Texas judge orders defendant to marry girlfriend in 30 days – or go to jail

Texas judge orders defendant to marry his girlfriend and write out Bible verses in bizarre sentencing

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The Independent US

A judge has ordered a man on assault charges to get married - or spend 15 days in prison.

Josten Bundy, of Tyler, Texas, who was arrested after punching his girlfriend’s ex-partner, was given the ultimatum by Smith County Judge Randall Rogers, according to court documents obtained on Friday.

The judge gave him a stark choice: get married in 30 days or go to jail for 15 days.

Bundy’s girlfriend, 19-year-old Elizabeth Jaynes, was in court as Judge Rogers popped the question.

She told KLTV: “My face was so red, people behind me were laughing.”

Under-pressure Bundy feared for his job if imprisoned and asked permission to call his employer, the Washington Post reported.

But the unorthodox justice refused the call, so Bundy agreed to apply for a marriage licence.

Legal experts have questioned the validity of the sentencing, by Smith County Judge Randall Rogers (KLTV)

The couple, who were about a year into their relationship, had discussed marriage, but hoped for a white wedding sometime in the far future.

But they ditched their dream, only giving relatives 18 days’ notice of the ceremony for fear of incurring the judge’s wrath.

Only a few close family members could make the wedding, last month, with Bundy’s dad and sisters noticeably absent.

Elizabeth wore a white tank top and blue skirt, a far cry from the white dress she wanted, and Bundy wore a blue polo shirt instead of his desired tuxedo.

Elizabeth told KLTV: “It just felt like we weren't going to be able to have the wedding we wanted

“It was just going to be kind of pieced together. I didn't even have a white dress.”

Legal experts have questioned the validity of the probation conditions, which also included writing out Bible verses and attending counselling sessions.

Constitutional law attorney Blake Bailey told KLTV that forcing a couple to marry is illegal and that the sentence would have been struck down by a higher court.

He said: “To say you're not going to be criminally punished if you get married is way out of left field.

“It sounds like the old days of shotgun weddings, but not even the judge is capable of enforcing what he thinks is best for some people in his court.”