Commonwealth v. Ogin

540 A.2d 549 (1988)

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Commonwealth v. Ogin

Pennsylvania Superior Court
540 A.2d 549 (1988)

Facts

Parents Glynn Wildoner and Debby Ogin (defendants) were convicted of simple assault and of endangering the welfare of their children. The conviction stemmed from three incidents involving the couple’s baby daughter. When April was 17 months old, she and her three-year-old brother failed to remain right in front of their building while playing as Debby had ordered. Debbie then dragged April by one arm and threw her against the building. April screamed for several minutes. A few months later, during a long wait to take pictures with Santa Claus, April reached up for Debby to pick her up twice. Both times, Debby backhanded April in the face. The second time, Debby struck April with such force that April fell back against a brick wall, resulting in a lump on April’s head. About two months later, when April did not immediately begin to eat a plate of hot spaghetti, Glynn shoved it in April’s face, which caused swelling and burns. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (plaintiff) brought criminal charges and removed three children from the parents’ home. At trial, the parents denied they had ever treated April as testified to by witnesses. A jury convicted the parents of simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child, and both parents appealed. The appeals were consolidated. On appeal, the parents argued that they were not guilty of assault because they did not cause bodily injury as required by § 2701 of the Crimes Code. Further, the parents argued they were not guilty of child endangerment because they did not violate a duty to protect their child or knowingly endanger April as required by § 4303. Finally, the parents argued that § 509, which permits parents to use justifiable force to discipline their children, provided a basis for their justification defense.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Beck, J.)

Concurrence (Cavanaugh, J.)

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