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. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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