US judge's verdict: Marry girlfriend or go to jail

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Houston, Aug 9: In an unusual ruling by a judge in the US, a man accused of punching his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend was given a choice between marrying her within 30 days or go to jail for the crime.

Josten Bundy, 21, from Texas pleaded guilty for the assault with bodily injury, stemming from a brawl he had with the former boyfriend of Elizabeth Jaynes.

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He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in July for the incident that took place in February. Smith County Judge Randall Rogers then gave him a choice between two years of probation or 15 days in jail, according to Jaynes, 19.

The probation terms included requiring Bundy to write out a Bible verse 25 times a day ("If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it") and getting married within 30 days.

"We figured he'd get probation but were surprised about the other conditions, especially the marriage," Jaynes told CNN.

"Then the the judge asked Josten if I was worth it and if we were living together, and we both said 'yes.' When the judge said part of the probation was that we had to get married Josten smiled at me and I was turning red," Jaynes said.

"The judge said, 'You might want to check with her first.' Josten said that because my face was red he thought I was OK with it, but then the judge made me stand up and asked me if I was OK with it. I said yes. People were laughing behind me and the bailiff had to say 'order in the court.' It was embarrassing," she said.

Jaynes said she told her parents about what happened in court and her father was very angry. He told them they did not have to go through with it but they did, getting married on July 20.

"I was really upset. Judge Rogers stepped into my family and tried to tell them what to do without any regard for me or anything. This isn't his decision," Elizabeth's father, Kenneth Jaynes was quoted as saying.

"I told them they didn't have to do this, but they were afraid. They are young and they didn't know that they had any other options," he said.

PTI

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