Texas Judge Sentences Man to Marry Girlfriend or Go to Jail

A Texas Judge recently sparked controversy for making young Josten Bundy choose between spending 15 days in jail or marrying his 19-year-old girlfriend Elizabeth Jaynes. He took – what he thought was – the easy way out. 

It all started in February, when Bundy got into a fight with Jaynes’s ex-boyfriend. “[He] had been saying disrespectful things about Elizabeth, so I challenged him to a fight,” Bundy said. “He stepped in and I felt like it was on and I hit him in the jaw twice.” The ex, according to Bundy, did not require medical attention, but he pressed charges anyway.  “I took matters into my own hands and I know that’s wrong,” he later admitted. “I know I was raised better, but it happened.”

At one point during the hearing, Judge Randall Rogers asked Bundy if his girlfriend was worth it, to which he replied: “Well, to be honest sir, I was raised with four sisters and any man was talking to a woman like that I’d probably do the same thing.” And that’s when the judge threw Bundy a curveball. He’d have to marry Jaynes within 30 days, or spend 15 days in jail.


“He offered me 15 days in jail and that would have been fine and I asked if I could call my job,” Bundy said. “The judge told me, ‘nope, that’s now how this works.’” That would have probably meant losing his job, and since they lived paycheck to paycheck, it was a risk they couldn’t afford.

Jayne, who was in the courtroom at the time, said that she felt embarrassed when the judge announced the verdict. “My face was so red, people behind me were laughing. [The judge] made me stand up in court.” But she had to agree, because she was worried that Bundy would lose his job after two weeks in jail. So the couple ended up applying for a marriage license and picked a date.


Unfortunately, this meant that the couple did not get their dream wedding. Bundy, who says they “were strung over each other” wanted to wear a black tux “with some yellow under it” because he’s a Steelers fan. Jaynes used to watch Say Yes to the Dress and other bridal shows, and would have preferred a spring wedding “when it’s not too hot and not too cold.”

“It just felt like we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding we wanted,” Jaynes said. “It was just going to be kind of pieced together, I didn’t even have a white dress.” And with only 18 days to plan, they couldn’t even invite the people most important to them. “My father didn’t get to go, and that really bothers me, I know he would have liked to be there,” Bundy said. “None of my sisters got to show up, it was such short notice, I couldn’t get it together.”


Kenneth Jaynes, the father of the bridge, was livid over the whole thing. “[I felt] anger; I was mad,” he said. “[The judge] can’t do this by court ordering somebody to be married. “I contacted a couple of lawyers but they told me someone was trying to pull my leg…that judges don’t court order somebody to get married.”

Attorney Blake Bailey agreed that it isn’t legal for judges to pass orders to marry.  “To say you’re not going to be criminally punished if you get married is way out of left field,” he said. “It sounds like the old days of shotgun weddings, but not even the judge is capable of enforcing what he thinks is best for some people in his court.” He added that the sentence would probably have been struck down on appeal to a higher court.

Bundy and Jaynes consider themselves lucky, because they were planning on getting married anyway, regardless of the sentencing. But they weren’t happy about being rushed into it. “What if we [had said to the judge] we don’t want to get married right now and we’re not ready?” said Jaynes. “Is he going to go to jail? It scared us, a little bit.” They do plan to have a larger wedding some time in the future, when they manage to save enough money.

Source: KLTV

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