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Justice and Job: Unique sentence in York drunk driving case stirs up controversy (SC)
SCNow ^ | 4 Aug 2012 | Traci Bridges

Posted on 08/04/2012 9:02:42 PM PDT by SC Swamp Fox

Judge Michael Nettles’ decision to tack a biblical assignment onto the sentence of a drunken driver in York County has people from South Carolina to Europe and beyond talking.

Cassandra Belle Tolley, 28, pleaded guilty in June to a drunken driving crash in Rock Hill that left two people seriously injured – one had to have rods and screws surgically implanted to support his spinal column, the other has undergone six surgeries and could still lose his left foot. Nettles, a Lake City native and resident judge in the Florence-based 12th Circuit, accepted the plea and sentenced Tolley to eight years in prison followed by five years probation and substance abuse counseling. But Nettles added an unusual sentence stipulation: He ordered that Tolley read the Book of Job and complete a summary of it.

The unusual sentence set tongues to wagging – and Nettles’ phone to ringing. Religious, judicial and government experts across the nation and around had pondered the decision for what it says about the always-thorny separation of church and state. Most experts say it almost certainly violates that prohibition -- and whether or not it might have been an abuse of judicial power. Is forcing someone to read the Book of Job and write a report on it a form of “cruel and unusual punishment,” which is prohibited by the Constitution?

“I don’t know that it would be considered cruel and unusual,” said Kenneth Gaines, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, who specializes in the area of punishment. “But it’s certainly unusual, and if she hadn’t consented to it, no, I don’t think it would be enforceable. It’s not something that’s done on a regular basis, but judges do have some discretion, and in this case, if the defendant had not agreed, it probably could have been considered an abuse of that discretion. But she agreed to it, so it’s not really an issue.”

Nettles has repeatedly declined comment on the case and the sentence, as is his general rule, but said in a phone conversation that he’s aware it has stirred up quite a debate. He said he has received hundreds of phone calls, emails and letters from both supporters and protesters, as have others involved in the case.

The case itself is unusual and is certainly worthy of some debate. The defendant’s background includes abuse as a child and the beginnings of religious redemption, even before Nettles’ assignment.

Tolley’s attorney, Amy Sikora, a York County public defender, said it was Tolley that brought religion to the table during her plea hearing. She professed her Christianity to the judge, and her pastor spoke on her behalf.

“There was a large discussion on record about how she has really turned to religion to cope and deal with a lot of things that have happened to her in her life,” Sikora said.

Tolley told her pastor and Sikora that a relative repeatedly abused her physically as a child. On Thanksgiving Day, when Tolley was 11, Sikora said a relative doused her with gasoline and set her on fire. Burn scars are still visible on her face.

Tolley moved to Rock Hill from Ohio and occasionally began attending New Vision Free Will Baptist Church, where she met the Rev. Daggett Duncan.

“She’s a very, very, very humble, distraught person,” Duncan said in an interview with the Rock Hill Herald. “Looking in her eyes, you could see the pain. You just couldn’t help but reach out.”

Duncan said Tolley has turned to alcohol through the years in an effort to cope with her problems. That dependency took its toll Nov. 12, 2011, when, while driving drunk on the wrong side of the road, Tolley crashed into a car, severely injuring its two passengers.

According to the York County solicitor’s office, her blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was more than four times the legal limit.

Duncan said Tolley has been distraught over her actions and the effect they had on others since the crash and is extremely remorseful. So much so, Duncan said that when Tolley saw one of her victims in court, she turned to him and said, “I don’t deserve to live. I have ruined these people’s lives.”

With Duncan’s help, Sikora said Tolley has turned to Christ. Duncan spoke on Tolley’s behalf in court. He said Nettles’ choice of Bible book is interesting and appropriate.

Job is a well-known book, a work considered a literary masterpiece by some outside of its religious context. It’s spawned countless commentaries, perhaps the most famous being Rabbi Harold Kushner’s “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

In Job, a “righteous man” – Job – is portrayed as the subject of a bet between God and Satan. Satan wagers that he can make Job lose his religion, as it were, by afflicting him with calamitous bad fortune. Most of the book is Job’s “friends” trying to explain what has happened. The climax of the book is God’s “answer” to Job’s questions. The book does not really explain why suffering happens, or what God thinks about it, but it does pose those critical questions.

“I think (Nettles’) faith and his compassion led him to use the Book of Job,” Duncan said. “Job made it through, and he wants her to know she can, too.”

Duncan and his wife, Judy, will take custody of two of Tolley’s three children – a 6-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy – while she’s in prison. Her third child, an infant, will live with the father.

Tolley pleaded to felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury. The crime carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail, but Sikora said Tolley pleaded under a 10-year cap.

Sikora said despite others’ opinions on the unique sentence, Tolley embraces it.

“She pleaded on a Thursday,” said Sikora. “The next morning, I went down to the jail to see her and she’d already started working on it [reading Job and the required writing assignment],” Sikora said. “That was a provision of her probation, so she was already working on it years before she’d ever be required to. She has no problem with it and was in fact thankful for it.”


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; US: South Carolina
KEYWORDS: dui; job; justice; york
I recommend reading the entire article.
1 posted on 08/04/2012 9:02:51 PM PDT by SC Swamp Fox
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To: SC Swamp Fox

“I recommend reading the entire article.”

###############################

I recommend reading the entire Bible.


2 posted on 08/04/2012 9:11:55 PM PDT by Eccl 10:2
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To: SC Swamp Fox

the most famous book inspired by Job isn’t that crappy feel good book by the Rabbi. It’s “Answer to Job” by Carl Jung.


3 posted on 08/04/2012 9:29:01 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: SC Swamp Fox
Interesting. After I got hurt, and was out of the hospital. I read the book of Job every day for 4 months. I couldn't even sit up by myself, what else was I going to do?

That time in my life, and the book of Job changed my life forever.

Prayers lifted for her victims. And for her.

/johnny

4 posted on 08/04/2012 9:39:12 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

The book doesn’t have that horribly complex a story in it. A fellow, Job, who lived well before Abraham, and who behaved very conscientiously towards God though by no means being perfect (no sinner is) was commended by God before the angels. The devil was among them and mocked Job to God, claiming that Job’s faith would easily break down if he met calamity. God gave the devil permission to cause such calamity and then the main theme of the book begins. Job’s friends were even more ignorant than Job was about what was happening (none of them understood spiritual warfare), and an almost comic sequence follows for many chapters where they try to blame Job for the problems and Job keeps protesting that he’s innocent. Finally the wisest of the friends emphasizes the sovereignty of God and then God elaborates on that point out of the whirlwind. Job calms down and realizes the point of the ordeal wasn’t his guilt or innocence and confesses to God that he was wrong to have assumed that it was. God raises Job up, has him pray for the erring friends who tried to blame him, and blesses him a second time. The End.

If this is all this lady has to write it really isn’t very much. It will take maybe an hour....


5 posted on 08/04/2012 10:01:48 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: SC Swamp Fox

I’m all for getting tough on drunk drivers - but forcing him to read a religious text is not what this country is about.


6 posted on 08/04/2012 10:05:12 PM PDT by grundle
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To: HiTech RedNeck
There are a lot of little details in that book that someone going through a tough time can derive lessons from.

But, yea... you pretty much summed it up overall.

You learn a lot by re-reading a book like Job every day for 4 months.

I could probably write a book about it, myself. ;)

/johnny

7 posted on 08/04/2012 10:08:00 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: grundle

Did you even read the excerpt?


8 posted on 08/04/2012 10:18:11 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: SC Swamp Fox

Oh wonderful, implementing a state religion edict in direct conflict with our constitution! /S

I wonder how many of those here so smugly pleased would still be so happy if the text mandated were Mormon, Buddhist, or even Islamic?

Not many I am sure!
Watch that slippery slope, a person could get hurt.


9 posted on 08/04/2012 10:35:31 PM PDT by Loyal Sedition
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To: HiTech RedNeck
If this is all this lady has to write it really isn’t very much. It will take maybe an hour....

She has 8 years in prison to work on it.

10 posted on 08/04/2012 10:40:28 PM PDT by SC Swamp Fox (Aim small, miss small.)
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To: Loyal Sedition

I’m more bemused about it than concerned, as I myself summed the book up in a few minutes of typing. I don’t know why the judge granted it, as it seems de minimis. But so what if a religion appropriate task like this was assigned. For a Mormon, some Mormon text. For a Muslim, a chapter of the Quran. For an atheist, some humanist screed. This is all de minimis and nobody who is a party to the case seems to be complaining.


11 posted on 08/04/2012 10:42:51 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: Eccl 10:2

I recommend reading the entire article.

###############################

I recommend reading the entire Bible.

###############################

I recommend reading the entire works of Shakespeare.

“To brag unto them, “Thus I did, and thus!”

- Coriolanus, Act 2, Scene 2.


12 posted on 08/04/2012 10:43:38 PM PDT by IvanV
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To: SC Swamp Fox

Why of course, which is why the fuss over something that a knowledgeable Christian can turn out in a few minutes seems to be over my head. In that time one could turn out a very minute biblical commentary that expands for pages on almost every verse.


13 posted on 08/04/2012 10:44:41 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: Loyal Sedition
Tolley’s attorney, Amy Sikora, a York County public defender, said it was Tolley that brought religion to the table during her plea hearing. She professed her Christianity to the judge, and her pastor spoke on her behalf.

“There was a large discussion on record about how she has really turned to religion to cope and deal with a lot of things that have happened to her in her life,” Sikora said.

With Duncan’s help, Sikora said Tolley has turned to Christ. Duncan spoke on Tolley’s behalf in court. He said Nettles’ choice of Bible book is interesting and appropriate.

“I think (Nettles’) faith and his compassion led him to use the Book of Job,” Duncan said. “Job made it through, and he wants her to know she can, too.”

Sikora said despite others’ opinions on the unique sentence, Tolley embraces it.

14 posted on 08/04/2012 10:53:40 PM PDT by SC Swamp Fox (Aim small, miss small.)
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To: SC Swamp Fox

“There was a large discussion on record about how she has really turned to religion to cope and deal with a lot of things that have happened to her in her life,” Sikora said.

Um, not too well it seems, else she would not have been in that court!

Not expecting too much from someone who continually substitutes one addiction for another, allowing them to shift all personal responsibility to another party, or substance.

Wonder how long before she kills someone during a “Lapse”?


15 posted on 08/04/2012 11:20:58 PM PDT by Loyal Sedition
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To: TXnMA

I only read the beginning of the excerpt. But now looking further on, I see that it was actually the defendant’s idea. My bad. Sorry.


16 posted on 08/04/2012 11:28:25 PM PDT by grundle
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To: SC Swamp Fox
"one had to have rods and screws surgically implanted to support his spinal column"

Is there any other way?

17 posted on 08/05/2012 3:17:00 AM PDT by Dacus943
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Actually you’ve missed the main points of the Book of Job.

It’s about whether suffering is punishment for sin or whether sometime the totally innocent suffer.

Job is not a sinner. He’s innocent. (This is a didactic story, character-traits are exaggerated to make a point.) His friends’ theology is that suffering only happens as punishment for sin. (And conversely, prosperity is reward for righteousness. Prosperity-Gospel 101.)

Job knows he has not sinned. He begs God to explain why he, being innocent, has to suffer so much. His friends tell him to admit he’s sinned so as not to risk damnation.

But that would be a lie. Job doesn’t lie. He is righteous. Yet he’s suffering. Both are clear facts, to Job. (His friends only know the fact of his suffering. They cannot KNOW that he’s sinned. They ASSUME that he’s sinned, based on their theology of suffering.)

Job’s friends want him to accuse God of injustice, of punishing those who don’t deserve it. Job steadfastly refuses to say that God was wrong to punish him though he’s innocent. Job is a man of utter faith: he basically says, I don’t see why I should be suffering. I did not do anything to deserve it. But I will not curse God for this. I believe God is just,
no
matter
what.

Job is about faith when it seems impossible. About believing that God is righteous, no matter how puzzling God’s behavior seems to be.

The point of the book is to reject the false theology that suffering is always punishment for sin. It sets the stage for Christ, the Suffering One who is TOTALLY innocent.

For many religions, including classic Judaism, the assumption that suffering is punishment for sin is deeply engrained. The Book of Job points toward the immense breakthrough in Christianity: that the Innocent Sufferer will somehow, in the end, set right the suffering of all innnocents. God takes care of innocent suffering by Himself suffering Innocently.

Job is crucial today because a lot of people look at the Holocaust and say, one cannot believe in God (the God of Christianity or Judaism) any more—how could a Good God permit that kind of innocent suffering? Modern people curse God, blame God for letting it happen. Job refused to do that.

.

The message out of the whirlwind is to tell Job

Job is thus, together with Isaiah 53, one of the most important Christological books in the OT.


18 posted on 08/05/2012 6:03:45 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Houghton M.

Strike next-to-last line. Was going to develop something further.


19 posted on 08/05/2012 6:06:20 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Loyal Sedition
I wonder how many of those here so smugly pleased would still be so happy if the text mandated were Mormon, Buddhist, or even Islamic?

A summary of the Koran?

My pleasure, your honor!

20 posted on 08/05/2012 6:29:50 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Houghton M.

If you want Christological reflection, you’re now beginning to ask for a commentary, not a summary. And the book could easily generate many times its volume in commentary text.

The book certainly hints at the theme of the innocent suffering. But this never happens without a reason. In Job’s case, the immediate reason was that God would show the devil that Job’s faith was up to the challenge. Job’s suffering worked nobody’s salvation. In Jesus’ case, the reason was so that he could be the saving hero, bearing the burden of sin that we Christians couldn’t.


21 posted on 08/05/2012 5:49:44 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I gave an accurate summary: Job is innocent. His friends’ theology requires that his suffering be punishment for sin. He protests that it is not, begs God to explain himself. He refuses to blame God, judge God. The final faith affirmation ties suffering to redemption.

To say that it only hints at innocent suffering is to miss the main point of the book. If Job were guilty rather than innocent, he’d have his answer. Precisely because he’s righteous, yet suffering, is the central issue, not merely a hint.

Did you read the same book I read?

When combined with Isaiah 53 it is an important part of the OT preparation for the Christian message of redemptive suffering.


22 posted on 08/05/2012 5:55:22 PM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Houghton M.
You are looking for Christological connotation. I am looking at denotation. By the way Isaiah 53 does have Christological denotation. Smart aleckiness does not behoove godliness.
23 posted on 08/05/2012 7:39:59 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I mentioned Christologlical implications. That’s simply the way Christians view the OT.

But the summary I gave of the book itself is accurate and the point.

I’m the one who said Isaiah 53 has Christological implications. No need to school me on that, as if you caught me in a contradiction.

You have not accurately read and summarized what I wrote. That’s not being smart-alecky. It’s an observation of what you’ve been doing from your initial response.


24 posted on 08/06/2012 1:07:21 PM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Houghton M.

Oh, a “real Christian” never follows the face of the story?

So sorry to disappoint you that a summary is not a commentary. I’m sure to you a summary would pass the literal story by and instead would be a mini commentary about what a wonderful picture of Jesus Christ the story of Job is. But I believe words have literal meanings. Summaries are summaries; commentaries are commentaries. I missed nothing by leaving Christology out of the summary. It is because I never presumed to provide a commentary.


25 posted on 08/06/2012 7:27:53 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I gave an accurate summary. I also gave interpretation. I distinguished the two.

You refuse all interpretation and only give commentary, or so you claim. Of course, insisting that no commentary is ever legitimate is itself to choose a side in interpretation issues.

But continue in your stubborn on your purity.


26 posted on 08/12/2012 6:26:02 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Houghton M.

What a wondrous set of straw men. Ever consider donating them to a museum?

A summary covers the face story. You act all aghast that it does not also cover the Christological hints of the face story. Some passages in Old Testament books carry Christology on their face. Job serves rather as an imperfect analogy to the eternal saga of Jesus Christ (no mortal’s experience could exactly parallel that of the perfect Christ); and one face lesson is not to be ignorant of spiritual warfare, a lesson that carries over directly into the practice of Christianity.


27 posted on 08/12/2012 6:49:36 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

“You act all aghast that it does not also cover the Christological hints of the face story.”

This is simply false. I never wrote that the Christological interpretation is part of the “face story.”

You are falsely representing what I wrote.

You lie.


28 posted on 08/12/2012 7:30:35 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Houghton M.

You drama-queened about how we could possibly be reading the same book, if you recall. And now you are shifting words around. How about donating those straw men to a museum?


29 posted on 08/12/2012 8:16:10 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

How about stop inventing words?


30 posted on 08/17/2012 2:11:22 PM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: HiTech RedNeck

and making stuff up?


31 posted on 08/17/2012 2:12:30 PM PDT by Houghton M.
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