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Thread: Teen sentenced to church for manslaughter

  1. #1
    the philosophical pegasus Shadow Dragon's Avatar
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    Teen sentenced to church for manslaughter

    An Oklahoma teen convicted of manslaughter has sentenced to 10 years of probation, with requirements that include regularly attending church.

    Tyler Alred, now 17, had been drinking when he crashed a pickup truck at around 4 a.m. on Dec. 3, 2011, Tulsa World reports. The accident killed Alred's friend, 16-year-old John Luke Dum, who was a passenger in the vehicle.

    Alred was not legally drunk, but because he was below the legal drinking age, he was still considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol. The high school student pleaded guilty in August to a charge of manslaughter as a youthful offender.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/1...n_2146619.html

    I do understand and support the basic idea behind this, in that the judge thought sentencing him to years of prison for what's likely a one time accident probably isn't the best solution. Especially when even the family of the deceased is asking for clemency.

    However, sentencing someone into going to church makes my skin crawl. No one should be forced, by a government body to attend a religious ceremony. As well as the idea of a church being seen as a place with a very high chance of rehabilitating a criminal isn't a good thing.
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." - Socrates

  2. #2
    The One Ring? Teinz's Avatar
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    I heard about this yesterday. It is so weird. The boy probably'll to church anyway, but forcing him...? Isn't there something in your constitution about this?

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    Capeless, wingless, & yet I fly. SuperModerator Williebee's Avatar
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    I don't agree with it, either, as a rule. But the quotes in the story indicate there may be more to the story. Apparently the defendant was portrayed to the judge as a good, church going individual already. (Perhaps as a part of the defense?)

    I do wonder if it says which or what flavor of church. I was just reading about "Stripper Church" programs in Vegas.

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    Bright and Early for the Daily Race Chrissy's Avatar
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    In Florida, if you have DUI or drug charges, you are mandated to attend AA or NA, which are also religious-based. Maybe this kid asked for church instead of that.

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    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    If he is a Christian not opposed to going to church I can see it as a sentencing package tailored to his needs. But it still makes me uneasy compared to the actual sentence just specifying weekly community activity (with a number of alternatives given). Then he could, for example, undergo changes in his beliefs and still easily comply by choosing a secular option.

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    A woman said to write like a man. Plot Device's Avatar
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    I haven't read the article yet, but me be wondering if perhaps he was sentecned to mandatory AA meetings (something MANY judges do) and then if per chance the judge asked him "Do you already have a higher power?" (having a "higher power" of your own choosing is required by AA) and if the boy replied, "Yes, I believe in Jesus," then MAYBE the judge added on the extra stipulation of "Fine then, in addition to mandatory AA, you WILL attend regular community meetings of those who likewise subscribe to the same higher power."

    THAT is something I can be on board with.

    And I'd be even more impressed if the judge added: "And if any changes to your higher-power situatiion arise, you must come back here and we can adjust your sentencing accordingly." (Such as if the boy changes churches, or even changes his religion enntirely. A lot can happen in 10 years to a person's spiritual outlook.)
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    The One Ring? Teinz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plot Device View Post
    THAT is something I can be on board with.
    Me too.

  8. #8
    the philosophical pegasus Shadow Dragon's Avatar
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    Apparently, this is a running theme for this judge:

    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.”


    -SNIP-


    “At that moment, it sure became a reality to me that I would sentence this boy to church” to help set him on the right path, Norman, a member of First Baptist Church in Muskogee, said. “There’s nothing I can do to make this up to the family.


    “I told my preacher I thought I led more people to Jesus than he had but, then again, more of my people have amnesia. They soon forget once they get out of jail.”
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headline...-for-10-years/
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    Bright and Early for the Daily Race Chrissy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Dragon View Post
    Ew. I no like.

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    Totally Ninja! quickWit's Avatar
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    I'd rather attend prison regularly.
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    Legal Authority/Public Intellectual robeiae's Avatar
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    Represent.
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    I don't really like the sentence, either, but if given the choice between church and prison, I'd take church without hesitation. They can make me go, but they can't make me believe, and it would only waste an hour of my time a week.
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    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teinz View Post
    I heard about this yesterday. It is so weird. The boy probably'll to church anyway, but forcing him...? Isn't there something in your constitution about this?
    Just this, the First Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments added to the US Constitution only a few years after the constitution itself went into effect:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    And something somewhere about not allowing a religious test for one to hold public office.
    Quote Originally Posted by Plot Device View Post
    I haven't read the article yet, but me be wondering if perhaps he was sentecned to mandatory AA meetings (something MANY judges do) and then if per chance the judge asked him "Do you already have a higher power?" (having a "higher power" of your own choosing is required by AA) and if the boy replied, "Yes, I believe in Jesus," then MAYBE the judge added on the extra stipulation of "Fine then, in addition to mandatory AA, you WILL attend regular community meetings of those who likewise subscribe to the same higher power."

    THAT is something I can be on board with.

    And I'd be even more impressed if the judge added: "And if any changes to your higher-power situatiion arise, you must come back here and we can adjust your sentencing accordingly." (Such as if the boy changes churches, or even changes his religion enntirely. A lot can happen in 10 years to a person's spiritual outlook.)
    Actually, in spite of how often it happens, a judge sending someone to AA is not legal either. Here are a few court cases:
    http://morerevealed.com/courts/index.html

    Whether a person believes in God or has a "higher power" is none of the judge's or court's business. The court has no business ordering a person somewhere depending on what one believes. All the court rulings I've seen on this point to the First Amendment and freedom of religion as being absolute. A person on Death Row has freedom of religion (they have access to religious texts and can speak to clergy of any religion they choose) and freedom to choose their last meal, though I think that last one is just tradition and not enforceable.

    Judges often order generic "alcohol and/or drug treatment" (especially after ordering 12-step participation and then being informed of the court cases in the above link) but 95 percent of such treatment is based on a mix of AA/12-step groups and "science" - most popular is Hazelden's "Minnesota Model" in which patients are made to do the first five of AA's 12 steps in a 28-day treatment center stay.

    The other 5 or so percent is split between (overt) Christian, secular, and Narconon (Scientology).
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    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Maybe I shouldn't have done it, but I read the article.

    “It’s not going to be automatic, I guarantee you,” Norman said of the church sentence on future manslaughter charges. “There are a lot of people who say I can’t do what I did. They’re telling me I can’t legally sentence someone to church.”
    These people are called Constitutional scholars. If anyone knows what the law says a judge can and can't do regarding religion, it's them.
    Alred’s lawyer is not among the critics. “I usually represent outlaws and criminals,” defense attorney Donn Baker told the Muskogee Phoenix. “This is a kid that made a mistake. I think he’s worth saving.”
    I wonder if he means saving from going to prison and/or a life of crime, or saving his soul.
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    New kid...seven years ago! DancingMaenid's Avatar
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    I read this story the other day, and it really, really bothers me. Even if in this case, the defendant is already a devout Christian who doesn't have a problem with this, I can't see how it sets a fair precedent. What if the case were exactly the same, but he wasn't Christian? Assuming the judge would not be so quick to allow him to attend a secular group, or attend services at a mosque every week, how does this not create an unfair standard in which Christians receive preferential treatment? A person's religion, and their willingness to participate in it, should not dictate the sort of sentence they receive.

    I really hope that if I ever found myself in a position like this, I would be strong enough to choose to go to prison instead.

  17. #17
    ideas are floating where they will Stlight's Avatar
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    Going to church and being a devout Christian didn't keep the defendant from underage drinking and driving before. Why should it now?

  18. #18
    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    The kid's religious beliefs shouldn't come into it. What if he was into bdsm, could the judge order a whipping? No, no, bring on the First Amendment...

  19. #19
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkEsq View Post
    The kid's religious beliefs shouldn't come into it. What if he was into bdsm, could the judge order a whipping? No, no, bring on the First Amendment...
    Wouldn't the Eighth Amendment apply in such a case?
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  20. #20
    ~~~~*~~~~ backslashbaby's Avatar
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    Judges really need to read the Constitution. Just no.

    eta: that's for the OP, not specific to the ongoing discussion, btw
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    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    Wouldn't the Eighth Amendment apply in such a case?
    Not if he enjoyed it.

  22. #22
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backslashbaby View Post
    Judges really need to read the Constitution. Just no.

    eta: that's for the OP, not specific to the ongoing discussion, btw
    Judges that do this "know" better, but they do it because they believe it's "the right thing to do" and they believe the Constitution is wrong, AND they think they can get away with it (unfortunately, too often they can, for a while).
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    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Would definitely rather go to jail

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    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    How's this for a tough sentence - I suppose God won't protect Kentucky unless EVERY citizen acknowledges God's protection:
    In Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state’s citizens to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God--or risk 12 months in prison.
    http://www.alternet.org/belief/year-...uting-atheists
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  25. #25
    the philosophical pegasus Shadow Dragon's Avatar
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    That is just mind blowing and the fact that anyone thinks that'll stand up in a court of law is laughable.
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." - Socrates

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