An a sentencing decision that sounds like something out of a bad comedy routine, a Texas judge gave a defendant in a misdemeanor case a simple choice: Marry his girlfriend or do 15 days in jail. Hey, it’s just a matter of how long you want to be locked up, am I right? Try the veal! Still, compared to some other idiotic sentences, it’s far from the worst we’ve heard of. It’s merely stupid, not sickening.
Tell us more, KLTV in Tyler, Texas:
In July, a Smith County judge sentenced Josten Bundy to get married to his 19-year-old girlfriend as part of his probation, which also included writing Bible verses and getting counseling.
The court case stemmed from a February altercation between Bundy and the ex-boyfriend of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Jaynes.
“[The ex-boyfriend] had been saying disrespectful things about Elizabeth, so I challenged him to a fight,” said Bundy. “He stepped in and I felt like it was on and I hit him in the jaw twice.”
Bundy, 20, was charged with assault, although the ex-BF didn’t need medical attention. Also, young Mr. Bundy recognized that he’d done wrong: “I took matters into my own hands and I know that’s wrong,” Bundy said. “I know I was raised better, but it happened.” (Is he a Palin? He sounds like a Palin.) Judge Randall Rogers decided to help this nice young man make a life decision the way that all good decisions are made: under threat of imprisonment. At Bundy’s sentencing, Rogers asked Bundy if the young lady was truly worth fighting over.
“I said, well to be honest, sir, I was raised with four sisters and if any man was talking to a woman like that,” recalled Bundy, “I’d probably do the same thing.”
And so Rogers added the requirement that Bundy marry Jaynes within 30 days as part of his probation. If the couple didn’t get married, Bundy would get two weeks in jail. There’s probably some really good logic behind that order that we’d love to hear more about, but Judge Rogers didn’t reply to media requests for an interview; that could have been amusing, especially his rationale for why he thinks copying out Bible verses is constitutional.
Not that it reflects any on the quality of the relationship, but Bundy initially told the judge he’d take the jail time if Rogers would let him call work to let them know he’d be out for a couple weeks. However, says Bundy, “The judge told me ‘nope, that’s not how this works.’” Because Texas, and also sanctity of marriage, we guess. And since they didn’t want Bundy to lose his job, the young couple decided to get hitched, and got a wedding license right there at the courthouse, scheduling a later date to get married by a justice of the peace.
It’s not quite the dream wedding that Elizabeth Jaynes had in mind:
“I used to watch Say Yes to the Dress and all those shows and all the dresses and think about what kind of dress I would have,” said Jaynes. “I would have liked a spring wedding when it’s not too hot and not too cold.”
On the upside, at least the couple had already been talking about getting married, and had some really classy ideas about how their dream wedding would have gone:
“We were strung over each other and really were in love,” Bundy said. “[At our wedding] I would have worn a black tux with some yellow under it because I’m a Steelers fan.”
See, it’s the little things that make a marriage work, and now, with this rushed wedding, Judge Rogers has sacked their dreams 10 yard behind the line of scrimmage, and roughed the groom on top of it.
KLTV consulted an attorney, Blake Bailey, who said the order to marry was quite plainly illegal:
“To say you’re not going to be criminally punished if you get married is way out of left field,” said Bailey. “It sounds like the old days of shotgun weddings, but not even the judge is capable of enforcing, what he thinks is best for some people in his court.”
He said that if the couple had appealed, the ruling almost certainly would have been struck down. Still, the disgruntled couple is planning a second ceremony, in a church (or perhaps a sports bar; the TV station didn’t specify) when they can save up the money to do things right. This sounds like a marriage that’s made to last; Yr Wonkette guesses that if they play their cards right, these kids should be able to sell their story as a TV series, except maybe the judge would sentence Bundy to be Jaynes’s butler.