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Posted on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Man who beat boy with leather belt to be released from jail Feb. 15

By Kyle Feldscher

The Pittsfield Township man convicted of striking a boy up to 15 times with a black leather belt will be released from jail in 15 days.

paulmagala.jpg

Paul Magala

Courtesy of WCSO

Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Melinda Morris sentenced Paul Magala, 37, to three years of probation for second-degree child abuse Thursday. Morris was standing in for Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge David Swartz, who was out because of a medical operation.

Morris followed the probation department’s recommendation of three years of probation for the one count of second-degree child abuse. The probation department recommended Magala serve 120 days in the Washtenaw County Jail, credit for 85 days already served, as a condition of his probation.

Morris ruled he serve 100 days in the jail, credit for 85 days served. That would allow Magala to be out of jail by mid-February.

Second-degree child abuse is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Magala apologized during his sentencing hearing Thursday, but most of his remarks before Morris were inaudible.

AnnArbor.com released the details of a search warrant affidavit from Magala’s case Wednesday. According to the police document, Magala struck a boy either 14 or 15 times with a black leather belt. The affidavit revealed Magala was angered by the boy’s refusal to eat a banana because it was not ripe.

Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor J. Samuel Holtz said statements Magala made to the probation department before he was sentenced showed he viewed the assault as discipline.

“He doesn’t understand why this is a serious situation, but it’s clear that it is,” Holtz said.

Morris viewed the video of the Dec. 30, 2011 assault that was provided to Child Protective Services before being turned over to Pittsfield Township police in November. Magala was charged with second-degree child abuse and third-degree child abuse on Nov. 7 and has been held in the Washtenaw County Jail on a $75,000 bond since his arraignment.

The boy did not get medical treatment following the assault, but Holtz said he suffered marks and bruising on his legs.

Magala’s attorney, Erika Julien, pointed out that Magala had no criminal history before the offense.

The charge of third-degree child abuse was dismissed Thursday as a part of a plea agreement.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.

Comments

gladys

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Is this poor excuse for a human being prohibited from having any contact with the child he beat? Probably not with that worthless Morris person in charge of his punishment.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

Atticus, I do know, but I'm not releasing that information. Because the child is a juvenile and the victim of a crime, I don't want to release any information that would identify him.

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7 p.m.

Kyle, do you know if the child is related to the man? Maybe I missed that when I read the article originally.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

Part of the conditions of his probation is that he must have the approval of CPS and the court to be in contact with the child.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

Monster Love - Here's the link to the MCL statute about second-degree child abuse. For a first offense, the maximum punishment is 10 years. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(gzjsp1e0qxosxlziljmvdc55))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectname=mcl-750-136b

MonsterLove

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 10 p.m.

Matt- Did you even read my reply? If you go to the bottom of the MCL page it has the compiler's notes, which are already attached to this thread. This incident was in 2011 which means it falls under the old law of which the maximum was 4 years. What amazes me is how you post on a topic without fully researching/reading the cited source.

Matt Cooper

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 8:37 p.m.

ML, it's amazing to me that you persist in doggedly insisting that you are right and everyone else is wrong, when in fact the very law citation you post to back up your claim clearly states: "4) Child abuse in the second degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment as follows: (a) For a first offense, not more than 10 years. (b) For a second or subsequent offense, not more than 20 years." According to YOUR cited law, the max for a first offense is ten years.

MonsterLove

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

'Compiler's Notes: Section 4 of Act 251 of 1988 provides: "All proceedings pending and liabilities existing at the time this amendatory act takes effect are saved and may be prosecuted according to the law in force when they are commenced pursuant to section 4a of chapter 1 of the Revised Statutes of 1846, being section 8.4a of the Michigan Compiled Laws."Enacting section 1 of Act 194 of 2012 provides:"Enacting section 1. This amendatory act shall be known and may be cited as "Dominick's Law".' http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(gzjsp1e0qxosxlziljmvdc55))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectname=mcl-750-136b *This incident happened in 2011, which would mean my previous posts regarding the maximum sentence are in fact CORRECT.

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

In my oppinion, if this is acceptable for this man to be jailed for spanking his child, I would like to see every teacher, principal, administrator, ect, who has ever paddled a child in the State of Michigan to be brought up on 2nd and 3rd degree child abuse charges! I'm so sick of living in a police state, and living in a society that thinks it's their job to raise other peoples children.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

Atticus, dougfair, & others. While I understand that the debate regarding spanking and child discipline is one many have closely held personal opinions about it does not have a close enough connection with this case to deem it worthy of debate here. The information we have regarding the case has been reported in Kyle's story above and any further debate on this thread will be subject for removal. Thanks for understanding.

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

Susan Ursus, I take offence to the notion that the way I was raised, the way my father was raised, and the way my grandfather was raised is a form of "bullying". This is a form of discipline that has been considered acceptable by billions of human beings for thousands and thousands of years. In it's correct implementation it is done out of love, and in the spirit of teaching our children right from wrong.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

Atticus - In the previous story, the search warrant affidavit states the child was struck once in the face during the incident.

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

Elena, I'm not sure why A2dotcom allowed you to post a comment that claimed the boy was hit in the face. Unless I'm missing something, it was never mention in this article. Hitiing a child anywhere other than on the but or leg is completely unaccepable.

Susan Ursus

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Standards of behavior change, and often for good reason. I do not hit my own children, because I see absolutely no reason to do so. But don't worry, Atticus: just because teachers can no longer strike students does not mean you will not be able to bully your own children. However, if I see someone beating a child with a belt, you better believe I'm calling the cops. Just because a person is a child doesn't mean he has no rights under the law.

Elena Chesney

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7:01 p.m.

Go spend one hour in an actual 'police state' and then see if you call beating a child (he hit him in the face, knocking him down after 10 minutes of hitting him with a belt for not eating a banana- please do not confuse this with 'spanking') and being held accountable a police state.

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

Rural mom, if you choose to not make your child eat his/her vegetables, that is your own personal choice. If you believe that allowing your child to be insubordinate is acceptable, and allowing your child to not comply with your directions is acceptable, that is your own personal choice. But please don't to force your misguided oppinion of how to raise a child on me or my family. Yes, I think the guy went to far, if he was spanking a young child full force with a belt. But I'm not sure if that was the case. And I certainly dont think that taking the child from his family is the correct decision. I would be more inclined to recomend some sort of counseling that teaches parent to not spank out of anger.

RuralMom

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

Just because something was done years ago, doesn't make it right today. Disciplining a child over food with a belt is totally overboard. Spanking is a cheap easy way out of real discipline of a child in my opinion, there are much more effective ways to correct bad behavior, of which food rejection is not a bad behavior however a personal choice.

dougfair

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

Why do you think this is an instance of parental discipline? I see no information in either this article, nor the original story Wednesday, that specifies the relationship between Mr. Magala and the boy. There is also no mention of the child's age. Was he 2? 9? The person who made the video is described as "a woman", with no detail about her relationship to either the boy or the abuser. So we don't know if this is a family or not. Maybe someone IS raising other people's child -- badly.

MonsterLove

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

Thank you!

Will

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Since we (the public) don't have information about the boy's relationship to this man, I am hoping that the authorities have thoroughly investigated this child's history. Some details of this sad story remind me of the three young people in Washtenaw County who were enslaved and beaten by a man for years who claimed to be their legal guardian.

pegret

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

So he was facing 10 years in prison for child abuse. But then he got lucky and faced Melinda Morris., mumbled inaudibly, showed no remorse or even understanding of the seriousness of his crime, and gets a slap on the wrist (not even a beating with a belt). Yeah, sure , that makes sense. I still don't understand who Magala is to this unfortunate young boy. Has that been mentioned and I just missed it? I sure hope the poor kid doesn't have to go back to the same environment.

Susan Ursus

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

Monster Love: If the present language is a result of the 2012 action, than 10 years might not in fact be the correct maximum. Good on you for pointing this out. In any case, 100 days is a lot less than 4 years. I would be a lot less upset by 4 years.

MonsterLove

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7:06 p.m.

@ Susan Ursus- Please see my previous reply.

Susan Ursus

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

You are wrong. It's 10 years. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(fiia1f2lzocslq55mkvu002p))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectname=mcl-750-136b

MonsterLove

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

The max is four 4 years on this charge, not 10. The author of this article is incorrect.

liekkio

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

...statements Magala made to the probation department before he was sentenced showed he viewed the assault as discipline. ...He doesn't understand why this is a serious situation Is Mr. Magala being released into the same living arrangements he was in before the arrest? If so, the above does not bode well for the boy.

MonsterLove

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

"Second-degree child abuse is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison." Fact Check- The max is four 4 years on this charge, not 10.

MonsterLove

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

Compiler's Notes: Section 4 of Act 251 of 1988 provides: "All proceedings pending and liabilities existing at the time this amendatory act takes effect are saved and may be prosecuted according to the law in force when they are commenced pursuant to section 4a of chapter 1 of the Revised Statutes of 1846, being section 8.4a of the Michigan Compiled Laws."Enacting section 1 of Act 194 of 2012 provides:"Enacting section 1. This amendatory act shall be known and may be cited as "Dominick's Law".' http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(gzjsp1e0qxosxlziljmvdc55))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectname=mcl-750-136b *This incident happened in 2011, which would mean my previous posts regarding the maximum sentence are in fact CORRECT.

Susan Ursus

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

Wrong. It's 10 years for a first offense. Source: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(fiia1f2lzocslq55mkvu002p))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectname=mcl-750-136b

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

"Washtenaw County Trail(sic) Court Judge David Swartz"

Julie Baker

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

That typo is fixed. Thanks.

Giarc

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Does the color of the belt really matter?

TheWarMachine

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

It didn't, until you decided to make it an issue. Trolling at it's best.

mady

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

From Bleeding-Heart judges, dear Lord, deliver us!!!!!!!!!!!!

christy

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

this is really sad. this poor boy is probably traumatized for life & afraid of this man & he's getting out with only 100 days served of a potential 10 year sentence? I was shocked when I read this after hearing about it on Ch 4 News the other night. Hopefully this young boy grows up with rehabilitation and eventually feels strength instead of defeat over this man. Obviously, our courts systems weren't on his side :(

Peter Eckstein

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

I'd feel a little better about this if I knew that the boy was being relocated to another time zone and the exact location being kept secret.

WalkingJoe

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Are you kidding me? So what if he had no criminal past, he beat a child over a banana.

RuralMom

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

He may not have had a criminal past, however didn't we read in the original article that this was not the first time he had some sort of interaction with authorities over abuse of this child?

music to my ear

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

O M G

Susan Ursus

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

When will we be rid of Melinda Morris? I thought she retired!

Susan Ursus

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

Basic Bob: The reason sentencing guidelines are called "guidelines" is because the judge can use her...judgement to go outside the guidelines, or indeed to refuse to accept the plea deal.

Basic Bob

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

We don't need judges who make up the rules as they go along. Then convicted criminals get released on technicalities. The punishment was appropriate according to sentencing guidelines, the probation department, and the prosecutor. Throw away the key isn't happening.

tdw

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

Whaat ???