by Pacific Justice Institute

Pacific Justice Institute firmly believes that the state should not infringe on Parents rights to reasonable use of corporal punishment.

The law has long recognized and respected the rights and duties of parents in the raising of children. The Supreme Court has been consistent in recognizing the importance of respecting Parents authority in the raising of their children. Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629, 639 (1968). Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court has stated, "It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first with the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder." Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944).

A corollary to this fundamental principle is that parents have broad discretion in the disciplining of their children and are allowed to use corporal punishment. Under California state law, a parent has the right to reasonably discipline a child by physical punishment and may administer reasonable punishment without being liable for battery. People v. Whitehurst, 9 Cal.App.4th 1045, 1050 (1992). In order to be considered disciplinary the punishment must be necessary (i.e. there must be behavior by the child deserving punishment), and the punishment must be reasonable (i.e not excessive). Id. It is important to remember that the reasonableness of the punishment will be judged by a [most likely anti-Christian] third party  and it does not matter if the parent believes the punishment was reasonable.

The factors usually taken into consideration  [by the godless State] to determine whether a punishment is excessive are:

1) Whether a mark is left and the length of time the mark remains after the punishment.
2) Whether the physical force was applied out of anger.
3) The age of the child.
4) Whether the punishment had a traumatic impact on the child.

In addition, section 273d of the California Penal Code prohibits willful infliction of a traumatic condition by cruel or inhuman corporal punishment. "Traumatic condition" is defined as "a wound or abnormal bodily condition resulting from the application of some external force." People v. Stewart, 188 C.A.2d 88, 91 (1961).

The law appears more concerned with the reasonableness of the punishment under the circumstances, and whether the child is physically injured, than with what is used to spank a child. The likelihood of injury (traumatic condition) is not automatically determined by whether an empty hand or an object is used to spanking a child.  A fist can be used to inflict a "traumatic condition" if the blow results in a swollen eye, a cut and swollen lip on a child. See People v. Thomas, 65 C.A.3d 854 (1977).

Finally, although spanking a child in public may result in complaints being filed with Child Protective Services by third parties, there is no state law prohibiting spanking in public.

If you know of someone in need of legal defense, or if you are interested in becoming a crucial part of our PACIFIC JUSTICE team, please call us at (916) 857-6900.