Wednesday, January 9, 2008


You gotta feel sorry for this guy: a Georgia prisoner, set to be released on parole in 2009, has been banished from all but one county in the entire state. Gregory Mac Terry has spent the last twelve years behind bars after a conviction for threatening his estranged wife. The trial judge ordered that Terry not enter all but one Georgia county after his release. The Georgia Constitution prohibits both banishment from the entire state and whipping as punishments for crimes, but judges have come up with an end-around: prohibit a convict, like here, from entering all but one county.

Compounding Mr. Terry's problem here is that the's been ordered to enter a work release program after he gets out on parole. The problem is, the one county he can lawfully enter doesn't have that program. Moreover, Terry can't even get to the county he's allowed to be in without violating the judge's order because he'd have to go through a number of places from which he has been banned.

This is one of those cases that makes you scratch your head and wonder what the judge was thinking, if for no other reason than the judge's order can't logically be followed. But, things like banishment are becoming popular among law and order judges who are looking for creative ways to punish offenders. Fines and jail time can only go so far, so some of these judges are looking for ways to truly shame and embarass offenders. For example, consider the guy who got caught stealing mail and had to wear a sign that read "I stole mail. This is my punishment." That's a bucket of pure awesome if you ask me. Now we just need to bring back the stocks.
All this brings me to my question of the day. Pick an offense and pretend you're the judge. What punishment are you going to hand out? Have fun with it.


Dews said...

I did see something in England where it was some guy on a display underneath a huge upside down pint glass with signs all around it saying "I drove drunk", right in the middle of a busy shopping mall...

I kinda liked that idea. That and the posting of deadbeat dads names and such, but on a state-by-state basis those laws are a bit different in how they do child-support and such, so that may be hairy.

SayHey Kid said...

Yeh, and we can go back to slapping on an "A" on a females dress that get caught cheating on their husbands........Wait, thats BRILLIANT!!! Of course I joke.

The problem with a guy banned from every county in a state except the one county that offers no work release programs is that they are more likely to commit a crime in that county in order to survive. Its actually very irresponsible of Georgia to let that happen.

Shane Rollins said...

Couldn't it be ruled that his punishment is cruel and such? It definitely cannot be carried out by the very order of his release work program. The judges decision therefore is flawed, this man needs better lawyers who should contest the sentencing.

Citycat said...

I love this kind of stuff! I agree with SayHey that we have to be careful with it, (and also feel like this particular situation is a little too Kafka-esque for my tastes), but we do lack alternatives. Jail in and of itself can be damaging to someone who is not a hardened criminal (and not a celebrity who gets to be by themselves), and fines are unrealistic for people who simply can't pay them.

If you know someone is guilty of a crime like drunk driving, I think shaming and forcing them to face the community they put at risk is a good alternative.

Shane Rollins said...

Also, it is a sad state of affairs when a man is sentenced to 20 years in prison for threatening his wife when folks who actually do kill someone get off with less time.