Parental Rights

As the family unit continues to unravel, divorces increase, and courts issue orders to support abandoned children and single parents.

The parent/child relationship is a constitutionally protected privacy right, a privilege, which has received judicial protection for centuries. One of the critical issues for the family law practitioner is when and how to defend the parent/child relationship. Social activists are aggressively prosecuting parents who use corporal punishment and in so doing have overturned centuries of responsible parenting techniques which have served society. Dooley is experienced in vindicating the right of parents to rear their children according to the parents own faith and culture.

In a recent case, Dooley successfully defended a single mother in western Wisconsin who had spanked her children and caused a bruise. The prosecutor dismissed the case but only after two experts affirmed that her discipline was appropriate and prevented her children from injuring each other.

Two weeks before the spanking, a specialist had prescribed two antibiotic drugs which combined to predispose the child to bruising. The spanking that caused the bruises was so painless that the child forgot it within thirty minutes. She apologized to her mother and slept without difficulty.

Neither child nor mother knew the bruises had appeared. The bruises which the YMCA worker’s disclosed to the police disappeared within days and without scars. Both children were taken from the mother for six months and returned only after she hired attorney Dooley. Dooley did what the County should have done. He investigated. He engaged a home safety expert and a forensic pediatrician. Neither the investigating officer nor the County’s pediatrician conducted any fact investigation whatsoever.

Unfortunately, this factually baseless felony prosecution has already intimated twenty-five other parents whose children were predisposed to bruising. They elected to sign plea agreements. These agreements jeopardize the employment future and credit of those innocent parents.

What’s next? Children will be quizzed at school, “Does your mother or father spank you?”
Dooley understands criminality and brutality. Not every parent who strikes his or her child is innocent of child abuse. But clearly some are and they should have effective council.