In a recent case – State v Victor and Victor – a Louisiana court convicted a man of murder for beating his son to death and his wife of manslaughter for failing to prevent it.

It’s interesting to compare this case with Jordan Lebeau’s essay in the Boston Globe on why African American families may tend, on apparently rational grounds, to retain corporal punishment for their children.

It seems to me that a practice can be justified if it retains a rational justification (cf this article from the Pacific Legal Foundation), or at least a non-insane justification. But when that practice will inevitably throw up at least one or two cases that end in death for one party and imprisonment for another? That seems to me too high a price.