Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parental discipline a common law defense in Kansas

David Magariel won in State v. Wade, No. 102,433 (December 30, 2010), reversing a Johnson County conviction for misdemeanor battery. The court held that parental discipline is a common law affirmative defense in Kansas. The court reversed the defendant's conviction because the district court's failure to instruct the jury on this affirmative defense denied the defendant due process of the law.

The COA reversed Wade's conviction even though the affirmative defense instruction offered by Wade's trial counsel was legally incorrect. The court held that the district court had a duty to correctly instruct the jury on the defendant's theory of defense. The court then explained that the affirmative defense of parental discipline is based on an objective standard:

It is a defense to the charge of battery if a parent's use of physical force upon a child was reasonable and appropriate and with the purpose of safeguarding the child's welfare or maintaining discipline.

Overall, a very good opinion. It is nice to see the court recognize that there are more affirmative defenses than those set forth by the legislature.

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