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Old 11-20-2012, 08:41 PM   #1
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Teen sentenced to church for manslaughter

Quote:
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.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:47 PM   #2
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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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Old 11-20-2012, 08:49 PM   #3
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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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Old 11-20-2012, 09:23 PM   #4
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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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Old 11-20-2012, 09:29 PM   #5
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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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Old 11-20-2012, 09:29 PM   #6
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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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Old 11-20-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
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THAT is something I can be on board with.
Me too.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:36 PM   #8
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Apparently, this is a running theme for this judge:

Quote:
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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Old 11-20-2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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Ew. I no like.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:41 PM   #10
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I'd rather attend prison regularly.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:44 PM   #11
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:48 PM   #12
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:48 PM   #13
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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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Old 11-20-2012, 11:22 PM   #14
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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?
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:
Quote:
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.
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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.)
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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Old 11-20-2012, 11:33 PM   #15
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Maybe I shouldn't have done it, but I read the article.

Quote:
“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.
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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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Old 11-20-2012, 11:42 PM   #16
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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.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:39 AM   #17
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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?
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:46 AM   #18
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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...
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:25 AM   #19
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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...
Wouldn't the Eighth Amendment apply in such a case?
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:00 PM   #20
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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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Old 11-21-2012, 08:03 PM   #21
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Wouldn't the Eighth Amendment apply in such a case?
Not if he enjoyed it.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:13 PM   #22
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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
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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Old 11-21-2012, 10:19 PM   #23
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missesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsmissesdash is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Would definitely rather go to jail
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:25 AM   #24
benbradley
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benbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsbenbradley is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
How's this for a tough sentence - I suppose God won't protect Kentucky unless EVERY citizen acknowledges God's protection:
Quote:
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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Old 11-22-2012, 12:34 AM   #25
Shadow Dragon
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Shadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolnessShadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolnessShadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolnessShadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolnessShadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolness
That is just mind blowing and the fact that anyone thinks that'll stand up in a court of law is laughable.
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