Judge Sentences Teenager to Ten Years of Church


Did he specify what church? Church of Satan ok? Church of sitting at home on the couch watching football?
So the judge is ok if he drinks again in a year? When he's under the legal age? And does illegal drugs?

Can the kid choose what church to go to? I'll bet if he chose a mosque, the judge would shit his pants.

How about the church of satan? Or the church of the sub-genius? Flying Spaghetti Monster? Frisbeetarianism?

I think it's time for that judge to retire.
This story is old.
Train as a welder? Does he want to be a welder? Why a welder?
In my opinion, it's just as bizarre that the judge chose a profession for him to train in, instead of a requirement that he do so many hours of training in a profession...

There's no connection between attending church and public repentance, though.
Holy Shit.
The lessons are:
1) Some judiciary officials ignore the Constitution when it pleases them to do so, and
2) Going to church is a punishment
Wow. Forcing religion on a teenager is supposed to work? Is that legally enforceable? I wouldn't be surprised if this judge believes in "praying the gay away", too.
Guys, in almost all cases, these sorts of sentences are negotiated and agreed to by both sides before the judge ever sees it. He was most likely just rubber-stamping what everyone wanted. Don't get too worked-up.
@9 - So you're saying the kid approached the DA with the offer to stay sober for a year and go to church for ten? And the DA said "Well, shucks kid, maybe you're learning your lesson after all. Throw in welding and it's a deal."? That still doesn't work for me. I'm staying worked-up.
Training to be a welder sounds fun. Do I have to kill someone first?
Remember, whenever two or three are gathered around a spaghetti and meatball dinner, they gather in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Hollow be It's Name.

Separation of Crutch and State, it's what's for dinner!
You can stay as worked-up as you want, MacC. It's a free country. I'm just telling you how these things work in the real world.
So, the judge is offering the kid a choice of prison for ten years (for killing someone) or committment to a profession, a potentially supportive social environment, a vocational training, and sobriety for a year? Between punishment or rehibilitation? And folks are up in arms over this?

I get the concerns about the religious nature of this, and if it turns out that the judge picks the church, that's problematic and creepy. But if the kid can chose which church (aka supportive social environment) he wants to go to: I honestly don't have a problem with this at all, and think this is pretty awesome alternative to ten of his most formative years in prison.

The "older" of the two links Paul provides is from Sunday. Congrats on being hip and cutting edge enough that you only "rap" on stories less than 24 hours old. That's hip, dawg!

Article says ACLU is looking into filing a complaint and that the judge has a history of handing down church involved sentences. And that, perhaps most shockingly of all, he's from Oklahoma.

First off, I think it's a completely ridiculous sentence.

I'm an atheist, and I definitely err on the militant/anti-theist side. However, given the choice between prison and church, I'd still rather have to sit in a church pew for an hour every Sunday rather than go to prison.

/Just saying.

What happened to saying 3 Our Fathers and 5 Hail Marys?
@13 - And we're just saying the constitution has specific problems with church attendance being part of a sentence.

Next time I'm up for causing someone to die, I'll try the ol' "I talked to Jesus, and he says it's okay, as long as I promise to go to welding school" and see how far that gets me. Of course, I'll have to make sure my judge and DA are complete incompetents.
From the NYT: "Mr. Alred and his family already attend a church, although Judge Norman said in an interview that he had not known that when he ruled."

"Judge Norman did not specify which religious denomination Mr. Alred must follow."

This is what I was curious about. I wouldn't see it as onerous to be (il)legally required to do something I'm already doing, certainly better than 10 years in prison. And as anyone who's attended a church knows, there are plenty of things to do with the time there besides paying attention.
That's it, turn him from a common scofflaw into a raging psychpath.
@ 9, it's not phrased that way: "The judge gave Alred a choice..." Now, that could be faulty reporting (shocker!), and maybe it was worked out by the prosecution and defense as you state, but the report does basically say that this was the judge's idea. To that extent, I see this as unconstitutional. Especially if he's required to attend a specific church. (The report doesn't say anything about that, but it would make sense that he'd have to report to the same one. Guys on parole don't get to report to any ol' parole office, after all.)

@ Paul, I don't see this as something where the kid isn't learning a lesson.
Damn... I need to remember to refresh before I post, so that I don't end up asking questions that are answered by posts that weren't there when I first clicked on "comments."
I'd take that deal over prison in a heartbeat, unconstitutional or not.
ThinkProgress praised the judge for looking for alternatives to incarceration. Read a Rolling Stone piece about the use of solitary confinement last night that was horrifying. There are 80,000 inmates in solitary, and prison officials are making the choices. Of course, there is a profit motive, as the cost triples. Essentially, it is torture for profit.

Ten years in church? How long was the prison alternative?
@19: Agreed.
@12: How dare you refer to the great name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as "hollow." I am religiously offended. Which is the worst kind of offended.
@14: Word that.
"Oklahoma Judge Mike Norman believes an alternative to incarceration is requiring people to attend church for a mandatory stretch of time."

While this is clearly bad and wrong, it's not that far off the norm, as many of the drug and alcohol treatment programs that judges routinely mandate have a religious component.

For all of the "softening" language of "understanding", over half of the twelve steps are towards God and religion.
Raped in church instead of raped in prison.
Given the choice, I would choose going to church. If I sat in the back or up in the choir loft, I could take some of my embroidery and get a lot done within that hour. Time would fly quickly. But I would have to check on the times of the church services for Westboro Baptist Church.

That article about solitary confinement was brutal. Why don't the prisoners subjected to it sue? Sounds like a violation of constitutional rights to me.
Oh, Patricia, I didn't realize there were still that naïve out there.