3405.Parental Right to Punish a Child
A (parent/guardian/ <insert title of other person legally
permitted to discipline the child>) is not guilty of <insert
crime> if (he/she) used (justiﬁable physical force/ [(a/or) another]
justiﬁable method) to discipline a child. (Physical force/ [or]
<insert other method of punishment>) is justiﬁable if a
reasonable person would ﬁnd that punishment was necessary under the
circumstances and that the (physical force/ [or] method) used was
The People must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the (force/ [or]
method of punishment) used was not justiﬁable. If the People have not
met this burden, you must ﬁnd the defendant not guilty of
New January 2006
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on the right of a parent to discipline a
child. (People v. Whitehurst (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 1045, 1049 [12 Cal.Rptr.2d 33].)
• Instructional Requirements. People v. Whitehurst (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 1045,
1049–1051 [12 Cal.Rptr.2d 33].
• Lawful Forms of Discipline. People v. Checketts (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 1190,
1194 [84 Cal.Rptr.2d 491].
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Sex Offenses and
Crimes Against Decency, § 165.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 142,
Crimes Against the Person, §§ 142.13[a], 142.23 (Matthew Bender).
Reasonable acts of discipline include conﬁnement to a particular location for
disciplinary purposes. However, conﬁning a child for an unlawful purpose or with
the intent to endanger the child’s health and safety is not a reasonable exercise of
parental authority. (People v. Checketts (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 1190, 1194, 1195
[84 Cal.Rptr.2d 491].)