In a recent appeal from the defendant’s conviction for assault & battery for spanking his child, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the father should have been permitted to assert at trial the ‘parental privilege’ defense. See Commonwealth v. Dorvil.
In this case, the defendant was charged and convicted with assault & battery for spanking his daughter, who was almost three years old at the time. At trial, the defendant argued that the evidence against him was insufficient to convict him for the crime of assault & battery because, as a parent, he had a privilege to use force in order to discipline his minor child. The Appeals Court first considered the issue and denied his appeal. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court thereafter considered the issue and reversed his conviction. Continue reading →