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Texas Justice may leave you red and sore-bottomed

paddle.jpgA Justice of the Peace in Southern Texas has been sued just because he tried to get a little creative — Justice Gustavo Garza has been offering parents the option of paddling their out-of-control kids. When Daniel Zurita was before Justice Garza over issues involving his 15-year-old daughter skipping school, Justice Garza offered Zurita a decision: pay a $500 fine, or give your daughter a paddlin’. Zurita begrudgingly paddled his daughter in open-court, and he, his wife and daughter are now suing Garza over this paddlin’ policy:

“It is lawful,” said Garza, who said he has practiced law for 26 years, including work as a prosecutor in Willacy and Cameron counties. Garza stressed that he never ordered a parent to paddle a child, he simply offered it as an option in place of a fine and a misdemeanor mark on their records.
Mark Sossi, who is representing Josie Vasquez and her parents Mary Vasquez and Zurita, said it is not much of an option.
“It’s not really a choice when your choice is buying groceries or spanking your child,” Sossi said. And doing it in open court in front of other parents and juveniles caused “humiliation, fear and mental anguish,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that Garza told Zurita he did not hit his stepdaughter hard enough. Garza said he did not recall the specific case with Vasquez, but did say some parents paddle with more gusto than others.