Judge Who Offered Spanking Option Now Fighting For Legislation

POSTED: Monday, March 30, 2009 - 5:39pm

UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 12:33pm

A judge who normally hands down punishments is in some trouble of his own tonight -- for courtroom procedures he enforced. You may remember Precinct 6 Justice of the Peace Gustavo Garza ended up inside Cameron County courtrooms last year for spankings in his courtroom.
To spank or not to spank, that was the option judge Garza offered to parents of students, busted for skipping school.
Now, the Commission on Judicial Conduct, didn't like his spanking option, so they just issued Garza a public warning.
Late last year, a few Valley families sued Judge Gustavo Garza for offering the spanking option, where parents used a wooden paddle to whack, their truant teens on their behinds in court.
Although, it was the parents who spanked their kids, they still sued, because they said, it was a humiliating experience for all of them.
Today, Judge Garza tells News Center 23, all those lawsuits have been dismissed, but after an investigation early this year, the Judicial Commission found him in violation of the Judicial Code of Conduct.
Judge Garza says, he's not happy with his public warning punishment, but he still stands by his decision to offer his spanking option.
"It was something that was very needed and i believe it has a very positive impact on the students, families, and the community," Judge Garza says.
He's still defending his spanking option. He no longer offers it his in court, but if a parent wants to spank their kids, he strongly believes it's a parent's prerogative.
Garza says, truancy is a serious issue.
When kids, ditch school, he says, it costs the school district $330.
It's not only a loss of money, but time and instruction too.
Now, Judge Garza is fighting for legislation to make it clear whether judges can use spanking as an option in their courtroom.
He's already sent a letter to Senator Lucio, asking for legislation, authorizing parents to paddle.

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