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Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:33 PM

Oklahoma Judge Sentences Teen to Church for 10 Years

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/11/oklahoma-judge-sentences-teen-to-church-for-10-years/


(Image Credit: KTUL)

By Christina Lopez
Nov 16, 2012 3:49pm

Anybody who knows Oklahoma District Court Judge Mike Norman probably yawned at the news that he’d sentenced a teen offender to attend church as part of his probation arrangement, and that the judge’s pastor was in the courtroom at the time.

Not only had he handed down such a sentence before, but he’d required one man to bring the church program back with him when he reported to court.

“The Lord works in many ways,” Norman, 69, told ABC News today. “I’ve done a little bit of this kind of thing before, but never on such a serious charge.”

Norman sentenced Tyler Alred, 17, Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in August for killing friend and passenger John Luke Dum in a car crash.

more at link

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Oklahoma Judge Sentences Teen to Church for 10 Years (Original post)
cbayer Nov 2012 OP
AnOhioan Nov 2012 #1
cbayer Nov 2012 #3
Enrique Nov 2012 #2
Auntie Bush Nov 2012 #4
immoderate Nov 2012 #5
bunnies Nov 2012 #8
cbayer Nov 2012 #6
rug Nov 2012 #7
cbayer Nov 2012 #9
okasha Nov 2012 #20
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #18
rug Nov 2012 #21
longship Nov 2012 #10
cbayer Nov 2012 #11
longship Nov 2012 #12
cbayer Nov 2012 #13
Downwinder Nov 2012 #14
Scuba Nov 2012 #15
LeftishBrit Nov 2012 #16
cbayer Nov 2012 #17
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #19

Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:35 PM

1. Calling the ACLU...this judge needs to be overruled....and censured

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Response to AnOhioan (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:38 PM

3. Agree. This seems like a clear separation violation.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:35 PM

2. and if a Muslim judge sentences a kid to go to mosque

i'm sure everyone will be ok with it.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:41 PM

4. So now going to church is a punishment?

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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:44 PM

5. It would be for me!

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:50 PM

8. +1 nt

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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:45 PM

6. Not exactly. I think he sees it as rehabilitation

Similar to sentencing someone to AA, which is done frequently.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:50 PM

7. It's not as bad as the prison time he was facing.

What will likely preserve this sentence is that it was part of a plea bargain to which the defendant, the DA and the judge agreed, as opposed to a sentence after trial in which the sentence is purely the domain of the judge.

If at the time of the plea the defendant knew either that this was to be an explicit condition of probation or if he was informed that was one of the things the judge could impose, he consented and there is no impermissible imposition of religion.

That said, if the defendant changes his religion or loses faith over the course of his probationary sentence, and it can be demostrated that his loss of faith was a sincerely held belief, his probation could not be legally revoked for a violation of this condition. In that case, the judge would have to replace that condition with a simlar condition, such as the equivaent time for community service, which does not implicate the First Amendment.

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Response to rug (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:02 PM

9. Very important information. Thanks for supplying it.

I agree that if this was part of a plea bargain and the kid signed off on it, there is no violation.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:51 PM

20. If it's voluntary, it's not a violation.

I still wish the judge had lifted the kid's driver's licence for 10 years instead.

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Response to rug (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:38 PM

18. Will this set precedence for others to plea for church time intead of jail time?

What really bothers me, is that I read in another story that the teen already attends church weekly.
"My client goes to church every Sunday," defense attorney Donn Baker told the court. "That isn't going to be a problem for him."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/tyler-alred-church-manslaughter_n_2146619.html


If that is the case, his prior attendance did nothing to stop his poor decision making, so how/why would more of the same produce a different result?

And "That isn't going to be a problem for him."? So what is the point?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #18)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:09 PM

21. No, there have been some pretty weird sentences as special conditions of probation in a plea deal.



The key is the defendant does not have to accept the condition. Of course, in that case the sentence would be jail if the deal is refused and he blows trial.

What I have learned in this Group is that this particular condition of probation is arrogant exercise of religious privilege. The judge, the prosecutor, and likely the defense attorney, thought nothing of this condition, did not question it, or suggest an alternative condition.

As for this defendant, it's clear his problem is alcohol, not a lack of moral direction. He'll either get a handle on it or not regardless of how many sermons he hears.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:06 PM

10. Cruel and unusual punishment?

Just kidding... But it could be a church with a pastor like Ted Haggard or one of the priest pedophiles. Now, a sentence to that church might be cruel and unusual. But any sentence to church must, on base, be considered unusual.

But, of course, I am merely ridiculing what must be an egregious violation of the first amendment. But part of my evil atheist heart wishes that this would be challenged on eighth amendment rights. Just to cause extra mischief.

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Response to longship (Reply #10)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:15 PM

11. See Rug's post above. The kid apparently agreed to this as part of a plea bargain,

so I don't think there is any violation (1st or 8th).

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Response to cbayer (Reply #11)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:35 PM

12. Well, I was making mischief here (re: 8th).

But the ruling is a defacto violation of the first amendment. The court is a government function, by a government employee, all of whom must swear or affirm to uphold the US Constitution.

As the first amendment is part of that constitution, this judge's sentence must be set aside. There is no question about this. But, from this youth's perspective -- he was already a church-goer -- this sentence was a no brainer when compared to jail.

But this judge nevertheless clearly violated his constitutional mandate.

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Response to longship (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:44 PM

13. What about court ordered AA?

Since much of AA is based on the "higher power" concept, would that constitute a first amendment violation as well?

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:50 PM

14. I was in High School in the late 50''s with a student

whose terms of probation required that he graduate. He did.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:54 PM

15. I served in the military 40 years ago with men who had been told "join or jail" ...

... I always wished the judge had just jailed them. They were far more trouble than they were worth as Airmen.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:17 PM

16. Which of course implies that he thinks that going to church is a punishment.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #16)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:18 PM

17. Not necessarily. He may see it as rehabilitative, like going to AA or

doing community service.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:40 PM

19. "My client goes to church every Sunday, that isn't going to be a problem for him."

"My client goes to church every Sunday," defense attorney Donn Baker told the court. "That isn't going to be a problem for him."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/tyler-alred-church-manslaughter_n_2146619.html


So what is the fucking point then? He already goes to church and that didn't change his decision making process. How will more of the same produce different results?

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