"If you let one run loose, what are you gonna' do with the rest of 'em?," said Judge Lanny Moriarty. "Let them go too? A little stay in the jail for one night is not a death sentence."Notably, public reaction in favor of the teen and against Judge Moriarty, who told KHOU he feared that, if he dismissed Tran's case, other defendants would think, "Well, he’s soft. He’s not gonna do nothing." (On Reddit, someone commented that "Moriarty" is a terrific name for a villain)
But Tran's classmates said she had a lot more to juggle than the average teen.
"She goes from job to job from school. She stays up until 7 a.m. in the morning doing her homework," said Devin Hill, a classmate and co-worker.
On top of that, Tran said her parents spilt up and moved away, leaving her to support her younger sister. (Ed. note: The sister lives with a relative; Tran lives with an employer's family.)
The judge admitted that he wanted to make an example of the teen.
Tran had to spend 24 hours in jail and had to pay a $100 fine.
So the judge is worried about the message he would send, but was the message he ACTUALLY sent really "stay in school"? Or was it, "Your situation doesn't matter." "You don't matter." "Excellence be damned." "The pettiest of our rules are more important than your desperate life circumstances. Drop out if you can't follow them all because we'll jail you if you don't." What message do you think was sent by the judge's sentence, and what harm might come from Moriarty using his discretion to let Miss Tran avoid jail? Do you think the judge's decision encourages Montgomery County youth to stay in school, or to drop out if it looks like work and/or familial obligations might make them miss a few days?