Sunday: Teen's court-ordered church attendance may not be enforceable
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Saturday, November 17, 2012
MUSKOGEE — A judge’s decision to require a teenager to attend church as part a deferred sentence for manslaughter may not be enforceable, a prosecutor said.
Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore said he knows of no law that would allow the judge to make it a condition of the teen’s sentence.
“I’m not aware of any authority to order someone to participate in a religious event as part of punishment,” Moore said. “I anticipate a constitutional issue with separation of church and state.”
But District Judge Mike Norman said he stands by his decision last week.
“I received a couple of bad calls — one from Oregon and one from Missouri — telling me it was in violation of the U.S. Constitution. They may well be right, but that’s what I did and we made a record,” Norman said.
“If someone wants to appeal my decision they’re entitled to do that,” he said.
The defendant, Tyler Alred, 17, was behind the wheel of a Chevrolet pickup about 4 a.m. Dec. 3 when he crashed into a tree on a county road east of Muskogee. His friend and passenger John Luke Dum, 16, of Muskogee died at the scene.
Read more in Sunday's Tulsa World.
Tyler Alred was behind the wheel of a Chevrolet pickup about 4 a.m. Dec. 3 when he crashed into a tree on a county road east of Muskogee.
District Judge Mike Norman ordered Tyler Alfred to attend church.
Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore