Teen sentenced to attend church for DUI manslaugther conviction

Posted in the Atheism Forum

“Reason's Greetings!”

Since: Feb 11

Pale Blue Dot

#1 Nov 18, 2012
Not only should this be declared unconstitutional, but it's probably ineffective, because he already attends church according to his lawyer. That's not much for punishment. Furthermore, what message does this send to other teens thinking that their "punishment" is to go sit their asses in a comfy church, which they may already be doing?

Teen sentenced to attend church as part of probation for DUI manslaughter conviction

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx...

"MUSKOGEE - Attending church on Sunday for 10 years was one of the conditions a Muskogee County judge placed on a teenager whose sentence in a manslaughter case was deferred this week for 10 years.

"My client goes to church every Sunday," Baker said. "That isn't going to be a problem for him. We certainly want the probation for him."...."
Amused

Maynard, MA

#2 Nov 19, 2012
It is certainly unconstitutional, but I doubt there will be an appeal to challenge it. I would guess the vast majority of DUI defendants who cause fatal accidents do at least some time in prison. Here in MA, there's a mandatory minimum 1 year, and the average disposition seems to be somewhat harsher. Ten year's probation with no jail time is a pretty sweet deal for the defendant. If he appealed, the whole sentence would have to be challenged, so if he won, he wins a re-sentencing. That puts him back at risk of going to jail. Even if church is two hours a week, over 10 years, that's just 1,040 hours wasted. A year in jail is 8,760 hours wasted. The only victim of violence in church is one's reason, while jail is downright dangerous. Even as an atheist, if given the choice between a year in the can and two hours a week wallowing in superstition, I know which one I'd choose.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#3 Nov 19, 2012
This is a very sad case but in general, does any church want dui convicts for members?

If he were a member of an atheist or humanist group, he would be at risk of suspension or expulsion. He would certainly be expected to serve his time (in prison, community serivice, training, or otherwise) and to undertake any appropriate rehabilitation/recovery program. Multiple offenders would likely get help from,(but probably not keep membership of) such associations. That might offer a route to a healthier society than a religious one with each tribe 'having their own wrongdoers'.

This very young man would probably find it easier to correct his behavior by attending a course on the effects of alcohol and making sure he understood the laws on drink-driving. He could also be made to re-take his driving test, or to pass one of a slightly higher standard. That would help him far more than sitting in a church chanting garbage.
Amused

Maynard, MA

#4 Nov 20, 2012
EdSed wrote:
This is a very sad case but in general, does any church want dui convicts for members?
If he were a member of an atheist or humanist group, he would be at risk of suspension or expulsion. He would certainly be expected to serve his time (in prison, community serivice, training, or otherwise) and to undertake any appropriate rehabilitation/recovery program. Multiple offenders would likely get help from,(but probably not keep membership of) such associations. That might offer a route to a healthier society than a religious one with each tribe 'having their own wrongdoers'.
This very young man would probably find it easier to correct his behavior by attending a course on the effects of alcohol and making sure he understood the laws on drink-driving. He could also be made to re-take his driving test, or to pass one of a slightly higher standard. That would help him far more than sitting in a church chanting garbage.
I would hope that atheist/humanist groups would be less judgmental than that. We all have our failings, and we all make mistakes. Especially teenagers. They may be considered adults before the law, but they lack the full maturity and life experience to always make good choices. I know that if I belonged to any such group and it expelled a member for exercising poor judgment like that, they would lose two members, because I would resign immediately. To me, there's a big difference between offenses like this, which are essentially bad judgment and crimes like theft which require deliberate wrongdoing.

At any rate, I really don't get the point of atheist groups. Not believing in something just doesn't seem like such a big swath of common ground that one could build a community on.
Amused

Maynard, MA

#5 Nov 20, 2012
EdSed wrote:
...
This very young man would probably find it easier to correct his behavior by attending a course on the effects of alcohol and making sure he understood the laws on drink-driving. He could also be made to re-take his driving test, or to pass one of a slightly higher standard. That would help him far more than sitting in a church chanting garbage.
In addition to the crazy requirement, the judge imposed some sensible conditions to the probation:

"In addition to church attendance, Norman [the judge] also asked the teenager to wear an ankle bracelet that monitors alcohol consumption; attend victim-impact panels and speak at events about the consequences of drinking and driving; graduate from high school and welding school; attend counseling; and undergo drug and alcohol assessments." All measures that are likely to have a positive impact on his rehabilitation.

The church thing is silly, as well as being illegal, but still, all in all, a great bit better than being in jail. It would be somewhat risky, but the young man could challenge the condition by failing to attend church and then appealing to a higher court if he was found in violation of his probation to challenge the legality of the condition. The downside of that is that one usually has to wait in jail for the appeal to be heard.
Cujo

Regina, Canada

#6 Nov 20, 2012
Being the kid already went to church regularly, it's not that big a deal, even though unconstitutional. My question is, would the judge have offered the same type of leniency, had the accused been a atheist and refused going to church, based on their lack of religious freedoms? Would an atheist kid have got jail time? And if so, then there would be grounds for religious bias, would there not?
Cujo

Regina, Canada

#7 Nov 20, 2012
Sorry "based on their religious freedoms".

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