A Price, Utah judge offered to reduce a 13-year-old girl’s sentence if her mother agreed to cut off the daughter’s ponytail in court, but now she says he intimidated her into the unusual punishment.
Valerie Bruno has now filed a formal complaint against 7th District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen even though many are applauding the his unorthodox measures, which come as more jurists increasingly turn to such “shame” punishments to teach culprits a lesson.
Bruno’s daughter ended up in Johansen’s court for two incidents. In the first, the 13-year-old and an 11-year-old friend were playing with a 3-year-old girl at a McDonald’s restaurant in March when they used a pair of scissors to cut off several locks of the toddler’s long, curly hair.
The girls first tried to borrow scissors from the restaurant staff, and then went across the street to a store and purchased a pair.
In the second incident, the 13-year-old was accused of using the telephone to harass a girl in Colorado over the course of eight months, including threatening her with rape and mutilation.
Johansen ordered the 13-year-old to serve 30 days in detention and to perform 276 hours of community service. However, the judge offered to take 150 hours of community service off the sentence if the girl’s mother cut off the girl’s ponytail in court during last month’s hearing.
Bruno agreed, but now, she regrets it.
“I felt very intimidated,” she told the Deseret News. “An eye for an eye, that’s not how you teach kids right from wrong.”
Actually, many people believe the “eye for an eye” method works just fine.