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TRO Issued Against Courtroom Paddlings Despite Judge’s Demonstration

Posted Jun 12, 2008 6:11 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Texas judge has been temporarily barred from allowing courtroom paddlings of truant children until a lawsuit over the practice is resolved.

State District Judge Abel Limas issued a temporary restraining order yesterday, the Brownsville Herald reports.

Texas Judge Gustavo Garza was sued over his practice of giving parents the option of paddling their children or paying a $500 fine. He demonstrated the paddling procedure during the hearing yesterday at the request of a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

As he bent down, Garza complained, "I find your approach trying to embarrass me." During the hearing he defended the practice.

"I think that discipline works," Garza said of paddling. "It's effective. It's efficient. It's immediate. There are no questions."

The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Mark Sossi, said a Cameron County lawyer representing Garza rejected his offer to drop the case if Garza apologized and agreed to stop paddling, the Associated Press reports.

Garza is "basically turning the courtroom into something more resembling The Jerry Springer Show than a court of law," Sossi said.

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