Last December a 16 year old minor from Muskogee made a terrible and tragic decision when he chose to have a few drinks before he took a fellow 16 year for an early morning drive. By daylight his friend was
dead and he was facing DUI and Manslaughter charges after he drove his pickup into a tree along a rural
Muskogee District Judge Mike Norman was assigned to handle the sentencing of the wayward teenager and he chose to impose a deferred sentence and probation with several conditions, including one which requires the now 17 year old to attend weekly church services for the next ten years.
Although the minor and his attorney have expressed their satisfaction with Judge Norman’s decision, the ACLU has filed a judicial complaint against Judge Norman alleging that he violated Oklahoma’s Code of Judicial Conduct by ignoring the First Amendment which it asserts, minimally, prohibits the government
from forcing anyone to attend church services.
Judge Norman stands behind his decision, contending that the church attendance provision was just one of several similar conditions that he appended to the probation, but he acknowledges that he is aware he may have overstepped his authority.
The ACLU states it requesting that the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints consider all of its
disciplinary options (ranging from a mere counseling to removal from office) in reviewing the judicial
complaint to discourage Judge Norman and other jurists from such blatant disregard of the Oklahoma and
U.S. Constitutions in the future.
Mon, December 10, 2012
by Jeff Saxton