Posts tagged "Lark"

Commonwealth v. Lark (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-082-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   15-P-411                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MELVIN LARK, JR.     No. 15-P-411.     July 13, 2016.     Assault and Battery.  Parent and Child, Discipline.  Practice, Criminal, Instructions to jury.     Following a jury trial in the District Court, the defendant, Melvin Lark, Jr., was convicted of assault and battery.  The victim was his fiancée’s eight year old son.  On appeal, the defendant contends that the Commonwealth presented insufficient evidence to disprove his parental privilege defense and, in the alternative, that the judge’s instruction on parental privilege was erroneous.[1]  We affirm.   Background.  A school counsellor at the victim’s school informed the victim’s mother that he needed a ride home because he had been involved in an altercation with another student.  The mother, in turn, asked the defendant to pick up the victim from the school.  Upon the defendant’s arrival, the victim refused to leave the school and then protested getting into the defendant’s Jeep.  A passerby noticed the defendant yelling at the victim.  She watched as he got into the back seat and the defendant got into the driver’s seat.  Through the tinted windows, the passerby saw the defendant reach into the back seat and strike the victim several times.  The victim had his hands up as the Jeep was “rocking.”  In addition, the school counsellor saw the commotion in the Jeep from a school window.  She ran outside, where she saw the defendant hitting the victim as he moved around in the back seat.  The victim eventually jumped out of the Jeep and ran back to the school as the defendant drove away.  At some point later, a friend of the victim’s mother came to collect him and noticed that he had a scratch over his eye.   Parental privilege defense.  Following the defendant’s conviction, the Supreme Judicial Court issued Commonwealth v. Dorvil, 472 Mass. 1 (2015), which refined the common-law parental privilege affirmative defense to a charge of assault and battery.  The Dorvil framework provides that “a parent or guardian may not be subjected to criminal liability for the use of force against a minor child . . . provided that (1) the force used against the minor child is reasonable; (2) the force is reasonably related to the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the minor, including the prevention or punishment of the minor’s misconduct; and […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 18, 2016 at 3:38 am

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