It is my understanding that judges often have latitude in sentencing, particularly with respect to the terms of probation, but I still don't understand how it is within their authority to ban people from legal activity that is unrelated to the underlying offense. For example, a dickwad high school athlete in Hamilton, Ohio was convicted of assault and sentenced to 180 days in jail plus 5 years of probation. As part of his probation he can no longer play team sports.
I understand why violent felons can't own guns, hackers can't own computers and or probationers can't drink alcohol. The terms of probation in those examples are varying degrees of understandable, and even if sometimes harsh, they make some kind of sense. I'd even understand it if Todd Bertuzzi was never allowed to play hockey again. But this seems a step too far.
In the words of the judge, ""We're going to see who Dwayne Hunter the person is, not who Dwayne Hunter the star athlete is." It wouldn't surprise me that being a star athlete made Dwayne Hunter the kind of entitled asshole that would get his kicks firing a beebee gun at people out of a car window. It does disappoint me that the physically gifted are given more chances at redemption than their spazzy peers. But I don't think the line from "pampered athlete" to "pot-shot taking sociopath" is quite as direct as the sports ban would imply.
Part of Hunter's probation requires that he "must get either a full-time job or enroll in full-time schooling within 30 days upon his release from jail." Good luck finding a job in Ohio, Dwayne; 11% of your neighbors can't. So I guess that leaves him with school. As an athlete being recruited by "everyone" before he hopped on board the stupid train, sports actually seems like the best way to get him back in school, and certainly to stay. Out of all of the schools that backed off when he got charged, I'm sure someone would take a flyer on him now that the judicial proceedings are over.
If the judge were really concerned with getting the kid an education, he'd rescind this headline-grabbing provision. I suspect, though, that the judge isn't concerned about that at all.
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