MADISON (WKOW) -- A Black Earth pastor is expected to appear in court Thursday afternoon for a hearing, hoping to dismiss his conviction on child abuse charges. Reverend Phillip Caminiti's lawyer says the conviction is an unconstitutional infringement on his religious freedom.
In March, a jury found the pastor guilty on eight counts of conspiracy to commit child abuse.
Prosecutors say, Caminiti told members of his church to use wooden rods to discipline their children.
27 News spoke to a UW political science and law professor who says this will be a difficult judgment to make because this deals with First Amendment rights.
"If they say this is a violation of freedom of religion, this could go all the way up, potentially to the Supreme Court," said Donald Downs, UW Political Science and Law Professor.
The hearing begins at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Dane County Courthouse.
The issue of religious freedom was brought up in a December 2011 hearing, before the case went to trial. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi said she wanted to hear all the evidence first, so she deferred the issue until after the trial.
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