Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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Oklahoma Teen Sentenced to 10 Years of Church

THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE? November 17, 2012 It is no surprise that judge  Mike Norman handed down church attendance as part of a plea bargain, but this is the first time it was done for something as serious as first degree manslaughter. The accused, 17 year old Tyler Alfred, was charged with manslaughter after crashing a car and killing the passenger, his friend John Dum. Alfred was under the legal limit for Oklahoma, but had still be involved with underage drinking.

The biggest reason for this sentence was Alfred’s clean record and solid educational performance. At the same time, Norman has previously sentenced people to church as an alternative to jail time. It was a poignant moment for the judge as he realized that the family was an important unit to keep together and decided against jail time. The Oklahoma defense attorney in the case agreed with the sentencing, saying that compared to most of the criminals, Alfred is worth saving. The judge concurred.

Though this is an uncommon sentence, it is an important point for judges to realize that criminal defenders are not all subject to the same penalties in certain situations. It was a combination of circumstances that led to this, including the judge, the defendant’s past, and the Oklahoma defense lawyer, but it shows us that there are alternatives to unjust sentencing and sweeping, black and white decisions based on personal judgement.

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Bruce Edge

Bruce Edge

Bruce Edge is a nationally requested speaker on DUI topics. He has taught Internationally, nationally including The National College for DUI Defense annual session held at Harvard and almost every statewide program on the topic. He is the coauthor of the only book on DUI Defense in Oklahoma- In fact he has 3 books for Oklahoma as well as books for 10 other states. Bruce is the Only Board certified DUI Defense Attorney in Tulsa and 1 of only 49 in the United States. He has trained in all areas of defense starting with the basic training a police officer has, advanced training to actually become an instructor and has actually taught police academy classes. He continually is honing his skill with advance training throughout the United States. Bruce Is AV rated my Martindale Hubbell Rated 10 by AVVO, has been selected as a SuperLawyer every year since its inception in Oklahoma, a Board member of the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and past president of the Tulsa County criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Most importantly Bruce takes a personal interest in every case and has a winning record. His victories include First Degree Manslaughter with a .21 blood alcohol test and two deceased victims. Another was a First Degree Manslaughter where the deceased was in a wheelchair. Bruce knows how to win and fights to the end for his clients!

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