Friday, November 15, 2019

child abuse - expungement - substantial pain - duration of bruise

J.S v. Departmnt of Human Services – Cmwlth. Court – reported, precedential – November 15, 2019

The ALJ’s determinations that Father disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk and caused Child substantial pain are both inconsistent with case law and unsupported by the record.  P.R. v. Department of Public Welfare, 801 A.2d 478 (Pa. 2002)11W.S. v. Department of Public Welfare, 882 A.2d 541 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005); Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth & Families v. Department of Human Services, 202 A.3d 155 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2018). 

“Without substantial proof” that Child’s pain “was more than the regrettable result of corporal punishment,” we will not rely on such result “to presuppose the element of unjustifiable risk” that would support a finding of criminal negligence. P.R., 801 A.2d at 487.  To the extent the ALJ assumed a correlation between the duration of a bruise and a degree of pain, the ALJ erred.