Judge gives man a choice: get married or go to jail
A 20-year-old East Texas man jumped into a quickly arranged marriage after a judge told him last month he had a choice of getting hitched or spending 15 days in jail on an assault charge.
According to court documents obtained on Friday, Smith County Judge Randall Rogers gave the option to Josten Bundy, of Tyler, Texas, who was arrested in March on a charge of assault causing bodily injury, a misdemeanor. Bundy had gotten into a fight with the ex-boyfriend of his then girlfriend and now wife.
The judge said he would grant probation if Bundy married his 19-year-old girlfriend, Elizabeth Jaynes, within 30 days, write Bible verses and attend counseling. If he declined, he would go to jail, according to a transcript of the proceedings obtained by Tyler TV broadcaster KLTV.
“Is she worth it?” Rogers asked Bundy, according to the transcripts.
The bride’s father was angry at the judge for pressuring the pair into marriage and was looking into whether this was judicial misconduct, he told KLTV.
“He (the judge) can’t do this by court ordering somebody to be married,” the bride’s father, Kenneth Jaynes, said.
The judge was not available for a comment.
The couple, who had talked about eventually getting married but did not have immediate wedding plans, is happy that they have tied the knot. But did not appreciate being forced into it, they told the broadcaster. They were not immediately available for comment.
“It just felt like we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding we wanted,” the new bride told the TV station.
“I didn’t even have a white dress.”
The newlyweds have posted a photo of their wedding on Facebook taken from the county court.
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