Diatribe: Judge Jeanine Howard.
For generations, parents have had “the talk” with their children when they thought the time was right. A discussion of “the birds and the bees” is a necessary right of passage and sex education has become prevalent in public school curriculum around the world.
There are also laws concerning sex that have been in place for decades. Laws that are intended to protect children from predators, women from violence and employees from workplace discrimination. Lawyers study these laws, many specialize in their protection and implementation, and some become judges. Judges are expected to know and understand these laws and rule accordingly.
Even judges in Texas. Even Judge Jeanine Howard.
Judge Howard could have sentenced a 20-year-old Sir Young to twenty years in prison after he admitted to raping a fourteen-year-old girl in her high school. Instead, she gave him a forty-five-day sentence followed by probation after implying that his victim was promiscuous. Apparently, she based the sentence in part on medical records that indicated the girl had given birth after having three different sexual partners.
The judge told The Dallas Morning News that the victim “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be” and that the defendant “is not your typical sex offender”.
It appears to me that this judge is sending two very irresponsible messages to the people of Texas.
- Victims, and their reputations, may not necessarily be protected by Texas courts so coming forward to report sexual attacks could be discouraged.
- Potential rapists could pay a very small price for their crime should the victim choose to come forward.
It wasn’t just the light sentence that drew criticism but the fact that Young was ordered to serve 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center who later said he was not welcome there. His presence, they said, could be a triggering effect for many of their clients.
Judge Howard has recused herself and a new judge will oversee the case moving forward, including a motion filed by prosecutors to add more requirements to Young’s probation.
The inclusion of the girls medical records and sexual history should not have played a role in the judges decision. It looks to me that the only correct decision Judge Howard has made was her final decision … her decision to leave the matter in someone else’s hands.
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