February 11, 2012

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN: A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.

So held the Hawaii Supreme Court, in Hamilton ex rel. Lethem v. Lethem (Haw. Feb. 7, 2012), interpreting the Hawaii Constitution, though in reasoning that could be seen as applicable to the federal Constitution and to other state constitutions. And the court concluded that even a noncustodial parent retains this right “with respect to that child’s conduct during the visitation period.”

Based on this constitutional right, the court concluded that, to warrant the issuance of a domestic restraining order based on alleged child abuse, there must be (1) a finding that “the parent’s discipline is [not] reasonably related to the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the minor,” (2) taking into account “factors such as [a] the nature of the misbehavior, [b] the child’s age and size, and [c] the nature and propriety of the force used.”

The court left it for a lower court to apply this standard to the facts of the case. Here, though, are the facts as alleged by the child (a 15-year-old girl), which led to the issuance of a restraining order against the father.

Read the whole thing.

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