Justice of the Paddle
A Texas justice of the peace who had brought corporal punishment back to his court room was sued for the action this week. The offending justice, Gustavo Garza, was sued by a number of families who believe the punishment to be inappropriate and unfair. The legality of corporal punishment is still under question in the US as certain actions have been outlawed in a number of states while others have not been as quick to rule on what is or is not considered child abuse. Texas is considered to be legally one of the “most violent” states toward children as the state does not currently have laws against physical punishment of children in schools. Despite the allowance of paddling in schoolrooms and at home, the definition of corporal punishment ends there. Justice Garza, entrusted with the power to determine punishment in misdemeanor cases, has interpreted that to mean he can offer two forms of punishment for troubled teens; heavy fines or public paddling. Most families have chosen to use the paddle because they cannot afford the fines that remain their only other option. In response to Justice Garza’s judgment, a district judge has ruled that until the lawsuit is settled he must suspend all such punishments.