Following the lead of Singapore's hard line on vandals, a California lawmaker is looking at the possibility of publicly paddling juveniles for property crimes.
Orange County Assemblyman Mickey Conroy said Friday youngsters convicted of painting graffiti or other vandalism should be publicly paddled by their parents.Conroy, a Republican, said he began pursuing the idea after U.S. teenager Michael Fay received a four-stroke caning for vandalism in Singapore earlier this month.
"What we have to start doing is making sure there is some public humility for people who do things that shouldn't be done," Conroy said.
Conroy asked legislative attorneys to draft an opinion on the legality of publicly paddling juveniles for their crimes.
The concept was criticized by several legal scholars who said paddling could constitute unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment and would do little to deter crime.
"This is one more example of a proposal that serves to express community outrage at criminal action, but does nothing constructive to address the problems," said Peter Arenella, professor of law at the University of California-Los Angeles.
But Conroy said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently suggested that such punishment would pass constitutional muster. The lawmaker pointed out that 23 states still use corporal punishment in schools.