FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A woman who sued a judge after he sentenced her to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings has reached a settlement and won't be required to attend the 12-step program that she claimed amounted to forcing religion on her, her lawyer says.
U.S. District Judge Jimm Hendren on Monday dismissed the federal lawsuit brought by Mindy Gayle Offutt, who was convicted of a misdemeanor drug charge last year and given a 30-day suspended jail sentence, contingent upon her attending 12 NA meetings.
Doug Norwood, Offutt's attorney, said the parties reached an agreement that calls for Judge Doug Schrantz to issue an amended judgment saying Offutt doesn't have to attend the 12-step program.
After attending on NA meeting, Offutt filed the suit against Schrantz and Rogers District Court, arguing that the sentence illegally forced her to practice a religion. She claimed the programs have a religious undertone and required everyone to pray at the end of each meeting.
Attorneys for Schrantz had asked the federal court previously to grant Schrantz immunity and to rule in his favor.