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Can a person be held responsible for what he does in the disoriented moments of first awakening?

Saint Paul, MN |

He gave his 3yr old a slap on the bottom when awakening to her and the room covered in her feces. His ex-took her to see the doc the next day, who stated there was no sign of abuse as there would be bruising. but she called 911 and claimed child abuse. This appears to be done out of spite as she wants to move out of state with the child but he does not want that to happen, so she is trying to get his rights taken away. The Podunk town they are in is making a mountain out of a mole hill. The judge seems biased towards the mother, as he was neighbors with the father's ex-girlfriend who turned out to be bipolar and troublesome. The father is now facing 11 years prison time and a large amount in fines for 2 or 3 felonies and a gross misdemeanor, all for a slap on the bottom.

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Attorney answers 5


Father needs a lawyer immediately, both to help with potential criminal charges and to advocate for his custody rights with his son.

Disclaimer: This email message in no way creates an attorney client relationship between Majeski Law, LLC and the recipient. Responses are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. You should consult a lawyer regarding any specific legal matter.


The father needs an attorney. If he is deemed indigent by the court, one will be appointed for him. If not, he will need to retain one. The MN and St. Paul bar associations can provide referrals.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


This sounds, from your description, like father will have a good legal defense to these charges. Of course, a full review of all the facts would be necessary. It is very important that he retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to help defense against these charges though. There is also the potential for a child protection case. I have experience doing both. You can contact me at 612-223-7286 to speak further about your case.


Yes, in a family court proceeding a court can consider the care of a child even if the alleged incident occurred when the parent was just waking up. The conduct still has a bearing on the child's safety. It is e=well established by case law, however, that not ever swat on the behind constitutes abuse. the nature and degree must be considered.

In a criminal proceeding for assault, the actor must have the requisite "intent" to be found guilty of a crime. As a result, his.her state of mind is important. Again, not every punishment for a child equates to malicious punishment or assault.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in this email message creates an attorney client relationship absent a retainer agreement with this office. Any response to email inquiries should be considered general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult a lawyer in your state regarding your specific legal matter. Visit online at


He needs to speak with a lawyer, either a private attorney or a public defender, so that he can fully be informed of his rights. After reviewing discovery, that attorney could properly answer his questions and begin to prepare his defense.

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