A controversial sentence has been handed down to a teen convicted of manslaughter in the death of his friend and passenger John Luke Dum, 16.
Tyler Alred, a now-17-year-old, had alcohol in his system when he crashed his truck in early December of 2011 around 4 a.m. His blood alcohol content was below the legal limit, but because of his age, was still considered a DUI. He pleaded guilty to ’manslaughter as a youthful offender’ in August. But what makes all of this (even more) controversial, was the bizarre sentence he was given by Judge Mike Norman: 10 years of probation that require he attend church regularly…among other things. If he wants to avoid prison, Alred must also graduate from high school, welding school, take drug, alcohol and nicotine tests for a year, wear a drug and alcohol bracelet, and take part in victim’s impact panels.
It is important to note here, however, that John Dum’s family didn’t want Alred to spend time in prison. According to Dum’s sister, Caitlin, “We don’t need to see two lives wasted for one mistake.”

But it’s the ‘separation of church and state’ issue that is raising many eyebrows. Law professor Gary Allison of the University of Tulsa, told KTUL that it “speaks to maybe forcing people to do religious activities that they would otherwise not do [of] their own free will. I don't know why a church would want to have someone come to it under the force of government.” But according to Alred’s attorney, he already goes to church every Sunday. “That isn’t going to be a problem for him,” he explained.

KOKH reports that Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore believes, not only that the sentence is unconstitutional, but that it sends the wrong message, stating, “Other young people watching this could be saying, ‘Hey look. He didn’t get in trouble. He has to go to church and he’s on probation. No big deal.’”