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14 year old girl paddled by court order

June 10 2008 at 5:18 PM

Fact some US States still favour CP in schools and home, maybe some of our US posters could enlighten the position of judicial CP in Texas.

In short a 14 year old girl appeared in court, under the supervision of her stepfather for constantly truanting form school. The judge ordered the step-father to spank his 14 year old step-daughter right then and there in court, or pay a $500.00 fine. This was an open court with other adults and children present. The judge produced a paddle from behind the bench after which the step-father chose to paddle his step-daughter. He was then informed he had not paddled the girl hard enough. The family are now suing the judge.

Most of us feel this kind of punishment draconian and abusive, but if we accept this still a legal form of punishment in the US,

It raises several questions;

The step-father had an option not to paddle, so should the judge be sued, does the step-father have a right to bring this action

If the family were of low income and unable to pay the fine, did the step-father feel he had no option other than to paddle

Should the punishment have been carried out in private.

Should the paddling have been carried out by someone other than the Step-father.

South Texas judge offers paddling in courtroom
By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN Associated Press Writer
Article Launched: 06/05/2008 05:02:27 PM MDT

LOS FRESNOS, Texas—A South Texas justice of the peace will find himself in another judge's courtroom Friday morning, likely grateful that one—unlike his own—contains no wooden paddles.

Cameron County Justice of the Peace Gustavo Garza is being sued by the parents of a 15-year-old girl whose stepfather was given the choice of paying a $500 fine or paddling the girl in open court for skipping school.

Daniel Zurita reluctantly used one of the two paddles in Garza's courtroom on his stepdaughter, who was 14 at the time, in April. It's the option that 98 percent of parents choose in his courtroom, Garza said.

"It is lawful," said Garza, who said he has practiced law for 26 years, including work as a prosecutor in Willacy and Cameron counties. Garza stressed that he never ordered a parent to paddle a child, he simply offered it as an option in place of a fine and a misdemeanor mark on their records.

Mark Sossi, who is representing Josie Vasquez and her parents Mary Vasquez and Zurita, said it is not much of an option.

"It's not really a choice when your choice is buying groceries or spanking your child," Sossi said. And doing it in open court in front of other parents and juveniles caused "humiliation, fear and mental anguish," according to the lawsuit.

The family wants a temporary injunction against Garza—a hearing in district court is scheduled for Friday—as well as damages and the court to tell Garza he does not

have the authority to offer corporal punishment as an option.

The lawsuit also seeks Garza's removal from office for incompetence and official misconduct.

Garza's raised bench sits in the corner of a small courtroom with a low ceiling. He shares the building with a county tax office and constable.

Hanging on the wall within reach is a paddle that appears to be cut from a one-inch by four-inch board. Holes have been drilled into its spanking surface. An identical paddle lays across the top of Garza's bench.

Garza, who is more than a year into a four-year term, said he began offering the paddle when parents told him they had lost control of their children, but were afraid they would get in trouble for spanking them at home.

The lawsuit does not say how many times Vasquez was struck. Asked to describe a typical paddling in his courtroom, Garza said "five soft whacks."

The lawsuit alleges that Garza told Zurita he did not hit his stepdaughter hard enough. Garza said he did not recall the specific case with Vasquez, but did say some parents paddle with more gusto than others.

Garza considers it a "reasonable condition" that is within his authority to issue.

Opinions issued by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct appear to disagree.

In 2002, the commission publicly reprimanded a Montgomery County justice of the peace who had suggested a boy in his court needed a good "butt-dusting."

When the boy's foster parent said he was not allowed to spank the child, the judge provided a paddle and said he could do it with the court's permission. The commission looked at it as an order and concluded, "While judges have some discretion to order various methods of appropriate discipline for children who misbehave at school, including ordering community service, they have no authority to order a foster parent to paddle his or her foster child."

"It's not OK," said Seana Willing, the commission's executive director. "I'm not aware of any law that gives a judge the authority to administer corporal punishment or allow anybody to administer corporal punishment in his courtroom."

The commission does not reveal its investigations unless a decision is made for public punishment, Willing said.

Mary Alice Palacios, a justice of the peace in neighboring Hidalgo County for eight years, hears about 600 truancy cases per week, but has never considered corporal punishment in her courtroom.

Palacios spanked her children at home when they were young, but does not believe it has any place in a courtroom.

"I don't think that's right," Palacios said. "That's not a choice, you're practically ordering them to do it."

Walking home from the Hernandez Tortilla Factory just a few blocks from Garza's courtroom in Los Fresnos, 15-year-old Anna Mujica agreed.

"I don't think that's right for them to paddle them in the courtroom—that's embarassing," Mujica said.

Her friend Amy Luna knows a boy who was paddled in Garza's courtroom this year. Her take was more practical.

"He's still missing school, so I guess it didn't work."

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Mike from Oz

Re; Story,

June 11 2008, 3:54 AM 

Hello Ketta, All I have to say is "Only in America." For a country who carries on like a Pork Chop about injustices around the world, they make a very good effort of turning a blind eye as to what goes on in their own backyards.

But what can you expect from a country that devised 5 methods of Execution-Hanging, Electrocution, Gas, Firing Squad and the latest fad, Lethal injection.

I have often felt there is something in the food they eat over there that makes them behave like the way they do. Too much sugar in the diet. No wonder they stoop to things like this. Their Brains are fussed out.

I agree with you Ketta, Paddling people is a Draconian and outdated practice. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. It's about time they joined the rest of us humans living in the 21st century.


Paddle Mad

Keep Paddling

June 11 2008, 8:47 PM 

I think this public paddling (pp) is a bloody good idea. It should be adopted in the UK and if pp offends the delicate sensibilities of some people then they can use a cane, which I understand stings quite a bit.

Fantasy v. Reality

Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

June 12 2008, 3:16 PM 

Paddlemad---the name fits. Try separating fantasy from reality and your fetish from criminal justice.


Bob T

Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

June 13 2008, 2:34 AM 

For those of you who don't know what a Justice of the Peace is. Think Andy Griffith of Mayberry. They only hear small claims in civil court or traffic tickets. Parking tickets and truancy. They generally have little or no legal experience. They use common sense to settle disputes over who owns a cow or some such thing.

I have been to that part of Texas several times. It is very rural and on the border with Mexico. I've said it before. It is the rural southern parts of the US that still believes in this sort of punishment. Texas is a huge state and probably has more schools using CP than any other state.

Just one other thing. Less than 100 miles from Las Fresnos is one of the nations top High Schools. Over 95% of their students graduate and pass the SAT test. It's in the top 100 out of thousands of high schools in the US. You would never guess it by looking at the place or any of the homes around there.


Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

June 13 2008, 3:11 PM 

What high school is that?



June 13 2008, 10:21 PM 

The USA is a confederation of independent states each with their own laws. The quality of the law varies greatly especially in states with elected law enforcement and judicial officers. If you have a lot of money you can buy justice and fair play anywhere otherwise it is a lottery.


Bob T

Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

June 17 2008, 8:04 AM 

This is not the one I had in mind but it's within 100 miles and it's the top High School in Texas.

The one I mentioned is near Rio Grand City. It's on state highway 83 in between Laredo and McAllen. I can remember the name and I can't find a more recent list of top schools.


Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

July 5 2008, 3:05 PM 

Mike from Oz---you apparently don't much understand how laws in the or the concept of "states' rights". What they allow in Texas is often a far cry from what might be considered allowable or even sane human behavior in Connecticut or California. As a Yank, I sometimes wonder why I don't need a passport to travel from my state on the East Coast to Texas as it is probably more a foreign country to me than many European nations.

What foreigners, I think, tend to not understand is that there are really several different United States if the attitude, beliefs, and values of its citizens were to be examined. It the last two presidential elections the difference between red, blue and purple states helped to point out just how different a people we are depending on the area in the country in which we live.


U.S. Paddlings

July 24 2008, 3:53 PM 

It is true that all states in the USA have a fair amount of independence in their judicial punishments. The most known is about capital punishment with some states having it and others don't,and evn this is done in different ways in each state.
Even in schools CP is allowed by law in some states while in others it's illegal. Some states even encourage it by giving legal protectuon to teachers who use the paddle(Georgia is a case I think).
About Judicial paddling and caning of minors it's the same,as this case mentioned here.
I don't know what the situation is today but I read somewhere of an account of how judicial canings of young offenders,some as young as 13,used to take place in some states not long ago. The boy is taken into a special room where he is stripped,either naked or from the waist down,and caned by the number of strokes ordered by court on his naked buttocks. There was also a sort of glass partition in the next room where witnesses could watch the punishment taking place(just like as in executions in the same country). It is stated in this report that these witnesses were usually court officials,victims of the crime and some journalists,and in all these categories there were usually women also,sometimes even young girls as victims' families. It also states that sometimes there were groups of boys being punished together at the same time in the same room,one after the other.
I only read this so I cannot corraborate it. And I'm not sure in which years this took place.
So if anyone has some information about this please tell us.


Bob T

Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

July 25 2008, 8:16 AM 

I don't know of any state that uses judicial CP on juveniles or adults. As far as I know Louisiana was the last state to outlaw CP in its state prisons. That was 1972.

The Justice of the Peace in this case was wrong and operating outside the law. I've never heard of any judicial cp in Texas. School cp is another matter. The paddle is still widely used all over the state. Each school district has its own rules regarding school cp.

Statistics in Texas show that given a choice between Saturday detention or taking swats. Most juniors and seniors choose swats. This includes both genders.


Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

August 1 2008, 4:36 PM 

I think you will find that the state you are referring to was the old Republic of South Africa

American Way

Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

April 3 2009, 5:37 AM 

This was all dealt with in a thread back in August started by Ketta (14 year old girl paddled by court order). Corpun has two videos. There was a video, now lost in cyberspace, with a dorsal view of a mother with a fidgety daughter approaching the bench for a fine or a paddling at a Truancy hearing. Things handled in a Principals Office one way is not the way it should be handled in a courtroom. Judge Gustavo Garza, that buffoon, turned his courtroom into a circus, as seen by the below link there is a distinction between school CP and judicial CP. Garza must have skipped 1791. We fought a war against tyranny but there is no immunity from idiocy.

Here is a ten year old paper showing why JCP is not the American Way

American Way

Re: 14 year old girl paddled by court order

July 16 2010, 8:18 PM 

A court order spanking. These well documented incidences have been covered by corpun but I don't know if this grandmother spanking a grandson was reported. This boy resisted arrests but submitted to a lawyer provided belting from his grandmother until the judge was satisfied. Brief incarcerations don't seem to be doing the trick for badly behaving narcissistic teen celebrities today. This would do them and their emulators a world of good. A taste of grandma's home cooking. happy.gif

Home Cooking

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