Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Time (and God) Served

Today's column for the Daily Banter takes a look at a judge's ruling in a DUI manslaughter case in Oklahoma that's, to put it bluntly, illegal. The thing is, does it shine a bright light on a larger problem when it comes to what courts often order in drug and alcohol cases?

Here's a small excerpt:

"A couple of days ago the ACLU, an organization whose work I at turns appreciate and abhor, filed a formal complaint with the state of Oklahoma in the wake of a local judge’s startling ruling in a DUI vehicular manslaughter case. Back in December of last year, 17-year-old Tyler Alred crashed his pick-up into a tree while drunk, killing the passenger, a 16-year-old friend of his. In August of this year, Judge Mike Norman made Alred an offer he couldn’t refuse: go to prison for at least four years or accept a ten-year deferred sentence, meaning no jail time, in exchange for community service, submitting to regular drug and alcohol screenings — and going to church every Sunday for ten years. Needless to say, Norman’s sentence is unconstitutional. Not only is it unconstitutional, maybe most perniciously, Norman knows it’s unconstitutional...

An incidental question we’re left with in the wake of this ridiculous ruling, though, involves... the subtle proselytization at the heart of the 12-Step program which many courts have no problem ordering defendants accused in alcohol and drug-related crimes to undergo. Is it legal? Is it constitutional?"

Read the Rest Here


Jester said...

I would never ever advocate such a thing, but for maximum irony, Tyler could join a mosque, be converted to radical Islam, and three or four years down the line, suicide-bomb a courthouse.

Anonymous said...

Judge Norman's ruling, and defense thereof, are the reflection of one of the oldest, and strongest, hypocrisy’s of the Bible Belt/Southern States. It comes from their belief that a white male can do ANYTHING between Monday and Saturday, AS LONG AS his butt is in that pew (the correct pew of course, none of them Catholics or Jews) every Sunday.

How can a drunk be a drunk if he goes to church every Sunday?!? God’s word is just too powerful! Oh he did it again? Well then, put him in bible study along with church!

Marc McKenzie said...

This is unbelievable. I mean, this judge has to know that he's pretty much knocking down separation of Church and State, right?

I'm a lapsed Catholic but not ready to kick religion to the curb, but this is nonsense. You called it, Chez--this certainly could be called (and hell, _should_ be called) unconstitutional.

Thank you for writing this. It's a damned fine piece and there's a lot to think about.