Tyler Alred, Teen Convicted of Manslaughter, Sentenced to Attend Church for 10 Years
A 17-year-old teenager in Oklahoma was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter after a drunk driving accident that killed one of his friends. Instead of 10 years locked up in prison, the judge sentenced Tyler Alred to one decade of attending church.
The ACLU is blasting that decision, criticizing that it blurs the line between church and state. The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Supreme Court has held that this applies to any government action. Defense attorney and former prosecutor Kisha Hebbon and trial attorney Kirsten Wilson weighed both sides of the issue on America’s News HQ.
Wilson says this “absolutely”
violates the First Amendment because it is a coercive environment involving religion and the government. Hebbon disagreed, arguing that it’s a plea agreement, not coercion. The parents, convicted teenager and the victim’s parents all agreed to the sentencing.
The judge acknowledged that the sentencing probably violates the Constitution, but stated, “Both families were satisfied with the decision. I talked to the district attorney before I passed sentence. I did what I felt like I needed to do.”