November 15, 1997

U.S. woman to appeal conviction for slapping daughter

DETROIT, Nov 14 (Reuters) - A woman found guilty of assault and battery for disciplining her 14-year-old daughter with a slap across the face said on Friday she plans to appeal the misdemeanor conviction.

Katherine Herren, 32, told Reuters in a telephone interview that she plans to fight the conviction, handed down by a jury on Thursday, because it could prevent some parents from taking proper disciplinary action.

``I just think the judicial system crossed the line. It's a horrible message to parents,'' Herren said. ``There's a lot of parents who are afraid to do anything now to control their kids. Kids probably think this is really cool because they can do whatever they want now.''

The charge is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine, but Judge Brian MacKenzie said Herren would not have to spend time in jail and could get the charges dropped if she completes a counseling and probation program.

The case stemmed from a July 19 scuffle between Herren and her daughter, Amber Russell, at the family's mobile home in the western Detroit suburb of Novi, Michigan, after Amber left the house despite being told to stay in.

Amber testified that when she returned home she swore at her mother and stepfather and said she had hit her mother first, and that her mother then slapped her across the face.

Amber was ordered by a judge to stay with her paternal grandmother while the case was pending, but embraced her mother after the verdict and moved back home with her on Thursday. REUTERS

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