Oklahoma Teen Sentenced To Ten Years Of Church As Manslaughter Punishment

What separation of church and state? Oklahoma City’s KOCO reports on a teenager convicted of killing a friend in a drunk driving accident given the choice between jail and Christianity:

An Oklahoma teen convicted of manslaughter won’t get jail time. Instead a judge sentenced him to go to church. Tyler Allred was 17-years-old when prosecutors say he drove while intoxicated and killed his passenger, a 16-year-old friend.

A judge presiding over Allred’s case sentenced him to attend church every Sunday for the next 10 years. In addition to church attendance Allred must graduate from high school and take drug and alcohol test for the next year. The teen’s attorney does not plan to challenge the sentence.

15 Comments on "Oklahoma Teen Sentenced To Ten Years Of Church As Manslaughter Punishment"

  1. How specific is the ruling with respect to what churches are acceptable? What legal position does a judge put himself in by picking one if he did? I can think of all sorts of interesting choices of church that would make the judge wish he’d come up with something rational.

    • Matt Staggs | Nov 21, 2012 at 9:21 am |

      Oh, man, that’s a great question. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you’ve got another member.

      • MadHierophant | Nov 21, 2012 at 10:08 am |

        Or he gets wise and forms an orgy cult.

      • Or Church of Scientology, Church of Euthanasia, converting to Islam (which probably would get the judge a law-abiding citizen)… there are even Atheist churches, I’ve heard that some of which hold regular services (called something else for some reason)

        This is the basis of the judge’s legal problem:
        ‘The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance.

  2. DeepCough | Nov 21, 2012 at 11:17 am |

    Prison or asylum–It’s punishment either way.

  3. charlieprimero | Nov 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

    Makes sense. Government and religion are basically the same thing.

  4. Unindoctrin8ed | Nov 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

    There is something about a right to a trial by “a jury of our peers”. I don’t remember there being any mention of it being presided over by a robed fool.

  5. InfvoCuernos | Nov 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

    This should be pretty easy to overturn on appeal. I know that in California, they ruled that a judge can’t sentence someone to mandatory AA classes as it calls for participants to believe in a higher power, so they offer a couple of non-religious options that someone can choose. Of course, they are much harder to find, with a limited schedule and small number of meetings, but its a moot point anyway as most of the time, participants are just going to zone out for an hour anyway, regardless of any praying and genuflecting that might be going on.

    • True, but the defendant in this case has no actual incentive to make that appeal. This gets him out of a prison term, so I doubt he wants to rock the boat.

      • InfvoCuernos | Nov 22, 2012 at 12:20 am |

        True- I’d probably find a church I could tolerate for ten years if it meant keeping my ass out of prison.

  6. kowalityjesus | Nov 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm |

    The United States of America, the only nation on earth where male-male rape is more common than male-female rape. Thank you for making a step in the right direction, OK.

  7. Surely this sentence breaks the First Amendment?

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