I have previously and repeatedly written against the use of shaming and novel sentencing by judges around the country (here and here and here). Judges often thrill the public by imposing their own forms of justices — departing from conventional criminal sentences to force people to clean courtroom with toothbrushes, wear demeaning placards, or carry out publicly humiliating tasks. Now, Utah District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen has joined this circus of judicial Caesars after giving a mother the choice to cut off his daughter’s ponytail in front of him or accept a longer sentence. The mother, Valerie Bruno, relented and cut off Kaytlen Lopan, 13,in the courtroom.
The minor was found to have cut the hair of a toddler in a restaurant. Johansen gave Valerie Bruno a pair of scissors in the courtroom and a choice: either cut off her daughter Kaytlen’s hair or have the teen spend an extra 150 hours in detention. The judge then watched the reluctant mother grab her daughter and instructed “take it off clear up to the rubber band.”
The mother of the 3-year-old victim loved the decision, insisting that her daughter’s hair had never been cut and was once down to her back but was cut short by the teen. The teen had spoken to the girl with an 11-year-old friend at a McDonald’s and went to buy scissors to do the act.
The mother rejects that she relented but said that she felt intimated by the judge. Bruno has now filed a complaint against the judge.
None of this excuses the act of the teen, who appears to have had other disciplinary problems. However, I do not see how the judge acting like a thoughtless 13-year-old child teaches this girl a moral lesson.
Source: Deseret News