Man Sentenced to Marry - Judge Should Hang His Head!
Posted: 12th August 2015
Posted in: News
Posted by: Dean Evans, Partner
“Judge: I Sentence You to Marry or You Will Go to Jail”
Picture this: You’re 21 years old and you have a 19 year old girlfriend. Her ex-boyfriend and you exchange words and you end up in a fight. Silly enough, right? You’re charged with misdemeanour assault and you are given a Notice to Appear in Court. You attend Court and the Judge discusses sentencing options. He opens that he is offering you the choice between 15 days in jail and a record (after which you would lose your employment) or receiving probation and some stringent conditions, including that you must copy out portions of the bible and marry your 19 year old girlfriend within 30 days.
What do you do?
Getting legal advice from at least the duty lawyer would be my answer!
But it seems that in Texas, this doesn’t immediately occur to anyone as being a sensible idea.
The 21 year old chose to marry his 19 year old girlfriend and copy out the bible. By doing so, he stayed out of jail, kept his liberty intact and probably kept his job (although if you were his boss, what would you be thinking?).
The problem with his choice to marry, was that it was not made entirely voluntarily and was impacted by duress, which had been brought to bear upon him by someone.
His consent to marry was therefore not given freely and he would be entitled to apply for a declaration that the marriage was invalid or void.
Consent to any marriage must be given freely.
The Texan Judge was foolish to have thought he could be so creative and more so, to interfere with something as special as marriage – for which some members of the community are fighting for such a right.
It really is quite offensive and is likely to have created so many legal issues and obligations which need to be undone, the Judge should be disciplined for having “invented” an illegal sentencing option.