By David Ferguson
Saturday, May 26, 2012 11:30 EDT
A Houston-area teenager has been jailed and fined for missing school by a judge who hopes to make an example of her. 17-year-old Diane Tran is working two jobs while taking advanced placement and dual credit courses at Willis High School in Willis, Texas. Some mornings, she is simply too exhausted to make it to school on time. Some days she misses classes altogether.
She was warned by Judge Lanny Moriarty in April not to miss any more school. When she missed school again last week, he sentenced her to 24 hours behind bars and a $100 fine.
“If you let one of ‘em run loose, what are you gon’ do with the rest of ‘em, let them go too?” the judge offered as justification.
A reporter from Houston’s KHOU relayed to the judge that Tran is working to support an older brother who attends Texas A&M University and a younger sister. Her parents divorced “out of the blue” last year and both moved away, her mother to Georgia, leaving the high schooler on her own in Willis. She is working part time at a wedding venue and full time at a dry cleaning business just to stay afloat.
When confronted with the facts in the case, Judge Moriarty admitted to KHOU that he could perhaps have been more lenient, but that the hadn’t given any thought to reversing the sentence.