Demand Fair Sentence for Teen Who Must Attend Church for Probation

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Target: Muskogee County District Judge Mike Norman

Goal: Give a constitutional and fair sentence to teen convicted of DUI

Recently, 17 year old Tyler Alred in Tulsa, Oklahoma was convicted of a DUI and manslaughter after causing a car accident that killed another teen. Alred pleaded guilty and did not argue the charges. The judge on the case, Mike Norman, deferred his sentence, but gave the stipulation that Alred must attend church every Sunday for the next 10 years. Although Alred agreed to the probation, legally mandated attendance at religious services is unconstitutional, and is not a fair punishment for Alred’s crime. Demand that Judge Norman give a more appropriate—and constitutional—punishment.

Freedom of religion is one of the most important and respected principles in the Constitution. The separation of church and state is what allows citizens to follow whichever religion they choose without fear of punishment. However, Alred no longer has this freedom. If he decides he does not believe in his religion in the next 10 years, he risks jail time for breaking his probation. While the probation may seem much less harsh than community service or other forms of probation, Alred is giving up one of his most basic freedoms.

Although Alred and his lawyer have stated they do not wish to challenge the terms of the probation, Judge Norman has given church attendance as terms of previous probations. This has set a precedent for unconstitutional punishments. Unless these probations and terms are challenged, courts will be able to take away this basic freedom. Demand Alred be given a fair sentence that does not take away his freedom of religion.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Judge Norman:

Recently, you sentenced 17 year old Tyler Alred to probation on the condition that he attends church every Sunday for the next 10 years. This punishment means that Alred will not be able to choose to deviate from Christianity for the next decade, even if he feels he cannot agree with the religion. If he does choose to pursue this basic freedom, he may be punished with jail time.

I ask you to give Alred a fair sentence. Freedom of religion is a basic freedom that is guaranteed by the Constitution. Although Alred now does not wish to challenge this sentence, you have denied him this opportunity for the next decade. Alred deserves a fair sentence that will allow him to keep this freedom.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

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