Brief Fact Summary. Appellant was convicted of assault for physical force used to discipline his child. Appellant argued that he used justifiable force under the statute authorizing the use of force to discipline a child.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A defendant may use force that a reasonable and prudent parent would believe necessary in the same situation.
Issue. This appeal requires the identification of the border between a parent’s justified use of physical force to control a child and criminal assault.
Held. Appellant’s conduct, although not condoned by this court was not grossly deviant from what a reasonable and prudent parent would believe necessary in the same situation.
A parent has a fundamental liberty interest in maintaining a familial relationship with his or her child. This right includes the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children including the use of moderate or reasonable physical force.
To sustain a conviction for assault, the State must show that a defendant used force in a reckless manner and a defendant’s belief that such force was necessary was reckless.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, the jury rationally could have found beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the offense charged.View Full Point of Law