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Judge Sentences Teen to Church

oklahoma manslaughter underage drinking

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#1 Hum

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:44

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.

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#2 Asrokhel

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:53

Forcing your religious views on someone is wrong!

#3 fusi0n

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:56

It did say a church of hos choice.. so at least he has that..

#4 Detection

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:58

Good choice from the judge imo, all the items in the 2nd last sentence will help the guy, jail would make things worse imo

It did say a church of hos choice.. so at least he has that..


Judge will twist if he decides on a devil worshipping / spiritualist church :p

#5 FMH

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 18:09

Could a Church of your choice be a mosque?

#6 Tom

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 18:21

So much for separation of church and state...

#7 vetJohn S.

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 23:33

So much for separation of church and state...


Judges don't make laws, no law respecting the establishment of any religion was made here. Nice try quoting the phrase that doesn't exist anywhere in America's foundational documents though. (Y)

#8 Growled

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:09

I guess the judge figured the teen needed to get some moral training from somewhere.

#9 1941

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:10

Forcing your religious views on someone is wrong!


I guess it would be better in jail where he will learn a trade.... :shifty:

#10 Doli

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:21

Forcing your religious views on someone is wrong!


"attend a church of his choosing"

#11 Gerowen

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:28

Judges don't make laws, no law respecting the establishment of any religion was made here. Nice try quoting the phrase that doesn't exist anywhere in America's foundational documents though. (Y)


There's actually quite a lot of evidence to support the idea of "separation of church and state", and the fact that it was an intended result of the first amendment. You can read a lot about it on Wikipedia, but I'll summarize with a few quotes.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was written originally by Thomas Jefferson states.

No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.


Not really a "founding" document, but this idea was repeatedly enforced and recommended by several of the early founding fathers.
Here's an excerpt from the Treaty of Tripoli ratified in 1797.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.


At the end of the day, I don't think anybody should be able to force anybody else to attend, or not to attend, a place of worship, nor should they be forced to respect, believe, or participate in any religion, or be forbidden from practising a religion of their choosing, unless it infringes on the rights of those not wishing to participate.

#12 rfirth

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:36

It did say a church of hos choice.. so at least he has that..


He should visit a library or maybe a university, and claim that is his 'church' of choice.

Although, given how lightly he's getting off, it's probably best to not complain.

#13 vetJohn S.

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:19

There's actually quite a lot of evidence to support the idea of "separation of church and state", and the fact that it was an intended result of the first amendment. You can read a lot about it on Wikipedia, but I'll summarize with a few quotes.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was written originally by Thomas Jefferson states.


Not really a "founding" document, but this idea was repeatedly enforced and recommended by several of the early founding fathers.
Here's an excerpt from the Treaty of Tripoli ratified in 1797.


At the end of the day, I don't think anybody should be able to force anybody else to attend, or not to attend, a place of worship, nor should they be forced to respect, believe, or participate in any religion, or be forbidden from practising a religion of their choosing, unless it infringes on the rights of those not wishing to participate.


One can summarize and suppose all day long, or research the actual quote and not take it out of context. It was written by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a Baptist church who was concerned about a widespread rumor that there would be a "National" religion known as the Congregationalists.

I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Writings, Merrill D. Peterson, ed. (NY: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), p. 510, January 1, 1802.


So again back to the topic, no law created in this case and the gentleman was given his choice of which church to attend. The judiciary and the legislature are two totally different things.

#14 ArialBlue

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:24

Well this may be against the law.
The article states that it is not a case of "Go to Church or..." but "and go to church"

#15 @Leo

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:27

So if he's atheist, he can go to the library?