Judge David Smith presided over the case stemming from Oct. 23, 2008 when the mother spanked her 11-year-old son with what she referred to as a "spank stick."
The spank stick is actually a plastic kitchen spatula; the mother said she learned years ago not to spank with her hands.
According to court testimony from the boy, who is now 13, he got in trouble for being disrespectful to his mother.
He testified that he slammed the door and his mother hit him 11 times on his bottom with the spank stick, one lick for each year.
On this particular day he received 22 licks, double his age.
"If we didn't agree with her for what we did she would double it," the boy testified.
The mother's youngest son also testified. He said that he heard a lot of yelling between his mother and brother. He also testified that he heard his mother hit his brother 22 times with the spank stick.
The spanking came to light the following day when the boys went to Marietta for their regular weekend visit with their father.
The father testified that upon hearing of the spanking, he investigated and saw egg shape bruising on his son's lower back and leg.
"I broke down, I couldn't imagine," he testified.
He said he immediately contacted his custody lawyer and he instructed him to call police officers to file a report in Cartersville.
The couple divorced in 2003 after nearly nine years of marriage. Both have since remarried and share custody. The boys now live with their father and step-mother in Marietta and visit their mother every other weekend, holiday and vacations according to court testimony.
Sgt. Virginia Rogers with the Cartersville Police Department testified that she spoke to the father and asked him to bring his son in for an interview.
She testified that the boy said he'd been spanked before by his mother and it was always for something.
The mother testified saying that her son was at the stage where he pushed his boundaries with her.
"He had gotten to the point where he talked back and had a problem telling the truth," she said.
She said spanking was usually the last option. She would first take away things they loved such as television and toys.
She said she also sent them to a "quiet room" which included a bed and Bible.
"He was spending more time in there," she said of her oldest son.
The mother testified that sometimes spanking was the only thing that worked. "Being disobedient, disrespectful or dishonest," were three things they usually got spankings for.
She admits to using a spatula. "I took a class when the kids were younger and learned to never spank with your hands," she said. "Hands are meant for hugging and loving," she testified.
As far as the method to spank the boys for each year they were, she said she thinks she got it from a parenting book.
She said they were always spanked with their clothes on.
Neal T. Brunt, attorney for the defense, said in closing statements that his client should not be on trial for cruelty to children.
"Twisting a nine month old's leg, putting a cigarette out on a child, that's clearly malice and cruelty to children," Brunt said.
Brunt said a spanking with a spatula is not the same thing.
"No doubt spankings hurt, they are supposed to," he said.
Assistant District Attorney Rosemary Greene asked the jury to use common sense. "She is not the calm lady we've seen here today," she said. "It was excessive," she said of the spanking.
In less than 30 minutes the jury returned a not guilty verdict. The mother said she still sees her boys.
"The relationship is good, not like it was before, but it's getting better," she said.