Edmonds Councilmember Dave Orvis acquitted of assaulting son

Edmonds City Councilmember Dave Orvis was acquitted Tuesday of assaulting his 13-year-old son in a case that turned on how much force a parent can use to discipline a difficult teenager, according to My Edmonds News online news partner The Seattle Times.

The small Snohomish County District Court room in Everett erupted in cheers after the verdict was read, the Times reported. Family members who had sat through the two-day trial embraced the 41-year-old Orvis, a software engineer in his third term on the council, and his wife, Martha, a Lynnwood High School special-education teacher.

Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Jesse Corkern told jurors that Orvis had “crossed the line” when he grabbed his son by the hair and dragged him down a hall at the family’s Edmonds home after the boy refused to do his homework and repeatedly told his father to “shut up” in May, the Times reported. The boy wasn’t injured, but he ran away a week later and when he was found, he told police he was afraid of being hurt if he returned home, according to a police report.

Read the entire Seattle Times story here.

  1. I wasn’t there, so I won’t judge the defendant. But, the jurors, in their post-trial interviews, clearly misinterpreted the law, substituting their personal standard of what constitutes abuse for that of laws of the State of Washington. This is exactly what jurors are not supposed to do. Whoever briefed the jury on the rules, should be fired.

  2. WoW! aquitted. That is disappointing ~ gosh….can Orvis still, please, attend Anger Management classes?

    Adrienne Fraley-Monillas says on her facebook page, “Its good to see the truth come out!” what the heck does THAT mean?? Orvis *didn’t* drag his cop-a-tude kid by his hair up and/or down the stairs of their home? hmmmm…What part of this sad, sordid story, reported by The Beacon and The Enterprise WASN’T true, Adrienne?

  3. So how many times do you have to beat your child’s head against a desk before it is illegal? How many flight of stairs can you drag your child, by his hair, down before it is no longer okay?

  4. I was in the jury selection process and the jurors were briefed appropriately. This was not a case of abuse. Todd, what are the definitions of abuse according to Washington state law?
    Oh, let me tell you…
    According to WAC 388-15-009 says:
    (2) Physical discipline of a child, including the reasonable use of corporal punishment, is not considered abuse when it is reasonable and moderate and is inflicted by a parent or guardian for the purposes of restraining or correcting the child. The age, size, and condition of the child, and the location of any inflicted injury shall be considered in determining whether the bodily harm is reasonable or moderate. Other factors may include the developmental level of the child and the nature of the child’s misconduct. A parent’s belief that it is necessary to punish a child does not justify or permit the use of excessive, immoderate or unreasonable force against the child.

    It further defines abuse as:

    (1) Physical abuse means the nonaccidental infliction of physical injury or physical mistreatment on a child. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, such actions as:

    (a) Throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child;

    (b) Striking a child with a closed fist;

    (c) Shaking a child under age three;

    (d) Interfering with a child’s breathing;

    (e) Threatening a child with a deadly weapon;

    (f) Doing any other act that is likely to cause and which does cause bodily harm greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks or which is injurious to the child’s health, welfare or safety.

    Now, I’ve had my hair pulled and kind of like it….

    Using the hair (which this kid had a lot of) is not defined under sections a-e… and at most could not have been greater than transient pain. No hair was pulled out and would have only resulted in moderate discomfort. The kid has a LONG history of causing problems.

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