Sunday, June 03, 2012

Dad sentenced for kidnapping

Reuters reports:
NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters) - A divided New York Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that custodial parents can be convicted of kidnapping their children.

The 4-3 majority ruling upheld the 2009 conviction of Leo Leonard, who was charged with kidnapping, criminal possession of a weapon, burglary and endangering the welfare of a child.

Leonard was accused of holding his 6-week-old daughter at knifepoint after police arrived at his former girlfriend's home to investigate a reported domestic dispute.

He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Judge Robert Smith, writing for the majority, noted that the Court of Appeals was following in the footsteps of top appellate courts in Arizona, Florida and Iowa, in acknowledging that "kidnapping by a custodial parent of his own child is not a legal impossibility." ...

In dissent, Judge Theodore Jones, joined by judges Carmen Ciparick and Eugene Pigott, said there was not enough evidence presented to prove that Leonard had known that he was unlawfully restraining his daughter and that the infant had been moved or confined "without consent."

Jones also criticized the majority for using elements of child endangerment to support the separate kidnapping charge.
Here is the decision (pdf).

This is another example of judges ignoring the law to find ways to punish fathers.

There are criminal laws against child abuse, neglect, and endangerment. If the dad did one of those, he could be prosecuted. But how is it kidnapping? If the dad has custody of the toddler, then he is supposed to be controlling the child's whereabouts, whether the child gives permission or not.

More and more, judges, social workers, shrinks, and others are second-guessing parents and undermining their authority. Worse, they just make it up as they go along.


Hack said...

Love your blog. Will be adding you to our blogroll.

Anonymous said...

Did you miss the part about him being at his former girlfriend's apartment ? Did you miss the part about the baby being held at knifepoint ?

I don't think he deserves a 25 year sentence, but what do you thnk about his parenting practices ? Or is it simply a case of the courts hatred towards fathers ?

George said...

If I were passing judgment on his parenting practices, then I would need to hear more of the story. As I said, he might deserve prosecution for what he did. But the charge at issue was kidnapping, and it was not kidnapping.

Anonymous said...

Definition of KIDNAP

: to seize and detain or carry away by unlawful force or fraud and often with a demand for ransom


Need to hear more of the story before passing judgement on his parenting practices ? Under what circumstances might it ever be a good idea to hold your baby at knifepoint ?

George said...

I try not to make judgments without hearing the full story. We don't know why the man did what he did, or if he did it. But are you arguing that anything that is a bad idea should be charged as kidnapping?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for telling me what it is I'm arguing.

As far as making judgements without hearing the full story, that's what you do.

Did you see the definition of kidnap ?

George said...

The dictionary definition of kidnap includes seizing with unlawful force. If you put a baby in his crib, you are seizing with force, but it is not unlawful if you have legal custody.

I say you cannot kidnap your own child just as you cannot steal your own money. Suppose you dynamited your house to get the money out of the attic. I would say that is a bad idea, and foolish, and possibly subject to prosecution, but it is not stealing because it is your own house and your own money.

Yes, I sometimes make inferences about the rest of the story. In this case, the story is that an appeals court has expanded the definition of kidnapping, and that is what I am disagreeing with. Whatever other crimes the man may or may not have committed are not relevant to my point.