psalaman at POP.UKY.EDU
Sat Dec 27 09:20:13 PST 1997
In response to Mr. Sogol's posting of today:
Let me assume that you're imagining a probationer who knows what AA
is and knows he doesn't want to attend meetings, and a judge wanting him to
go anyway. That would be an extreme case, although I'm sure it happens.
Even in these circumstances, I would like to think that the government could
try to persuade the probationer to give AA a try, for three months or so,
stressing that he need not swallow any of AA's doctrine except the absolute
basics: not drinking, attending meetings, and using the phone to ask other
members for help in moments of crisis. These aspects of AA are reasonably
secular, and depend to a certain extent on the meetings one chooses to
attend and the people to whom one chooses to speak. If this led nowhere, I
would then hope the government would try to find alternatives for him,
remembering that such alternatives must be effective and probably also
reasonably cheap. I can't imagine that a truly unwilling person would get
much out of AA anyway. Finally, if the probationer tried out the program
for a period of time and still couldn't tolerate it, I think forcing him to
attend probably would violate the Constitution. In contributing to this
server, I have typically imagined a person who is willing to attend
meetings, either because he's familiar with them or because he doesn't
object to giving them a shot. If the facts of Warner v. Orange County
Department of Probation illustrate an ordinary probationary system in
action, the "order" that Warner attend AA was based on Warner's own
willingness, at least at the time he was sentenced, to attend AA.
Paul E. Salamanca
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Kentucky
College of Law
At 07:35 AM 12/27/97 EST, you wrote:
>In a message dated 97-12-26 11:56:01 EST, Paul E. Salamanca wrote
><< Even if only a substantial minority of them use it to
> their benefit, I think this too is competent evidence of its effectiveness.
> The mere fact that something isn't better than something else doesn't mean
> that it isn't good in its own right. The question is whether we can ever
> get a control group.
>Maybe I've lost the issue here, but is your arguement that if a program with
>religious overtones is "effective", a person can be court ordered to attend?
>I see a lot of people who believe that going to church or having prayer in
>school are effective ("look how bad the schools have become since prayer was
>Either it is an EC violation or its not. The issue as I understand it has
>nothing to do with the effectiveness of an individual program.
>Joel L. Sogol
>Attorney at Law
>609 28th Ave.
>Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401
>JLSatty at aol.com
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