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.Here is the decision (pdf).
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.
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.