ACLU files judicial complaint over Oklahoma teen's church sentence
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
12/04/12 at 5:02 PM
Related story: Judge stands by decision to require teen to attend church
OKLAHOMA CITY — The ACLU of Oklahoma filed a complaint Tuesday against a Muskogee judge for making church attendance a requirement of a teenager’s deferred sentence for manslaughter.
Last month, District Judge Mike Norman sentenced Tyler Alred, 17, to 10 years probation in connection with an alcohol-related crash on Dec. 3, 2011, in which Alred’s friend and passenger, John Luke Dum, 16, died.
Attending church regularly for 10 years was one of the requirements Norman placed on Alred to avoid a prison sentence.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma filed the complaint with the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints asserting that Norman’s decision disregards the country’s founding principles of religious liberty and violates the Oklahoma Code of Judicial Conduct which requires judges to uphold and apply the law.
“We didn’t file this complaint lightly,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. “We believe in a strong and independent judiciary. For us to come to come to this conclusion really speaks to the level of disregard that Judge Norman has showed towards the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of the state of Oklahoma.”
Kiesel said that the council, which is made up of judges and attorneys, would make a recommendation to the Court on the Judiciary on what action, if any, to take against Norman.
Read more in Wednesday's Tulsa World.
District Judge Mike Norman