ILNews

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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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