We have seen instances in the past of judges issuing unique sentencing orders to the convicted criminals in their courtrooms, but this latest story out of Idaho certainly ranks near the top of the list for punishments that fit the crime.
According to the Herald & Review, a judge in Twin Falls, Idaho, sentenced a 19-year-old man to 5 to 15 years in prison for statutory rape, but suspended the sentence on the condition that the convicted man complete a rehabilitation program and remain celibate until he gets married.
Cody Duane Scott Herrera had pleaded guilty to statutory rape involving a 14-year-old girl stemming from an encounter in March 2015. He was 18 at the time.
The New York Times noted that the unusual sentence from Judge Randy Stoker seemed to be based on an unenforced law remaining on the books that made premarital sex illegal in the state.
According to the Twin Falls Times-News, the judge’s special order of a rehab program and probation that included mandatory celibacy instead of time in prison came after it was revealed to the court that Herrera had claimed to have had sexual relations with at least 34 separate partners.
“I have never seen that level of sexual activity by a 19-year-old,” Stoker said before passing sentence. “If you’re ever on probation with this court, a condition of that will be you will not have sexual relations with anyone except who you’re married to, if you’re married.”
The Times-News reported that the judge noted how Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare had not labeled Herrera as a “sexual predator,” but added that, “there seems to be an argument that could be made for that.”
As one might imagine, the victim’s mother was incensed at the lack of the designation, which she made clear in a statement to the court.
“It was his intent from the beginning to take what he wanted from my 14-year-old child — her virginity,” the mother stated, according to the Times-News. “And he stayed around until he got it from her. Cody will never understand what he has done to our family. Cody robbed her of her innocence. He destroyed the child left in her. This can never be returned.”
Stoker reminded Herrera that if he fails to complete the rehab program or does not fulfill the conditions of his probation, he could face the maximum prison term.
According to The New York Times, experts and legal analysts were unsure if the unusual sentence would hold up under a legal challenge, as similar laws pertaining to consensual sex among adults have been deemed illegal and are generally understood to be unenforceable.
Regardless, this convicted rapist was put on notice by the judge that his wanton fornication would no longer be tolerated by the court, particularly in regard to underage girls.
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