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July 02, 2012

S.C. woman sentenced to read Bible

ROCK HILL, S.C. (UPI) -- A South Carolina judge sentenced a woman to read the Bible as part of her sentence for severely injuring two men in a drunken driving accident.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles sentenced Cassandra Belle Tolley of Rock Hill to eight years in jail followed by five years of probation and substance abuse counseling, as well as reading the book of Job in the Old Testament and writing a summary, The Rock Hill Herald reported Sunday.

On Nov. 12, Tolley drove down the wrong lane on Porter Road in Rock Hill and crashed into a vehicle, severely injuring two men.

When Tolley was breathalyzed at the scene, her blood alcohol level was 0.333 percent -- more than four times the legal limit, the York County solicitor's office said.

Ordering someone to read the Bible is a rare sentence, legal experts say.

"Under normal circumstances, the judge wouldn't have the authority to do that. You can't just arbitrarily add anything you want to a sentence," said Kenneth Gaines, a University of South Carolina professor of law specializing in civil and criminal litigation. "But if she consented, it's really not an issue. It's critical that the defendant was in entire agreement with it."

Tolley's attorney, Amy Sikora, a York County public defender, said Tolley is happy with the agreement and has already started the assignment.

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