Considering different cultures and upbringings, what’s the line between how a parent disciplines children and the law?
James Knox: I don’t think that the law takes into account a particular person’s culture or race regarding how to discipline a child. And we’ve seen that recently in the Adrian Peterson case, which is out of Texas. Again, that was his defense through his attorney was that that’s how he was raised and so therefore that’s how he actually disciplined his children. California doesn’t distinguish that, nor do I think Texas does, either, as far as the reports and news that I have read on that case. So I don’t think there’s a difference. The law is the law, essentially. It is written there.
There might be some issues regarding the intent of the party, but these are typically general-intent crimes which don’t require a specific intent on the party. So it might be addressed. It might be something that could be used to lessen the offense in mitigation, especially if you were to consider his case, Adrian Peterson’s case, he doesn’t appear to have had any other prior problems with the law. This is his only run-in, at least that I’ve read of.
And that’s probably how I would defend that particular case, the same way that at least his attorney is now. You’d raise the issue, this is the way that he was raised, in an effort to try to mitigate his responsibility. But as far as the law is concerned, it does not – it’s not a defense for Adrian Peterson.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.