Mike Norman, an Oklahoma District Court Judge recently handed out one of the most unusual sentence in a serious criminal case, he ordered the defendant to attend church. Tyler Alred, 17 was under the influence of alcohol at the time when he was involved in a car accident that killed his friend. Mr. Alred charged with first degree manslaughter.
Judge Norman sentenced Mr. Alred to a 10 year deferred prison sentence with a series of conditions that include graduating from high school, remain drug and alcohol free with random tests, wearing an alcohol bracelet, and attending a church of his choosing one day a week for the next ten years. Should Mr. Alred not complete those conditions he may be sent to jail.
This is not the first time Judge Norman has sentenced someone to go to church although it is the first time for a crime of this nature.
As a criminal defense attorney I have seen plenty of sentences include conditions, however I have never seen or heard of a religious requirement. Although this violates the separation of church and state, without either side appealing the sentence it is likely that the sentence will stand.
Should judges be allowed to sentence people to go to church?
Attorney Patrick Donovan is a criminal defense lawyer in Quincy, Massachusetts. Attorney Donovan has appeared in over fifty courts throughout Massachusetts. Attorney Donovan represents people charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes. If you or someone you know needs a free consultation call today.