2d 177, 182 (Ind. 2008).

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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