TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A single spank doesn't qualify as domestic violence, an appellate court ruled Friday.
A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal unanimously reversed an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
It cited common law and a 2002 Florida Supreme Court ruling that says reasonable or non-excessive corporal punishment can be used as a defense against child abuse charges.
Circuit Judge Karen Gievers of Tallahassee had issued the injunction against a father identified in the ruling only as "G.C."
He had been accused by his former wife of spanking their 14-year-old daughter once on the buttocks with his hand.
The father said the teen had been disrespectful and defiant. The girl said she was only being sarcastic.
"We hold that under established Florida law this single spank constituted reasonable and non-excessive parental corporal discipline and, as a matter of law, was not domestic violence," the appeal judges wrote in an unsigned opinion.
That's even though the domestic violence law doesn't explicitly say so.
The judges, though, wrote "neither does it exclude the common law defense" that parents can administer reasonable and non-excessive corporal punishment.
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