The ACLU of Oklahoma has filed a complaint with the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints against Muskogee County District Judge Mike Norman for requiring a defendant to attend church for 10 years as a condition of probation.
The complaint states in part that Judge Norman violated Oklahoma’s Code of Judicial Conduct which requires judges to “uphold and apply the law”. With this sentence, Judge Norman disregarded fundamental principles of religious liberty found in the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, as well as guarantees of religious liberty found in the Oklahoma Constitution.
“It is shocking that a judge would so blatantly ignore the First Amendment, which at a minimum prevents the government from forcing church attendance and from interfering in deeply personal matters of faith,” said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director.
According to the ACLU, comments made by Judge Norman since the case first caught the public eye show he may have been aware that he was not following the law when he ordered Tyler Alred, 17, to attend church for the next decade on penalty of prison.
Norman was quoted in The Daily Oklahoma Nov. 18, “I received a couple of bad calls...telling me it was in violation of the U.S. Constitution. They may well be right, but that’s what I did.”