It’s All About How You Frame It

An Indiana woman beat her kid with a coat hanger, and her lawyer tried to get leniency using a religious freedom law which had nothing to do about beating your kids.  She got probation.

So here are the headlines as they appear in my email/Google Alert:


Yes, the real story isn’t that she was called to account for beating her kid, or that they worked out a plea deal…but that after she raised the religious freedom argument, she then got probation.

I know the local criminal justice/social services area pretty well.  It’s rare that a first-time offending parent charged with beating a child will see anything worse than probation, unless the violence is so extreme as to cause permanent injury.

I am not lessening what she did.  If I wasn’t someone who prayed for forgiveness for everybody — I’d be calling for a short stint in jail and a longer time in hell.

Chicago Tribune:

The 30-year-old mother was charged with battery on a person less than 14 years old and neglect of a dependent, both of which are felony charges that were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, online court records show. [Kin Park] Thaing pleaded guilty to battery with moderate bodily injury, which is punishable by up to a year in jail in Indiana.

She was sentenced to a year in jail, but will be on probation. That might mean she actually has to avoid getting in trouble again.   Again, I’d hope for the maximum punishment but she is getting a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, which sadly, is exactly how it works these days.

Erase the ‘religious freedom law’ (which always has scare quotes) and these things will still work this way.

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