Spankings or Jail? One State lawmaker says let them have a choice
Rep. Jerry O'Neil Proposes "Corporal Punishment" for Offenders
By Ashley Davis, Thu, January 31, 2013
A lawmaker in Montana is attempting to pass a law that gives criminals the option of choosing "corporal punishment in lieu of incarceration."
Rep. Jerry O'Neil, a Republican, said the legislation would apply for misdemeanor crimes and some felonies.
It states: "for purposes of this section, 'corporal punishment' means the infliction of physical pain on a defendant to carry out the sentence negotiated between the judge and the defendant."
The nature and level of pain will equal the "severity, nature, and degree of the harm caused by the offender."
Punishment will be carried out by local sheriffs if the offender choses to avoid jail time.
The actual method of inflicting pain has not been discussed.
Despite attempting to "tamp down" any bills that Democrats might use to embarrass the GOP, O'Neil is sticking with this legislation.
John S. Adams of the Great Falls Tribune wrote on his blog, "Republican leadership has been doing its best to tamp down any potential bills the other side might use to embarrass the GOP as they work to craft a budget. This one apparently didn't get tamped."
The lawmaker has a history of public controversy.
O'Neil previously demanded that the state pay his salary in silver and gold because he misread a portion of the U.S. Constitution that forbids states from making their own paper currency.
You can read the bill here.
from the bill:
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Corporal punishment in lieu of incarceration. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person convicted of any offense by a court in this state, whether a misdemeanor or felony, may during a sentencing hearing as provided in 46-18-115 bargain with the court for the imposition of corporal punishment in lieu of or to reduce the term of any sentence of incarceration available to the court for imposition.
(2) The court and the person convicted of an offense shall negotiate the exact nature of the corporal punishment to be imposed, which must be commensurate with the severity, nature, and degree of the harm caused by the offender. If the court and the offender cannot agree on the exact nature of the corporal punishment to be imposed, the court shall impose a sentence as provided in 46-18-201.
(3) The imposition of a sentence under this section must be carried out by the sheriff of the county in which the crime occurred if the sentence for corporal punishment reduced or eliminated the term of incarceration in the county jail or by the department of corrections if the sentence reduced or eliminated the term of incarceration in the state prison. Any imposition of sentence pursuant to this section must be carried out within a reasonable time.
(4) For purposes of this section, "corporal punishment" means the infliction of physical pain on a defendant to carry out the sentence negotiated between the judge and the defendant.
Should states get in the business of doling out spankings rather than jail time?