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NEWS: Judge Gives Offenders Option of Church

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posted on May, 31 2005 @ 01:05 PM
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A Kentucky judge is facing criticism for letting some drug and alcohol offenders attend worship services instead of going to jail or rehab. District Judge Michael Caperton says he's trying "to help people and their families." Caperton insists there's no violation of the separation of church and state because he says "worship services" instead of "church." He also says it's optional for the offenders, yet the ACLU says the practice has "serious constitutional problems."
 



www.courier-journal.com
When Scott Ray Hays pleaded guilty to a drug charge two weeks ago, Laurel District Judge Michael Caperton gave him three choices:

Go to jail for 10 days.

Go to rehab.

Or go to church or another house of worship for 10 services.
Hays chose church.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Now for clarity this is what the ACLU has to say;

"An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer says the practice has "serious constitutional problems." The lawyer says the judge is letting people who go to services avoid jail, while people who decline have to go to jail. The lawyer says that violates the state's required "neutrality" toward religion."

Now we have both sides of the issue and it is clear the ACLU is stretching their point here since they also get the option to go to rehab, so jail is not mandatory as they would have you believe.

While I am not positive, I would say if this does get tested in the higher courts, I tend to think they will up hold the judges options.

There is no violation of church and state that I can see, or am I missing something here?

Note; I used the major news link below since the local version shows the options offered.


Related News Links:
edition.cnn.com









[edit on 5/31/2005 by shots]




posted on May, 31 2005 @ 01:16 PM
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Church is to become the easy way out, while some of this people need is rehabilitation, others will do better with a lesson in life, but the truth is that lots of drug and alcohol users have a problem that needs medical help and closed monitoring.

I guess the judge thinks that he is doing a good thing in faith but somebody forgot to tell him that no always works that way.

Or you wonder sometimes when they got their education.

It's like a doctor telling his patients to either fill their prescription or got to church and pray for a miracle.

Funny to point out that many people truly think that God will do it all.



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 01:30 PM
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Well,
I don't necessarily agree with what the judge has done in this case but you might want to also consider a couple of facts that may have mitigated why the judge offered this option.
1) The defendant has plead guilty and thus will have the conviction on his records.
2) The sentencing options were minor to say the least. The defendant was ordered to either spend 10 days in jail, go to rehab (one note here, in many instances, these rehabs have a link to religion) or go to church.
3) The judge only offers this option to defendants with misdemeanor public intoxication or drug-possession charges.
4) Cost savings. Up to $2,800 for rehab (with a 2 week waiting list) and the local jail is above capacity.

The defendant in this case has recieved at most a "slap on the wrist". Also you will need to note that there is no promotion of any religion or denomination. If it helps, then hey, what's wrong with it?

Oh wait I get it......... it is religion....... oh no can't have that now!



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 01:44 PM
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I see a clear violation...

Find Jesus....or go to jail....

Mind of the convicted thinks: Hey - This is great! I'll tell everyone I found Jesus and I'll get off without doing time!

Now - I'm exaggerating by saying 'find Jesus"....But is it not what the Judge hopes to instill in this person? By which he has used his authority as a man of the court to mandate his religion....

If they go to church and find a code of ethics they had hitherto been unaware of, that's fine and dandy....But it still goes clearly against the separation of church and state.....Plain and simple!

Religion is not to be used as a bartering device in our country, it should simply be tolerated – And that’s that….



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:23 PM
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Originally posted by EnronOutrunHomerun
I see a clear violation...

Find Jesus....or go to jail....

Mind of the convicted thinks: Hey - This is great! I'll tell everyone I found Jesus and I'll get off without doing time!

Now - I'm exaggerating by saying 'find Jesus"....But is it not what the Judge hopes to instill in this person? By which he has used his authority as a man of the court to mandate his religion....

If they go to church and find a code of ethics they had hitherto been unaware of, that's fine and dandy....But it still goes clearly against the separation of church and state.....Plain and simple!

Religion is not to be used as a bartering device in our country, it should simply be tolerated – And that’s that….


OOPs, you missed something in the article there. There is NO promotion of any religion or denomination. So if the defendant had been muslim, hebrew whatever, then he would have been given the option to attend the church / synogue (sorry spell check is not working right) or mosque.

Again, separation of church and state should not have been violated. Since as stated in the article, the judge (who is Christian) believes that returning to ones religious background may prove to help these people then...

There is no violation here of the The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984

The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984

If fact I think it is better than some senteces that I have seen given down such as a man being sentenced to living in his dog's house for 30 days. The man had taken a car antenna and whipped his son with it.

If the use of the religion leads to a betterment of the defendant then what is wtong? Oh that's right... It is religion and is by definition evil!



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:29 PM
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I agree with the Judge in this situation. He's giving chance for taxpayers to save money which would cost for housing him, feeding him, etc and Jail he dont learn anything anyhow. I will admit church or worship services isnt a rehab, but perhaps the guy will learn something about morals and ethics, and small small chance he will think next time.

We got a small town here that does stuff like this every now and then. For shoplifting misdemenors, the jusge usually puts the person in front of the place they robbed with a sign around there neck as embarrasment.



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:30 PM
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Originally posted by kenshiro2012
OOPs, you missed something in the article there. There is NO promotion of any religion or denomination. So if the defendant had been muslim, hebrew whatever, then he would have been given the option to attend the church / synogue (sorry spell check is not working right) or mosque.

Well - I didn't miss that point - But sure enough, I figured after I posted my reply that if I didn't make that clear and concise, that someone would try to call me out on it....

I said:
"Now - I'm exaggerating by saying 'find Jesus"....But is it not what the Judge hopes to instill in this person? By which he has used his authority as a man of the court to mandate his religion.... "

By no means does the use of the word "religion" identify any one specific religion....



Referring to your other point - I don't think everyone who agrees that this judge was in the wrong views the separation of church and state as keeping "evil" out of our society....

The whole idea behind separation is to prevent these sorts of things from happening - Which is using your power in a gov't position to promote religious ideals.....

We may swear on a Bible before we testify, but that does not mean we all abide by it - So in the same sense, providing some sort of religious Easter egg hunt for a soul and purpose in life does not constitute an appropriate form of punishment, b/c regardless of what religion the felon chooses, they can still choose to ignore it's constructive concepts in light of its less-than-docile attempt at reformation.....


[edit on 5/31/2005 by EnronOutrunHomerun]



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:34 PM
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Hmmm 10 church services or 10 days in jail….

I’m sure just about anyone would rather have to go for church for a bit then to jail. Even if it was less days in jail verse more days in church, they would still probably choose church. It seems offering church is just offering them a much easier way out. Just because they choose church doesn’t mean they will or will even try to find god. They probably wont pay attention at all and be back to just how they were before when its over.



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:37 PM
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theres no violation here, he was given 3 choices, not ordered to church.



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by EnronOutrunHomerunI said:
"Now - I'm exaggerating by saying 'find Jesus"....But is it not what the Judge hopes to instill in this person? By which he has used his authority as a man of the court to mandate his religion.... "

By no means does the use of the word "religion" identify any one specific religion....



you said 'his religion' so yea you did specify, and he was given the choice of jail, rehab or this.



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:54 PM
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So a Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Santeria, Wicca, New Age, or any other religious service also falls under this right??? I wonder what the judge would "personally" qualify as an adequate religious service.


He's setting himself to fall in the trap of discrimination.



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:57 PM
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Originally posted by namehere
you said 'his religion' so yea you did specify, and he was given the choice of jail, rehab or this.

*sighs* Fine - We can play this game all day long, so I'll just agree that you alone must know what was meant by my mindless dribble....

Regardless - The fact that it was just one of the options presented doesn't make it any better simply b/c he had a choice....The point is that the judge thought of this as an option that was Constitutional....IMO it clearly is not...

But I guess the clear answer to this issue is that it simply separates those who agree and disagree into Textualists and Pragmatists

*Draws the line in the sand*



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 02:58 PM
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this could set a presedant (sp???)...

an example:

a killer gets to choose to go to church instead of prison...





posted on May, 31 2005 @ 03:10 PM
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Originally posted by they see ALL
this could set a presedant (sp???)...

an example:

a killer gets to choose to go to church instead of prison...



Something of this nature would have to go to Supreme Court to set any kind of judicial standard....But I doubt anything of the sort will happen...

Just another ignorant fluke decision from a gov't official - Nothing new these days....



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 03:46 PM
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since the only cases that he is giving this option with are drug charges, then i say to him...
BRAVO...
clapclapclap

I have been getting real ticked about having to pay for all the drug crime out of my taxes...
this cuts that cost down considerably.

It also might be the only effective method for some drug crime violators..



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 03:52 PM
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Too true.
The article states that the judge only puts the offer on the table for those misdemenor crimes such as possession which in this case would of had to have been a small quantity.
As stated, it costs up to $2800 for rehab which is paid by the state. The jail system there is already overcrowded. I would much prefer that the jail space be for those habitual criminals, those that rape, murder etc. than someone who is convicted of a crime as minor as this.
Just my 2cents



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 08:35 PM
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Has anyone actually been to jail for 10 days? It is not really punishment except for the $20 fee they automatically add to your tab or take from whatever cash you have on you, whichever happens to be the case. You dont do anything. You get fed well, housed well, you get to read newspapers, books, watch tv play chess/checkers cards. Except it costs money from the state, or basically that money that automatically comes out of your check every week. There are people who are there every week or month for the same misdemeanor crimes for the same amount of time. The fact is also that if you werent convicted of a violent crime you can even get on friggin work release. Yes, inmates also have access to any religious text they request. I definetly believe sending them to 10 services is better because if they uphold that they go to jail anyways. It saves money and they end up doing pretty much the same thing as if they were in jail, but save them, their family and friends alot of time and money.

Were talking about people who just had a bit much to drink at a fun night at a bar or got caught smoking a joint you know. How many of you here drink beer or smoke weed in your free time. How would you like it if you were in your backyard smoking a joint and you walk up front to check something in your car and a cop on patrol just happens to walk up to you and arrest you for possession? Gonna be a pain in the ass. These arent hardened criminals or militants. They are just simple citizens who got a little carried away occasionaly. Ten days in jail is a waste of time and money because anyone who was serving that little bit of time was probably just enjoying their favorite pass time and slipped up. No need to look at them differently for such reasons. I support this Judge's dicision all the way and feel he was not violating any protocols. He was simply thinking of the tax payer and the "INDIVIDUAL/CITIZEN" as a person with a life. It is good to see we still have judges that think of the people.



posted on May, 31 2005 @ 11:06 PM
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.
Totally unacceptable.

Morality comes from within, not from some religion or code of ethics.

This poor judge has bought the sales pitch that morality has anything what-so-ever to do with religion.

He is wrong.

Christianity supports slavery.
Only modern secular humanist morals and ethics have changed this social value.
The Bible supports slavery and tells you how to get them.
In Saudi Arabia slavery was legal until the 1950s, so I assume that the Koran does not prohibit slavery.

Most religions are just social support groups for bigotry.

Caring about other people and the world you live in and the effects you may have on it come from your living soul,

and Not from some soul you have sold to some religion for some kind of 'ticket to heaven'.
.



posted on Jun, 1 2005 @ 02:38 PM
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so what's the difference? go to church, get forgiven, move on.
Or get "rehab" by psychologists and social workers, who pretend there's an absolute science when there are no absolutes, and get "forgiven by society".

Either way. mostly BS. But the psychologists and the medicators lose out of religion gets a piece of the action.

What's interesting, is the amount of *faith* everyone puts in so-called, often proved ineffective, rehab programs.



posted on Jun, 1 2005 @ 10:45 PM
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What if Mr. Hays decides to attend a Satanist church where services consist of an animal sacrifice, chanting in backwards Latin, and devotional readings from the Necronomicon?

Or are the courts now in the business of condoning certain religions as acceptable to redeem your immortal soul and others as "abnormal"?

Serious Constitutional problems, you betcha.

If an offender chooses the church option, exactly how are the courts going to ensure that the sentence is carried out in a suitably rehabilitative manner?

Is Mr. Hays or any convicted drug or alcohol abuser going to be required to attend services that adhere to societal norms--or can personal religious freedom be exercised?

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution, but I don't think that this Judge meant for his sentences to be carried out at the Church of Body Modification, the Church of The Great Charismatic Pineapple or my personal favorite, the First Church of Shatnerology.

Point being, the court has no jurisdiction over where a person worships, as evidenced by the fact that the judge won't determine the denomination of service. However, I think that it is fair to say that what is intended here is for the service to espouse traditional Judeo-Christian teachings of being beholden to a "higher power." The issue is that the court cannot be specific regarding the particular service, but this option can be rendered even more ineffectual by the tremendous latitude that the offender has here.

I think the judge is trying to impose his Christian beliefs on people he views as "troubled", but this is just a bad solution all around. Someone with an addiction problem will not be "cured" via the religion-by-osmosis approach (and this may actually drive some people to drink even more...).

And the moment one of these offenders choses curtain #3 and selects to worship on a communal Astral Plane instead of in a regular church like "normal" people, this judge will begin making a list of court-approved religious services....







 
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