3 Proposals for Public Beatings Urged
The Associated Press
May. 25, 1994
Undated (AP) _ Inspired by the caning of an American in Singapore, three legislators are pushing proposals to adopt a similar practice in the United States.
California Assemblyman Mickey Conroy became the latest. On Tuesday, he announced his introduction of a bill to paddle juveniles convicted of graffiti vandalism.
His move followed attempts to introduce similar bills by a Sacramento city councilman and St. Louis alderman. The first was tabled; the second failed to get out of committee.
''My goal is to humble these punks early on so we don't seek them later in court as murderers,'' Conroy, a Republican from Orange County, said at a Capitol news conference.
His bill would require juveniles convicted of graffiti vandalism to be paddled in Juvenile Court by their parents with up to 10 whacks of a wooden paddle. If the parents don't hit hard enough, the judge could order the bailiff to continue. The juvenile's name also would be made public.
Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, a Democrat, opposed to the bill. He said juvenile sentences should be tougher, but paddling is ''not appropriate in this democracy.'' He predicted it would be challenged in court.
He said vandals should be ordered to clean up graffiti, in addition to other penalties such as time in Juvenile Hall.
Last week, Sacramento City Councilman Josh Pane proposed paddling graffiti vandals in a park across from City Hall. But the City Council tabled his proposal without discussion May 17.
A committee of St. Louis alderman on Tuesday refused to second a resolution by Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. that would have sought a legal opinion on whether canings were legal.
Earlier this month Singapore held the much publicized caning of 18-year-old Michael Fay, who was convicted of spray-painting cars and other vandalism.
''It's inhumane in my view and has absolutely no place in a civilized society,'' Alderman Francis Slay said.
''I think the way to get their attention is to do what their parents should have done, and that is to put the belt to their behinds,'' said Bosley, the 58-year-old father of St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.
In fact, the elder Bosley said his son's success may be attributable, in part, to occasional trips to the woodshed.
''I've put the strap to the mayor,'' he said.
Bosley said he has not discussed the proposal with his son, who was out of town Tuesday and unavailable for comment.
The last state to use whipping as a punishment for crime was Delaware, which flogged its last criminal - a man who broke into a house and beat a woman - in 1952 and abolished the punishment 20 years later. In 1989, a state senator proposed whipping drug dealers, but the bill never came to a vote.