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Judge Sentences Teen To Church
by Arroree
November 17, 2012 at 1:54 AM

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/oklahoma-judge-sentences-teen-church-10-years-204920227--abc-news-topstories.html

Judge Sentences Teen to Church

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.

Dum died on impact in December after Alred crashed his Chevrolet pickup truck, ejecting Dum. Alred was 16 at the time of the crash and had been drinking prior to the deadly accident.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol issued a Breathalyzer at the time, and although Alred was under the state's legal alcohol limit, he had been drinking underage.

The judge could have sent Alred to jail but, instead, taking into account his clean criminal and school records, sentenced him to wear a drug and alcohol bracelet, participate in counseling groups and attend a church of his choosing - weekly. He must also graduate from high school.

To avoid jail time, Norman gave Alred a maximum 10-year deferred sentence.

He'd never passed down the church-attendance requirement for someone as young as Alred, said Norman, who has worked as a district Judge in Muskogee for 14 years.

"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."

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."

In the courtroom this week, an emotional scene between the victim's family and Alred played out after statements from Dum's mother, father and two sisters were read during the sentencing. Dum's father and Alred stood up in court, turned toward each other and embraced one another.

"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."

After completing the rest of the requirements in his sentence, Alred will have the charge removed from his record.

"Only time will tell if we've saved Tyler Alred's life," the judge said.

Replies

  • annabl1970
    November 17, 2012 at 9:09 AM
    I am wondering would judge agree with
    the same sentence if the victim was his child?
  • charliebean
    November 17, 2012 at 9:14 AM
    That's fucking stupid.
  • Bookwormy
    November 17, 2012 at 9:17 AM
    I agree. The problem is that, at least thus far, I'm guessing that the folks he's sentenced *like* the sentence. This kid & his family would much rather go to church than have a real consequence. This judge is ruling in the buckle of the bible belt. Even the victim's family apparently liked this BS sentence. So who's going to contact the ACLU & say that their rights have been infringed upon when they are getting a lighter bs sentence.


    Quoting olivejuice2:

    A judge is a public servant and therefore has no business requiring anyone to go to church under penalty of the law. Being religious ournot really has no beating on a persons character or morals- there are lots of generous, law abiding, and respectable atheists and there are lots of criminal, selfish, and abusing religious people. It is not for a public employee to push religion on the public. The judges religion belongs in his private life, not in the courtroom.

  • TCgirlatheart
    TC
    November 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM
    I appreciate that the judge did this kid a favor by not sending him to jail, but it crosses a serious line when we start using religion as a, basically, government sanctioned punishment.

    I really think this judge wants to help this kid, but in doing it this way abused the power of his position.
  • Euphoric
    November 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

     Smh

  • TCgirlatheart
    TC
    November 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM
    Exactly. Who wouldn't be ecstatic at avoiding jail time?

    Quoting Bookwormy:

    I agree. The problem is that, at least thus far, I'm guessing that the folks he's sentenced *like* the sentence. This kid & his family would much rather go to church than have a real consequence. This judge is ruling in the buckle of the bible belt. Even the victim's family apparently liked this BS sentence. So who's going to contact the ACLU & say that their rights have been infringed upon when they are getting a lighter bs sentence.




    Quoting olivejuice2:

    A judge is a public servant and therefore has no business requiring anyone to go to church under penalty of the law. Being religious ournot really has no beating on a persons character or morals- there are lots of generous, law abiding, and respectable atheists and there are lots of criminal, selfish, and abusing religious people. It is not for a public employee to push religion on the public. The judges religion belongs in his private life, not in the courtroom.

  • TattoodMommy19
    November 17, 2012 at 10:13 AM
    The judge had no business requiring him to go to church.
    That's entirely inappropriate.
  • parentalrights1
    November 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM
    I'd rather have jail personally
  • yourspecialkid
    November 17, 2012 at 11:04 AM

     I have no issue with it...the judge said the church of his choice...that is not a first amendment violation.

    I think this is much preferable to jail......even though I probably would have had the kid mopping the floors of the morgue for a while.

  • caito
    by caito
    November 17, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Oh HELL no.

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