Controversial DUI manslaughter sentence

Judge orders teen to attend church regularly for the next 10 years


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," December 7, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: On December 3rd last year, 16-year-old Tyler Alfred from Oklahoma was driving under the influence and crashed his pickup truck, killing his passenger and friend 16-year-old John Luke Dum. Alfred pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter in August. In the Muskogee County -- Muskogee, you know, it's Oklahoma, District Judge Mike Norman decided not to give him any jail time, just probation, with an order to attend church regularly for the next 10 years.

I've to several thoughts on this but I let you start, Eric. What do you think?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: This is tough one. I mean, his blood alcohol is 0.6 or 0.7. I think that's double legal limit.

There are other issues, though. It's not just to attend church. There other things. He has to graduate high school. He has to graduate welding school. He has to go through various of testing going forward.

On the other hand, he is 17-year-old? Yes. Seventeen years old. I have a problem with this. A 17-year-old now is kind of an adult, you know?

I'm sure he is getting this because he is 17 and not 18. I'm guessing. Am I wrong?

BECKEL: Well, it may be part of it. Listen, it seems to me I'm a firm believer in going to church. But this really, clearly crosses the boundary between church and state, one. And two, I don't know why the judge, besides alcohol testing, why he didn't sentence him to 10 years of alcohol rehab or at least outpatient rehab because, a kid like this, if this happens to him at this age, I will guarantee you in my experience, they will continue to drink and drive. And this kid is going to kill himself or somebody else again, whether he goes to church or not.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: I don't know. I think maybe this was a good solution because perhaps then the remorse he expresses in the article, for the incident, actually then he'll find a way to improve his life. And if the ACLU wants to step in to be -- help parent these kids, which is what the government has had to do.

All of the things he got sentenced to is things that parents used to tell you, you had to do. Graduate high school, get a drug and alcohol assessment, you're going to go to church for 10 years. That's what something that your parents did, but now, the government has to do it. I don't think the ACLU doing anything else to help this young man.

BECKEL: You don't think it's a big cross over the line?

PERINO: I don't care. When the ACLU ends the Charlie Brown Christmas excursion from 7-year-olds, like this is what they spend their time doing, I think they should butt out in this case. And let the guy go to church to see if it works and helps him.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: I have to disagree with Dana. I think this is --

PERINO: Outrageous monster.

GUTFELD: I know. This is silly and unconstitutional. The judge is grandstanding or is incompetent. It trivializes the case.

They should send the kid to jail. They should send the judge to law school. My guess is he probably wants a TV show. Ever since Judge Judy, every judge wants their own show. He's probably looking for an agent.

BOLLING: So, are OK with the rest of it? You're all right of the drug and alcohol -- bracelet, victim -- take part in victim impact panels?

BECKEL: Those are not as severe --


ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: This is a clear violation of the First Amendment. He can't do this. I'm going say something I don't think I've said before. I actually agree with the ACLU. He can't do this.

It's not the government's role to step in and mandate that he go to church. I think the most important issue is that the -- that the punishment doesn't really fit the crime. This kid already says he goes to church. They said he has to get his GED.

And while I think that's a good intention, plenty of people have education who go out and kill people or drive drunk and end up --

GUTFELD: There's a dead kid isn't getting his GED and isn't going to church. There is a punishment for that.

BECKEL: There are kids I know alcoholics who go for weekend in jail.

There they have to do intensive therapy on their drinking and their drugging. I think that makes a lot more sense than going, than forced to go to church.

TANTAROS: GED behind bars.

PERINO: But maybe the judge exercising his judgment, saw something redeeming in this young man and thought that he was making the best decision based on his statement. I believe in local control, counties and states should be able to pick their judges. I would assume he's an elected judge or maybe appointed by political appointee and he is making -- that's what they do. They make judgments.

BOLLING: Can I make one more point? We don't know if this was the defendant's proposal to say, hey, I'll go to church and the judge said, OK, fine, put it on the list, too. That may have been --

BECKEL: But you don't think it will survive the courts, do you?

PERINO: I won't take the ACLU seriously until they defend the guy who made the video that caused -- I'm sorry, that did not cause the Benghazi attack.

BECKEL: This one is --

PERINO: They let him rot in jail.

BECKEL: Andrea is right. This is as about as clear a violation of church and state that I think I've ever seen.

BOLLING: So, your whole issue is the church part of it?

BECKEL: Yes. I wish they would go to church. I think it's great.

PERINO: Can I have the book the loneliness?

GUTFELD: Dana is mad because none of us --

PERINO: Nobody agrees with me. I have not convinced anybody.

BECKEL: Let me give you a thought about that. Sit right here, you will understand what it feels like.

TANTAROS: But it's true, judges should have discretion but I do think this is --

PERINO: That's the word I'm looking for.

TANTAROS: -- pretty clear that he is crossing the line. This is not adequate punishment.

PERINO: I think that's right.

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