Without a doubt, judges across this vast land of ours have a great deal of latitude in handing down sentences. As the ones who have the final say in issuing the punishment to a guilty party, they have been known over the years to conjure up a few odd ideas — perhaps to order a penance that they believe best fits the crime. Now it appears an Oregon judge has blown past his colleagues and come up with a novel sentencing idea.
But first, a little weird-punishment primer:
- In Ohio, a woman who decided to drive around a stopped school bus was ordered to stand in the street with a sign saying, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”
- A Texas woman convicted of neglecting her horses got three days of bread and water in jail, followed by another 27 days in the slammer.
- In Florida, a man accused of a domestic crime was ordered to “buy his wife flowers” and take her out for an evening of bowling and dinner.
There are more — many more — of these types of kooky punishments, but you get the idea. Now for the latest:
Rule #1: Don’t Touch That Turban
A judge in Oregon ordered a man to attend a Sikh parade and report back to the court his findings. In handing down the forced religious-cultural education, Marion County Judge Lindsay Partridge said, “Bigotry is the result of ignorance. All of us are able to learn and benefit from cultures in our community.”
It all began when Andrew Ramsey walked into a convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes. The Sikh store clerk would not oblige without first seeing some identification. Ramsey didn’t feel like complying, and the altercation turned physical as the irate customer pulled the clerk’s beard and ripped off his turban before landing a punch or two.
It appears the good judge is hellbent on teaching the perpetrator a lesson. In addition to the required Sikh parade attendance, Mr. Ramsey was given 180 days in jail and three years’ probation. He also was ordered to undergo alcohol and drug treatment as well as a mental health evaluation. In courtroom parlance, one could say Judge Partridge threw the book at Ramsey.
Sikhism is the world’s fifth-largest organized religion, founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak. His teachings do not include the concepts of hell or heaven but rather a spiritual one-ness with the great spirit Akal. Sikhs are not permitted alcohol or tobacco, although they do meditate with the aid of cannabis. And the cutting of hair? That’s a big no-no for those who have undergone the Sikh initiation ceremony of Amrit.
But why go into all this now when we can simply wait for Mr. Ramsey’s report following his mandatory Sikh parade attendance at the Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Temple in Salem?
The moral of the story: When a clerk asks you for ID, just hand it over lest you summon up the laws of bad karma — or you could just stay the hell out of Oregon.
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