A judge in Florida has ordered a man accused of domestic violence to take his wife on a date for her birthday, including flowers, Red Lobster and bowling.
Joseph Bray’s wife, Sonya, told Broward County Judge John “Jay” Hurley that she had gotten mad at her husband because he failed to wish her a happy birthday, according to the Sun Sentinel.
“Having an altercation in the kitchen, Joseph grabbed her arm, pushed her on the couch, put his hand around her neck, held up his fist to hit her, but didn’t actually hit her,” the police report said, according to Hurley.
Bray’s wife said that although this wasn’t the first time she had to call the police, she loved her husband very much and didn’t want “nothing bad to happen to him.”
“I want him to come home,” she added.
“I’m going to order that when he comes home tonight — do you have a favorite restaurant?” the judge asked.
“I like going bowling,” the wife replied. “I go to Red Lobster.”
“I like Red Lobster,” Hurley agreed. “What we’re going to do is, he’s going to be out of jail by three o’clock today. And he’s going to stop by somewhere and he’s going to get some flowers — he’s going to get a card, he’s going to get flowers. And then he’s going to go home, pick up his wife, take her to Red Lobster. And then after they have Red Lobster, they’re going to go bowling. Alright?”
“Does he have to let her win?” someone in the court asked.
“No,” the judge said. “But what you’re going to do tomorrow night — tomorrow afternoon, you’re going to sit down and figure out where you’re going to go to counseling, alright? So, flowers, birthday card, Red Lobster, bowling. You got your work cut out for you.”
Shakesville blogger Melissa McEwan pointed out that the wife should not have been asked if she feared further violence while her abuser was in the courtroom.
“I desperately hope that Sonja Bray is safe,” McEwan wrote. “And I hope that Judge Ha Ha Chuckles is removed from the bench immediately. He literally facilitated what could very well be part of a pattern of escalating abuse: Violence, elaborate display of romance, violence. No one who thinks that sentence is appropriate, no one who fails to recognize how it fits into a recognized abuse cycle, has any fucking business presiding over domestic abuse cases.”
Watch this video from Sun Sentinel, broadcast Feb. 7, 2012.