Sunday, April 17, 2016

Parents' Challenge To Ban on "Rod Discipline" of Their Children Rejected

In State of Wisconsin v. Caminiti, (WI App., April 7, 2016), a Wisconsin state appellate court rejected facial constitutional challenges by parents to the statutory ban on intentionally (subject to a "reasonable discipline" defense) causing bodily harm to their children.  Alina and Matthew Caminiti were convicted of regularly using "rod discipline" on their two young children beginning when the children were 2 to 3 months old. Matthew was an "elder" in a Christian church and believed that the Biblical injunction: "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently" requires him to use a wooden spoon or wooden dowel to spank his children. The court rejected arguments that the intentional physical abuse ban unjustifiably interferes with the substantive due process rights of parents under the 14th Amendment , or with their free exercise rights under the 1st Amendment or their freedom of conscience rights under Wisconsin's constitution.