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Corporal Punishment Was Child Abuse, Says NJ Appellate Court

07
Sep
2010

by in Criminal Defense

DYFS v. C.H., ? N.J. Super. ?, 2010 N.J. Super. LEXIS 146 (July 28, 2010) – “Appellant C.H. appeals from a final administrative agency decision by the Director of the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (Division) finding that on November 20, 2003, appellant had committed an act of child abuse as defined by N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c)(4)(b) by failing to exercise a minimum degree of care by unreasonably inflicting excessive corporal punishment upon her daughter, T.H. We affirm….

The Director issued a final agency decision rejecting the recommendation of the ALJ. The Director found striking T.H. ‘repeatedly with a paddle, multiple times and with sufficient force to cause marks could certainly qualify as abuse per N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c)(4)(b)[.]’ Additionally, the Director expressed the view that when consideration is given to the reason why C.H. admittedly struck her daughter, because she told the neighbor there was no electricity in their home, C.H.’s actions went ‘beyond any semblance of reason, and provide[d] no justification for C.H.’s decision to administer any measure of corporal punishment’ to a five-year old child…. The evidence presented regarding the Division’s prior experience with C.H. was relevant to meeting this burden. The ALJ permitted the Division to introduce evidence of its prior experience with C.H. in connection with an earlier referral as relevant to the issue of C.H.’s knowledge that the manner in which she was disciplining T.H. was of concern to the Division. Contrary to C.H.’s argument on appeal, this evidence was also relevant to the likelihood that she would continue to expose T.H. to the unjustifiable discipline to which she exposed T.H. on November 20, 2003. We are persuaded that there was more than sufficient evidence in the record demonstrating that the ALJ’s ultimate findings that the incident of November 20, 2003 was isolated and that abuse had not been substantiated were not supported by the record.”

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