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Judicial CP - March 1996

Corpun file 22636

The Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas, 3 March 1996

Teen picks paddling over detention

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DODGE CITY (AP) -- The choice was between juvenile detention or a spanking and probation.

To a 15-year-old boy convicted of burglary, the paddling was preferable, and a bailiff administered two swats to the youngster Friday in the judge's chambers.

The boy, whose name was not disclosed because he is a juvenile, had chosen the paddling at the urging of his parents, the Dodge City Daily Globe reported. The paddle, donated by an unidentified city business, was 1 inch thick and 18 inches long -- a 6-inch handle and a 12-inch blade with holes cut in it.

District Judge Van Z. Hampton had given the boy a choice between time in a state youth center and probation plus the spanking.

Shortly after the boy chose the spanking, he was taken to Hampton's chambers, along with the judge, Ford County Assistant Attorney Mark Cowell and defense attorney Barry Gunderson, who witnessed the paddling.

The Ford County prosecutor's office opposed the paddling.

"Our policy is that corporal punishment is not allowed under the juvenile statutes," Cowell said.

Gunderson said he did not object because the boy and his parents agreed to the punishment.

Hampton said he spent a lot of time considering paddling as a sentence.

"I only did it because I thought it was right," Hampton told the newspaper. "As a matter of philosophy, I have considered alternative dispositions ... to try and help find some way to help these kids. In this case, the parents supported that."

Corpun file 19465


The National Enquirer, Boca Raton, Florida, 25 March 1996

Lawmaker's remedy for teen hoodlums:

Paddle 'em in public

By Philip Smith

A lawmaker is spanking mad over teenage vandalism -- and he's whipped up a furor by proposing that culprits be publicly paddled.

"Young vandals need a good old-fashioned bare-bottom spanking," New Hampshire state Rep. Philip Cobbin told The ENQUIRER.

"They need to understand that if they step out of line, we as a society are not going to tolerate it."

A controversial bill to let courts order the spanking of graffiti vandals was turned down by the California Assembly on January 31. But Cobbin, 42, is pushing ahead with his drive to tan the hides of young vandals in his state.

"I'm not talking about caning them Singapore-style, as young American Michael Fay was for vandalizing cars.

"I'm talking about giving them a simple spanking to show them there are consequences to their actions.

"So I've introduced a bill stating that if you're over 12 years of age, you will be spanked in public on the bare bottom if you commit an act of vandalism.

"Once a jury determines that spanking is appropriate, the sentence will be announced in the local paper and then the sheriff will carry it out for all to see at the site where the vandalism occurred.

"He will be allowed to administer up to 10 whacks.

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"I haven't specified how it should be done, but I see nothing wrong with an old-fashioned wooden paddle.

"When I first introduced my bill, some people started jumping up and down screaming, 'That's barbaric! These kids will be stigmatized for life!'

"I'm tired of all the psychobabble spouted by psychologists saying we shouldn't spank kids, that violence only breed violence.

"Talk like that has taken us down the road to where the very fabric of our society is being destroyed by gangs and drugs. Once kids see we mean business, and a few of them are publicly spanked, I think we'll see a marked drop in vandalism."

But Rick Trombley, Democratic leader of the New Hampshire House, thinks the physical punishment bill is a pain in the butt.

"Spanking people publicly to shame them is going back to the punishment the Pilgrims used here in New England -- and it's a real step backward," he said.

"I think pulling down the pants of a 16-year-old girl in public and then having a male sheriff spank her is an obscene type of punishment.

"And what about the liability problem for the state? What if a person's medical problem is worsened by a spanking?

"There are far more constructive, more appropriate forms of punishment for vandals.

"If there's graffiti, you can get the culprits to clean it up. You can fine them. If they continue, you can incarcerate them. History has shown us that while corporal punishment hurts children in the short term, it doesn't stop them in the long run if they're inclined to bad behavior."

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