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S.C. judge sentences drunk driver to 8 years, bible study

By Jonathan Terbush
Thursday, July 5, 2012 22:32 EDT
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A bible and a crucifix. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
 
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A South Carolina judge has sentenced a woman to eight years in prison and, as if that weren’t punishment enough, also stipulated that she must read the book of Job and deliver a report on it.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles handed down the unusual punishment, perhaps thinking that a review of the Old Testament book, which tells how one man’s faith could not be shattered by hardship and unjust punishment, would do the drunk driver some good. Though the additional sentence seems like a potentially unconstitutional encroachment on the freedom of religion, local media reported that the woman, 28-year-old Cassandra Belle Tolley, actually welcomed it.

Tolley’s arrest stems from an incident last November, when she drove intoxicated on the wrong side of the road and plowed into another vehicle, significantly injuring two men inside. At the time of her arrest, Tolley had a blood alcohol content of 0.333 percent — four times the state’s legal limit. She pled guilty to a felony for driving under the influence and causing seriously bodily harm.

After the crash, Tolley reportedly found God to cope with the remorse over her accident. The pastor who helped her along the religious path even testified as a character witness in her trial, later telling South Carolina’s Rock Hill Herlad that Tolley was, “extremely remorseful.”

 

Nettles’ official biography on the South Carolina Judicial Department website notes that he is a deacon, Sunday school teacher and member of his church’s Foreign Missions Team.

Jonathan Terbush
Jonathan Terbush
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
 
 
 
 
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