Grady Judd Wants to Take a Stand Against the Constitution

A couple days ago, I mentioned that Polk County (Florida) Sheriff Grady Judd removed basketball hoops from the county jail — because why should criminals be allowed any sort of fun recreation? — and gave them to local churches.

The Atheists of Florida were already planning a lawsuit.

What’s happened in the past couple days?

Judd is bathing in his newfound power. With an offer of free legal representation, he’s telling the atheists to bring it on:

“[The atheists] have no idea how much I look forward to their silliness,” Judd told reporters.

The group’s legal coordinator, EllenBeth Wachs, wrote Judd a cease-and-desist letter Tuesday saying the donation violated the state constitution and U.S. Constitution, specifically the First Amendment. The donation “cannot avoid excessive entanglement by the government with religion,” she wrote.

Wachs asked for a written response in five days, but Judd said he doesn’t plan to respond.

The goals could have been placed at a school or park, Wachs said.

But Judd said he considers giving the goals to a secular group bowing to the atheist group.

“Why should I kowtow?” he said.

Wow. According to Judd, giving the basketball hoops to a public school would be caving in to the atheists’ demands…

Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post feels the same way you feel and he has a scathing critique of Judd, suggesting that he’s really just making a “FOX News audition tape” and that he serves up a “pure moron elixir”:

Inmates in the Polk County Jail get three hours of recreation time per week. Yes, for every 168 hours they’re locked up, they get to have three of them spent in an outdoor cage where, according to the sheriff’s web site, they can “play basketball, read newspapers, or just sit around in the fresh air.”

And somehow that’s enviable enough to make the people driving by wish that somehow they could trade places?

“What are the inmates going to do for recreation without basketball?” I asked.

“The exercise can be self-induced now,” Judd said. “They can do sit-ups, jumping jacks or run around.”

(Presumably in a way that doesn’t make it look like they’re in a fitness center.)

Cerabino also points out that some of the inmates weren’t even convicted yet. They were only there pre-trial. But that doesn’t seem to make a difference for Judd, who thinks if you’re accused, you must be guilty of something.

“They’re all there because of probable cause that they committed a crime,” he said. “The solution is if you don’t like county jail, stay out of it.”

That’s heartening.

And what about the lawsuit?

Judd brushed aside the atheists, calling them an “small, obscure group”, and reveled in their opposition, saying it has already resulted in support from the community and a local law firm offering to defend his actions in a lawsuit.

And who cares about the constitution anyway? The people who robustly fetishize the constitution over health care and other conservative bugaboos won’t say a peep here. It’s only a selectively sacred document.

“You know you’re just helping him out,” I told Wachs from the atheist group. “It doesn’t matter if you’re right. He gets to grandstand against criminals and atheists at the same time…”

I hope the Atheists of Florida can make the lawsuit happen. Let the Sheriff defend what he did in court. Free representation or not, I don’t see how his actions are legal.

  • Face

    What an ass.

  • http://www.bestthingfrom.com Richard Bass

    It shocks me that these people exist in such extremes! Pandering to religion is so rife it seems natural, I wish I could do more to oppose this from the UK.

  • http://alabamatheist.blogspot.com/ Tim D.

    If this does go to court, none of this grandstanding will help him out. Reminds me of this local music club down the street from where I live; a few years ago they decided to say fuck-all to the local noise ordinances, and they pulled off all this gratuitous grandstanding against the city, even posting a “fuck-you” message to their official website. They were all talk, that is, until the city council convened to discuss shutting them down for repeated and willful violations of the law. Then, quite suddenly, they “expressed regret” and were “very sorry” for any sort of violations that may have occurred.

    People like this are only tough because they think everyone who matters ultimately agrees with them. The only thing they understand is confrontation.

  • Anonymous

    Lol. ABC Action News says, “Well we knew he probably couldn’t keep quiet for long.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgR-oIRrpl8

    Oh frick – look at this hilarious editorial on Judd: A case of excessive ego in the first degree
    http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/a-case-of-excessive-ego-in-the-first-degree/1142142

    This just in! Stop the presses! Get me rewrite, baby! Grady Judd has just announced he had Cheerios for breakfast this morning! Grady Judd has also proclaimed he plans to have a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch and as for dinner, stand by — a press conference will be forthcoming.

  • Baconsbud

    This type of violation of the US Constitution will continue until the people violating it actually have to pay the cost. Why is the sheriff worried since he will get plenty of press and have no actual legal cost. I would say that making the sheriff fully responsible financially for all cost to both side when he loses would change his tune fast. He wouldn’t be allowed to accept money from any group for anything until he had paid the debt to the county and those that brought the suit against him and the county. Until individuals are forced to pay out of their own pocket we will continue to see this.

  • http://shadowgm.diaryland.com Bob

    It’s not kowtowing. It’s called following the law.

    If lip service to the law is Judd’s forte, perhaps a legal advocacy group needs to re-examine convictions and proceedings involving Judd’s department, just in case something like a suspect’s Miranda rights or constitutional protections were violated.

  • Chas

    As a former civil servant, I would think there would be some official policy about how used or surplus equipment was disposed of. Perhaps they should also look into the Polk County regulations to see if he’s also violating their own rules.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    “Where do you stop?” he said. “How many basketball hoops do you need to coincide with all the religions in the world?” This is why Judd shouldn’t have favoured a religion with gifts of public property at all.

    Looking at The Ledger’s other stories about Judd he comes across as a decent enough police officer. He seems hard working, fair and dedicated to his job. So he’s a man of faith, that doesn’t matter in itself. I would guess that he hadn’t considered the implications of giving away the hoops and just thought that he was helping out people in need (at the cost of other people in need).

    How much do you think these hoops cost including the cost of refurbishing them and installation? $800 maybe. $100 each. How much will a court case cost?

    He should just apologise for a mistake made and pay the costs of the hoops out of his own pocket (or donations from well wishers) rather than fight when he is in the wrong. Of course he won’t do that. He has the gods on his side.

  • J

    You people are fools! If you don’t believe in God then why does him donating to any church bother you?! Jail is NOT supposed to be a pleasant experience and I am all for ANY sheriff doing anything to make sure it isn’t! As a taxpayer and former resident of Polk County it doesn’t bother me one bit that he has done what he’s done. The way I look at it, I am already paying for your stay in jail! So what if he wants to make you take some of your playtime away and give it to a church. I’d rather my tax money go toward you doing some constructive, not on your free throws! So get over it, God doesn’t exist and Grady Judd doesn’t give a crap if you go to hell!

  • http://www.atheistsofflorida.org EllenBeth Wachs

    Lakeland made national headlines on September 28, 2006 when Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Vernon “Matt” Williams and his K-9 partner, Diogi, were shot and killed after a routine traffic stop in the Wabash area of the town. The incident sparked outrage among the central Florida law enforcement community. More than 500 law officials came together in search of Angilo Freeland, the suspect wanted in connection with the murder. The next morning Freeland was found hiding under a fallen tree. Nine SWAT members fired 110 shots at Freeland, hitting him 68 times and killing him on the spot.

    “God will be his judge and jury now” said Sheriff Grady Judd,adding “we ran out of bullets” on Oct 1, 2006 to the Orlando Sentinel when asked why the police had shot Freeland 68 times.

  • http://shadowgm.diaryland.com Bob

    This is the thing that I’m wrestling with in my personal am-I-really-an-atheist journey. (I ‘believe,’ if I do not actively practice my faith/go to church, and speak well enough that I have other people of faith telling me that I have a calling.)

    It would seem to me that belief in God should affirm reason and be supported by reason. That is, through reason, I can discern those lofty principles that God supposedly wants us to adhere to. (Of course, if I can get there solely by reason, why do I need God?)

    Judd and others like him seem to practice the exact opposite – that belief in God inoculates one against reason and the law, that one must further punish prisoners (and, in some case, mere suspects) by depriving them of liberties that are grudging concessions in the first place, and to hell with the law. (This is the converse of ‘if reason works, why do we need God’ … if *God* works, why do we need reason?)

    I’m surprised Judd ain’t lopping off hands and putting out eyes.

  • Grimalkin

    I wondered about this when you first mentioned the situation. Generally, keeping people locked up without an ability to be physically active won’t suddenly turn them into upstanding members of society. Punishment has a very narrow band of effectiveness – too little and it’s not a deterrent, too much and it just makes people angry at the unfairness.

    But the fact that this is a jail that also houses pre-trial people blows this case into a whole new ballpark. And WTF? Three hours a week to spend outside and get exercise? That is not enough to maintain good health (especially if those three hours are all taken together and not in little half-hour blocks, for example). I’m starting to wonder about the conditions in this place…

    And the fact that the FREAKIN’ SHERIFF is out there expressing this kind of disdain for incarcerated people is just frightening. Given the race distributions in our justice system, I can’t help but wonder if this sheriff’s opinions might not have some of that going on as well…

    This seems like an open-and-shut case. Whatever ambiguity there might have been has now been killed dead by this blabbermouth sheriff.

  • SeekerLancer

    What a ridiculous ass hat. It’s not about religion or atheism it’s about fairness and what does he have against giving the equipment to schools that need it anyway?

  • Anonymous

    Nah, this poll isn’t too loaded…

    What do you think about the Atheists of Florida protesting sheriff Grady Judd’s order to give jail basketball goals to churches?

    *They’re a private group; they can protest if they want

    *They should direct their efforts to other issues

    *It’s much ado about nothing

    http://www.baynews9.com/article/news/2010/december/188575/Atheists:-Dont-give-jail-basketball-hoops-to-churches

  • Rieux

    If Judd thinks that getting volunteer defense counsel means he (or his employer) isn’t going to have to pay for this, he’s sorely mistaken.

    Under 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b), the atheist organization (presuming they win the case, which looks likely) will be able to demand, and almost certainly receive, full compensation for their attorneys’ fees from Judd and/or his employer. This is true even if the atheist group gets volunteer representation as well; the volunteer plaintiffs’ counsel will keep track of the time they bill to the case, and then Polk County will have to pay them for it, even if they weren’t going to charge the atheist group.

    That provision is a big part of what keeps public-interest organizations like the ACLU in business. It was also invoked, for example, in the Kitzmiller litigation over Intelligent Design creationism in schools in Pennsylvania five years ago, as well as lots of other cases in other federal courts.

    This is the reason that a public authority playing fast and loose with the Constitution can be a very expensive proposition for taxpayers. Judd is threatening to waste vastly more public resources than those backboards actually cost.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    This makes me angry on several levels for this story extends far beyond separation of church and state. This also includes issues surrounding prisoner rights the calculated use of public prejudice by an elected official.

    Since the sheriff of Polk County is an elected position, Grady Judd is essentially a politician and he will most likely behave like one. Putting this into perspective, the sheriff is exploiting two extremely disliked parts of the populace in order to build his political capital: atheists and prisoners. He knows that treating prisoners like crap will win him votes, he knows that pandering to the religious majority will make him look good, and he is aware that he can ignore atheists with few electoral repercussions. On the contrary, in the eyes of the majority, standing up against atheists is standing up against “moral lawlessness.”

    I think this sheriff is a cruel asshole who should be stripped of his responsibilities but unfortunately, there is little reason for him to fear any repercussions because his two chosen targets are viewed as scum by general public. Furthermore, giving public property to churches will most likely make him look like a “nice guy” with “good moral values” in the eyes of many religious voters.

    Since there is probably little hope of the electorate rectifying these matters, I would love to see someone sue the county for huge sums of money. If you can’t accomplish your goals through the court of public opinion, there’s always the threat of economic and legal sanctions. It won’t make us very popular but hopefully, some degree of justice can be initiated in these matters.

  • Jeanette

    If this guy can’t even follow the law himself, he should have no problem allowing other people committing (or not committing…but accused of) crimes 3 hours a week of basketball!! Whan an ass, indeed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 Donna Hamel (muggle)

    EllenBeth, watch your back and be careful. It doesn’t sound as if this guy is dealing with a full deck. I admire you taking this stance and hope your group is getting some support not just from other nonbelievers but other minority religions. Do you have a JDL group or a Muslim rights group locally that might join the fight? After all, they too are being discriminated against.

    I think the point that if they’re going to children said on camera was the excellent thing to emphasize. In a park, it’d go to all the children.

    But I still think they shouldn’t even be removed from the jail and I hope one of the prisioners has a lawyer willing to fight this for them. Watching that video where they not only took them away from the prisioners but actually made the prisioners they were stealing them from do the physical labor of moving them just made me want to scream at the injustice of that alone. It’d be great if the prisioners sued but I’m not sure how much danger they’d be in if they did.

    This asshole better be careful or he’ll have a riot on his hands that he well deserves. Look at his callous remarks: they can do push-ups or run around. Like that’s worked so well in the past.

    I really do think this guy’s off his rocker. The scary thing is these days it seems like the insane positions get cheered while the reasonable ones get booed.

  • Robert W.

    I don’t see that this is an automatic violation of the establishment clause. If giving the hoops to a religious organization has a secular purpose and is part of an otherwise neutral policy for handling used equipment then it could be found to be constitutional.

    A clear secular purpose could be that the use of the hoops at a church is not limited to those that are members of the church. The churches basketball courts could be open for all and as such the community surrounding the church gets a benefit. Clearly, the cost of the hoops that the church could buy themselves is not a great benefit to the church and if everyone in the community can benefit, then it has no specific religious purpose.

    What I find interesting here though is the comments and the anger over the perceived violation of church and state and wonder if there would be any outcry from the atheist organization if the hoops were donated to the city park. Its not about prisoners rights to play basketball that outrages, its where the hoops went that is the driving force behind the anger and the threatened lawsuit.

  • Robert W.

    Before I am misunderstood, I don’t think the hoops should have been removed. I think unless it was causing problems basketball in a jail should be allowed.

  • http://shadowgm.diaryland.com Bob

    @Robert W:

    And yet, you spend the bulk of your post defending the donation … and not addressing the very point you claim atheists should be pursuing.

    You may also wish to read the comments more carefully, as several posters addressed both the deprivation of physical exercise as counterproductive to rehabilitation efforts, as well as Judd’s apparent penchant for levying extra-judicial punishment.

  • Godless Lawyer

    While the principle behind any legal action is sound, the optics couldn’t be worse for the atheist group or better for the sheriff.

    You also have to consider the remedy – if it’s found that Judd had no jurisdiction to do what he did, might he then decide to throw out these nets and declare that by bringing this suit the atheists have essentially wasted them?

    While it’s fine and good to say they ‘could’ be donated to a school, it would be prudent to ensure there is actually a school that wants them before proceeding with the suit.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Are there not laws in place for the proper treatment of prisoners that this move is in violation of?

    The real issue seems to be the harsh treatment of prisoners as that is causing actual harm to real people. The baskets going to churches instead of secular organizations is minor harm in comparison, but shows the mindset of Judd quite clearly.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    Robert, I’m outraged by both and that’s why I tried to tie both issues together in my previous comment. I actually want the hoops to go back to where they should be: the prison grounds. Separation of church and state isn’t my only focus or even my primary focus in life. I care about a whole host of issues.

  • Non-Litigious Atheist

    This will only be read one way – atheists would rather pamper hardened criminals than let a single child have fun, if that child is part of a church.

    Way to go guys! You really know how to win in the court of public opinion.

  • Liokae

    @Non-Litigious

    If following the law was always popular in the court of public opinion, we wouldn’t have this mess in the first place. “Public opinion” is irrelevant to what’s actually right and wrong.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    In this particular case, the Sheriff is being a cruel asshole. I don’t care about the court of public opinion. They can hate me with all their hearts. They’re assholes, too, as far as I’m concerned.

  • TJack

    Robert W:
    “What I find interesting here though is the comments and the anger over the perceived violation of church and state and wonder if there would be any outcry from the atheist organization if the hoops were donated to the city park.”

    What? Of course there wouldn’t be (as much) anger over the decision if it was given to the city park. A park is public property that can be enjoyed by all, with no preferential treatment to any one group, not just to one specific religious group.

    I find it interesting, and hilarious, that you compared a church with a park. A park isn’t a place of worship you know.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    The atheist groups may have trouble convincing a court that they have standing to sue. They have a very strong case aside from that issue. But that issue could be enough for Judd to win.

  • Robert W.

    Bob and others,

    You may also wish to read the comments more carefully, as several posters addressed both the deprivation of physical exercise as counterproductive to rehabilitation efforts, as well as Judd’s apparent penchant for levying extra-judicial punishment.

    Agreed. Some of the posters here did comment on both. I didn’t see that from the group in Florida that wrote the letter.

    What? Of course there wouldn’t be (as much) anger over the decision if it was given to the city park. A park is public property that can be enjoyed by all, with no preferential treatment to any one group, not just to one specific religious group.

    that proves the point i was making that this anger is over a perceived violation of church and state and for some the other comments about prisoners being mistreated is not the main focus of the ire.

  • http://alliedatheistalliance.blogspot.com/ pinkocommie

    This will only be read one way – atheists would rather pamper hardened criminals than let a single child have fun, if that child is part of a church.

    Way to go guys! You really know how to win in the court of public opinion.

    Who cares about public opinion when you’re arguing for what is right? The hypothetical reaction you’re proposing may happen, but I see no reason to stop speaking out against wrongdoing just because it might be unpopular and could easily be manipulated by those with an anti-atheist agenda.

    I understand the sentiment behind the saying “pick your battles”, but I think we also need to pick our battles for the right reason. This situation sounds like it began with a likely unintended violation of the establishment clause and has ballooned into a crusade led by a theist-favoring sheriff looking to make a political statement via his position of authority. How is this not a worthy situation to pursue?

  • Erp

    Parable follows: In a city a well-paid steward noticed that the near starving lepers outside the city gates who were his duty to care for had a few meager treats his master had allowed them so he seized the treats and presented them to the priests in the Temple. The well-fed priests praised him for his generosity as did the people in the city.

    How judge you the steward, the priests, and the people?

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    Erp: That was priceless.

    Robert:

    that proves the point i was making that this anger is over a perceived violation of church and state and for some the other comments about prisoners being mistreated is not the main focus of the ire.

    Keep in mind that non-believers are not monolithic, just as believers are not monolithic.

    I’m betting that there are a good number of religious people who are thinking, “Yes, we should take away the luxury of basket ball from the sinners in jail and give those basket ball hoops to good, Christian children!”

    Should I automatically assume that the majority reaction of Christians in this situation is against the prisoners because it directly benefits their children?

    Would that assumption be a mistake?

  • Anonymous

    Robert W:

    I didn’t see that from the group in Florida that wrote the letter.

    That’s because they’re adhering to their freakin’ mission statement.

    Our Mission
    Atheists of Florida unites a community of activists to uphold the complete and absolute separation of church and state.

    http://atheistsofflorida.org/
    Your concern is noted.

  • http://www.atheistsofflorida.org EllenBeth Wachs

    Donna, thank you so much for your concern. I am well aware of the risk. I did not undertake this lightly and knew going in there were variables at play but I was willing to step up to the table and let the cards fall where there may.

    There is no problem with standing to sue as I am a property owner and taxpayer in good ole Imperial Polk County.

    The mission of Atheists of Florida is clear and singular at this time as was stated previously- to uphold the complete and absolute separation of church and state.

    While we do have a concern about the lack of concern for the people in Mr. Judd’s facilities (50% of which are innocent as they are awaiting trial and the presumption of innocence remains) we have an obligation under bylaws to uphold our mission.

    As for schools that need the equipment- the church that Mr. Judd belongs to himself, a multi-million dollar mega-church, The First Baptist Church on the Mall, adopted a Polk County school because it was too poor to afford school supplies.

    Question-So why didn’t the sheriff give one of the hoops to the public school his own church adopted?
    Answer- he didn’t need to because he already has their support.
    Mr. Judd has higher political aspirations

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704875604575280422614633564.html

  • Anonymous

    Ms Wachs,
    Buying public schools? Now where have I seen this before… Oh yes, it was Bishop Eddie Long!
    http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/bishop-eddie-long-dekalb-620256.html

  • Heidi

    You know what happens when prisoners have nothing to do? They riot. Rioting prisoners are a danger to prison guards. Put the damned hoops back.

    EllenBeth, I hope you are successful with your case. Thank you for standing up for the Constitution.

  • Dan W

    Well, I think Grady Judd doesn’t have much chance of winning in court if he acts this stupid there too.

  • Amy

    Let me start off by saying I am not an atheist nor am I religious. Okay so why would anyone see a story about a sheriff taking away “games and toys” from inmates and critisize him about who he gave them to? Anyone can use sporting equipment at churches, atheists included. Who cares who has the hoops now? The point is the criminals don’t! When people put their children in time out do they let them play games while they are being punished? Your statement about some of the inmates not being convicted yet is laughable because the majority are and they shouldn’t be allowed to have recess because some people MAY have been wrongly acussed. Grady was not saying to get rid of the hoops because people dive by jails, see inmates playing basketball and are inviabe of them, that’s just obsurd!! No one wants to switch places with inmates inorder to play sports. Criminals that are locked up should have no rights at all end of story they are being punished for something. They are lucky to get those 3 hours out of the 168 hours. You asked “what are inmates going to do without basketball?”. Well let me ask who the heck cares? Him giving those hoops to church was him saying that the extreme opposite of jail is church, it’s symbolic. That’s why he had the inmates take them down themselves. By the way those hoops were not public property because they were paid for by inmates. You quoted Grady wrong, he actually said “jail is not supposed to be fun and games, if you want to play basketball stay out of jail” how can you argue that? Further more I’d like all the people who said anything about the constitution to do a little research. There would be no constitution today without religion! Every last one of the men who signed it was religious and there are quotes to back up the fact that they all believed in god and intended religion to be apart of peoples everyday lives AND apart of our government. The fact that he gave the hoops to churches wasnt to piss off atheists. Get over yourselves

  • Silent Service

    Amy,

    Who gives a fuck if Thomas Jefferson was a believer? The Constitution that he helped craft is not a religious document and was expressly designed to bar religious favoritism. Your argument about the faith of our founding fathers is worthless and irrelevant. Furthermore, the expression idle hands are the devil’s tools has merit; even if you do not believe in Dog or in his sock puppet, Satan. And no, you can’t force prisoners to work as punishment as that is rightly called slavery and against Constitutional law. The old chain gangs of the past proved to be to easily abused.

    So you can give them something to do during their incarceration or you can deal with the riot that history says will inevitably come. Those people are first and foremost, people. They still have rights, even if they are restricted as part of their punishment, and we have a responsibility to help them reform. Punishment has no meaning if there’s no effort at reform.

    And none of that even touches the idea of reward and punishment. The idiot sheriff has just divested himself of one more possible way to encourage good behavior from the prisoners under his care. How stupid is that?

  • Steve

    It would be more accurate to say that they were all spiritual. Their degree of religiosity defers greatly. In any case, open atheism was rare back then and not really tolerated by society.

    Thomas Pain was an outright atheist for example. He wrote “The Age of Reason”. Jefferson and some others were deists. They believed in a creator god – a so-called “prime mover”. But more so as an explanation for the universe. But deist gods don’t involve themselves in human lives and they don’t listen to prayers. Certainly not something any Christian believes.

    So don’t mistake religious language and references to gods and creators for support for Christian theology. But yeah, that whole line of argumentation is irrelevant and completely off topic in this case.

  • Silent Service

    Also, we don’t care if he did not do it to piss us atheists off. We’re pissed off not because he did it, but because his doing it was wrong and a violation of the principals of Separation of Church and State. It doesn’t have to be intended as an insult to us and guess what, we don’t take it personally. Well, not all of us anyway. Most of us are just pissed off that we have yet one more case of thoughtless favoritism for Dog and his followers.

    P.S. Yes, I’m spelling it Dog. Yes I’m doing it on purpose. Yes it’s meant as an insult to religious people who have a pet deity that they think made people in its own image. I think I should get one of those gag dog leashes and clip a dog tag on it that says Yahweh. It’s exactly how much respect I have for religious belief. It’s just a pet joke gone too far.

  • Amy

    And I understand what you are saying but he did not violate any laws. The hoops were not public property. The prisoners bought the and personally I don’t think they should have rights in jail. When they get out it’s a different story. By the way I dont mean to disrespect your beliefs. Everyone had their own opinion so obviously no one can be “right”. I was an atheist before I had kids and I’m not religious at all. But after all I’ve been through in my life I believe everyone is entiteled to their own opinions. Now at this stage in my life I am spiritual and it has nothing to do with Jesus or god but the fact that as humans we have no control over our destiny and I am humbled by that. Call me a dog if you like but I’d never call you a name. Well not unless I knew you. :0) lol

  • Amy

    Prisioners can’t riot if you don’t let them out of their cell and people would be less likely to commit Crimes if they new they would be punished and not “rehabilitated”. Let all the reformed criminals live in your neighborhood when they get out and see if you feel safe letting your kids go play outside. I’m sure the fact that they got to play basketball while they were being punished is what determines whether or not they break the law again. Don’t you think if you had to sit alone in a cell where you have no freedom or rights for how ever long your sentenced for might be slightly more affective? That’s what I meant when I said don’t take it personally. Look at the big picture. I never said to make prisioners work like the chain gangs. I simply meant PUNISH them. Then with all the extra money from the tax payers we can make a mandatory rehabilitation center as part of their parole fully stocked with televisions and basketball hoops but the place where their being punished shouldn’t have it and now they don’t. He didn’t take the hoops from schools or parks and give them to churches he took them from people who should have never had them to begin with. Pick your battles. It doesn’t help your cause when religious people see you standing up for criminals rights.

  • Baconsbud

    Amy I have a small question for you. You say prisoners shouldn’t have rights correct. If the police pick you up mistakenly and arrest you, are they allowed to torture you? Since you are their prisoner you have no rights and it would be okay to torture you to get that false confession.

    If the prisoners did buy the basketball hoops, then the sheriff is a thief. I think that is what you meant by the statement,” The prisoners bought the and personally”.

  • Amy

    And for the record I don’t believe in god. I just don’t consider my self an atheist because I am open to the fact that I have been wrong before and I could be wrong about that also. Although I doubt it.

  • Amy

    Well no I don’t think they should torture people. If they are torturing you to get a confession well then thats a different story all together because you have not been found guilty yet, you are still innocent. If I got picked up and hadn’t committed a crime obviously I wouldn’t be happy but as a functioning member of society I realize that the majority of prisoners that are found guilty actually are guilty. Its not fair to the victims of the criminals that the prisoner won’t be held accountable because a small percent of people were wrongly accused. It would suck yes. I just have more faith in the system I guess. Maybe I should not say not to give them any rights because I don’t think anyone should be tourtured guilty or not, I just think they should stay in their cell 24 hours a day. Give them their food through the door. They can still talk to inmates close to them they just don’t get to go have fun. I still think they should be treated humanly.

  • Steve

    And for the record I don’t believe in god.

    That’s the very definition of atheist

    I just don’t consider my self an atheist because I am open to the fact that I have been wrong before and I could be wrong about that also.

    You could call yourself an agnostic

    But atheism and agnosticism aren’t mutually exclusive. The former refers to belief. The latter refers to knowledge. The terms complement each other. An agnostic atheist is someone who doesn’t know whether god(s) exist, but doesn’t believe in them.

  • Baconsbud

    Amy did you read the article? It clearly says that not all the prisoners have been convicted yet. I do agree that prisoners should be punished for their crimes but then you say we should keep them locked up in an 8′ x 8″ cell the whole time they are in prison. I figure there are some that would see that as humane but I’m not one of them. You might want to try an experiment and see just how it would feel and what it would do to you and your cell mate mentally.

  • Amy

    Well then I guess I’m just one of those people who don’t care one way or the other. I’m not going to live my life believing in science fiction and I’m also not going to preach to people who have every right to believe what they want that I am right about my beliefs. My motto is live and let live. I have atheist friends and I have friends who believe in god. Rest assured I’m not friends with them because of their faith in whatever. I am a fan of people. ALL people!! Even you. :)

  • Amy

    Thanks Steve. I honestly did not know that’s what agnostic mean. :0/
    Baconsbud, if prisoners had to stay in their cells for their whole term than the duration of sentencing would need to be altered. I think a lot of thing involving jails should be changed to better society as a whole. Not just taking away everything fun but that point is what this all is about. If you do the crime you do the time. You are a prisoner and you will do as told! (to a degree. Not being beaten or treated cruely.) and for those who are falsely accused, well although it’s not ideal they would have to work to clear their names when ever they are released. If they prove they were innocent then actions should be made to correct what’s been taken away from them. Maybe a settlement of some sort. Listen I don’t think any of my opinions will become reality I just think we should stop being so “pc” about this kind of stuff and correct our flawed system. You can’t make an omelet with out breaking a few eggs. I think in order to help mak the world better we need to change a LOT of things. I honestly think that not having recreation time in jail would deter repeat offenders. I would certainly think twice about breaking the law if I knew I’d have to not go play or watch tv or hangout with people. It might also help with the drug problems in jail also. So not only do I think it’s right to take away the hoops I also think it will help the prisoners in the long run.

  • Silent Service

    Amy,

    I didn’t call you Dog. I called Yahweh Dog. Reading comprehension is a good thing.

    And locking people in a 5 x 5 room for the rest of their lives is torture. Even locking them in a 10 x 10 room is torture. We used to do just that in the past and people come out mentally and physically messed up. That’s a great idea! Let’s do things to prisoners to make them more dangerous and a drain on society when they get out. (Yeah, I think you’re an idiot if you missed the sarcasm.)

    There are no statistics to show that extreme or severe punishments in prison have a positive effect on deterring criminal activity. Cops used to beat the fuck out of you and force you to confess to crimes. That never stopped criminal activity or the crime rate in America would have been around Zero in the 1920s and 30s. We’d still be using those methods if they’d been that successful. A quick Google search shows that there is considerable debate on how effecting severe and extended punishment is; many pointing to education as far more effective at deterring criminal activity.

    Finally, all people have the right to humane treatment. Locking them in a 5 x 5 cell and telling them they get a 6 month to life sentence Time Out for being bad was long ago determined to be cruel and unusual punishment. There are actual reasons for that. But if you disagree with the long history of why we no longer do those things I suggest you volunteer to spend a year in a 5 x 5 cell with no books, TV, magazines, fitness gear, or any other form of recreational or time consuming activities to prove your point. No talking to the guards either or they’ll be allowed to beat and rape you with their night sticks. After all, you have no rights while locked up.

  • Amy

    Wow silent service how about checking out some reading comprehension yourself! I didn’t say u called me a dog I said you could. No where in my comment did I say 6 months to life. I said time should he altered meaning if they are in jail it should be less time if they don’t get to do anything. It is not inhumane. I never said no books or nagazines I said b basketball or tv. You need to learn to read because I also said I dnt think they should be abused. Thank you for proving what I’ve thought all along you are worse than the dog bible belters you speak of. Yo are very closed minded.

  • Robert W.

    I find this ongoing discussion between Amy and secret service very interesting. There is no doubt that our justice system is supposed to be a balance between punishment and rehabilitation. It is long on punishment and doesn’t do much to rehabilitate. Mostly I think it turns criminals into to better criminals and that prison is like college to them if they want to stay in that lifestyle. Very sad indeed, but the best way to avoid prison is not to break the law and end up there in the first place. That is where society screws up alot of these young people in the first place.

    I know that most of you won’t agree with this, but the one proven way for criminals to stay out of prison and to start a new life is to accept Christ as their Savior and in some cases becoming Muslim as well. That has been proven time and time again. No it won’t work for all people and I’m not saying it does, but if you talk to those that have gone to prison and have now completely turned their life around, there are quite a number that will credit that transformation to their conversion. Prison ministries together with church outreach programs to ex cons have a dramatic effect on changing lives. More so I would think then a few basketball goals.

    Before we get into a separation of church and state argument, I mean private ministries offered voluntarily to inmates

  • DA

    “Rest assured I’m not friends with them because of their faith in whatever. I am a fan of people. ALL people!! Even you.”

    I immediately distrust anyone who says this. If you think you like everyone, then you don’t really like anyone.

  • Amy

    Some people on this site really should learn to read. Again I did not say that I sought out people with different beliefs so that I can have a “full deck of cards” as friends. I said I don’t discriminate against them because of what they believe. I like having friends that are different from me and different from each other. It makes our discussions and conversations better. I said I was a fan of all people. Not that I like them all. You can learn something new from anyone and that’s what I am a FAN of. Their are a lot of people on this site that are going to be disappointed with the out come of this law suit. You are to busy focusing on anything but the point of this whole blog.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Robert W.

    There is no doubt that our justice system is supposed to be a balance between punishment and rehabilitation. It is long on punishment and doesn’t do much to rehabilitate. Mostly I think it turns criminals into to better criminals and that prison is like college to them

    I think that this is the first time that I’ve agreed with you Robert.

    if they want to stay in that lifestyle.

    However I do think that the causes of crime should be addressed rather than assume that it is solely a conscious choice on the part of criminals. Ignorance and a lack of options are often powerful contributing factors.

    Very sad indeed, but the best way to avoid prison is not to break the law and end up there in the first place.

    The one thing that all prisoners have in common is that they were caught. The best way to avoid prison is to avoid getting caught. There are innocent people in prison just as there are guilty people who are free. Legal systems aren’t perfect.

    That is where society screws up alot of these young people in the first place.

    What is society? Society is nothing more than the people who make it up. If society is failing people then we are failing them and they are failing themselves.

    I know that most of you won’t agree with this, but the one proven way for criminals to stay out of prison and to start a new life is to accept Christ as their Savior

    Evidence?

    You know what does actually keep people out of prison? Jobs. If you work for a living then you have money to spend so you don’t feel the need to steal (as much) but in order to work you need skills and employers willing to give you a chance. That and a support system to incentivize you to seek and stay in work.

    Prison ministries together with church outreach programs to ex cons have a dramatic effect on changing lives.

    Kind of like a support system then and giving released prisoners a focus for their time.

    More so I would think then a few basketball goals.

    The support systems available outside of prison are unrelated to the activities within prison. The environments and pressures are completely different.

    What is the purpose of prison? It is threefold:
    1) Provide rehabilitation for the prisoner.
    2) Provide a disincentive for society to act in a criminal manner.
    3) Protect society from the behaviour of prisoners.

    Without rehabilitation prisons are just boxes to keep people in for a span of time. They have no reason to change or even to consider their actions. Upon release they have no reason not to just go back to their criminal behaviour. Prisons are not for punishment but that seems to be how they are used.

  • Robert W.

    Hoverfrog,

    Today is a banner day. We agree with each other.

  • TominOhio

    Does it really matter so much that he gave the hoops to a church?
    I am 100% atheist and just exhausted of the fight for personal opinion objectives. I have to express my disappointment in some of the overwhelming church influence but I’m educating people around me in making choices in life that are equal in rights.

    This doesn’t seem like a nice atheist nor does Grady seem like a nice Christian or anyone that should have any sort authorities.

  • CSR

    This guy is so out of touch! He does as he pleases even if it violates someone’s rights. He is so hungry to be in the national spotlight.
    JUDD SAYS:
    “They’re all there because of probable cause that they committed a crime,” he said. “The solution is if you don’t like county jail, stay out of it.”

    I say: Sheriff Judd: how can you make such a statement??
    The same cannot be said for wrongly-convicted James Bain, Mr. Judd! Bain spent 35 years convicted in Polk COunty for a crime he DID NOT DO! where’s the apology. Judd is so bias and ignorant. He’s poison to the system of this great country!

    Why doesn’t he look at his own family. His daughter in law posted on her facebook with the Polk COuntry Sheriff’s embelm referring to President Obama as a “dumbass n” spelling out the “N” word using asterisks!
    WHAT A DISGRACE HE IS!
    with Judd’s thinking, we’d never get a fair and impartial jury picked to hear these cases simply because the thinking that he and people have that if they were arrested, they must have done something! BULLSHIT! You mean to tell me there are no corrupt cops! Look at Philadelphia and all the police officer who were recently arrested. Better yet, don’t look at that far, just look at the local James Bain case and tell him that. JUDD MAKES ME SICK. Can’t wait until the idiot is gone from office

  • Amy

    Let me start out by saying that James Bain’s story breaks my heart. He really didn’t deserve anything he went through. That being said you have absolutely no right to bring him into a conversation about Grady Judd and basketball hoops. James has been through hell and is a man of god and I seriously doubt he wants anything to do with your fight against religion. I find it humorous how full of hate you are for someone that you would go out of your way to track down extended members of his family on facebook and then criticize him for it??!! Get a life. After reading how petty and stupid a lot of people posting on this site are I feel the need to seriously reevaluate my beliefs. If you believe in god or not you should still be able to see reason. The world can be a scary place and with self righteous angry people like you out there I can only hope my children make better choices in realizing right from wrong. Not
    Just the opinions of a small narrow minded group.

  • Dale

    This is more than it seemes. Christians worldwide have been called to stand with Sheriff Grady Judd against the AOF, on the courthouse steps the day of the hearing (if it happens.) This is a stand of Good against Evil.
    Good will prevail.

  • Chris Anderson

    Wow, some of you people of just way past silly. Your faith, Judd’s faith and the faith of our fore fathers really isn’t the issues. Tax payer’s dollars paid for the equipment. If Judd wants to put his officers in jeopardy by giving the inmates more idle time, really that’s his choice. I draw the line at donating the equipment to any religious organization. It should have been donated to a public organization that is supported by tax payer’s money. The argument that anyone can go to a church and play basketball is also ridiculous. That is not how our constitution is designed.


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