Iowa man sentenced to church

An Iowa man with a long criminal history has been sentenced to church. Instead of serving time inPachino
prison, he will endure the pastor’s sermons for eight consecutive Sundays.

With a lengthy and violent criminal record to his name, Pachino Hill is going to church.

Hill,
29, of Davenport was sentenced Wednesday by Scott County Associate
Judge Christine Dalton to a counseling program offered by Third
Missionary Baptist Church. She also ordered him to attend church there
eight consecutive Sundays, to pay a fine and be on probation for one
year.

If he doesn’t comply, he faces up to two years in prison
for eluding and driving while barred. The charges are the result of a
police chase from Rock Island to Davenport in October.

“Let’s
give it a shot,” Dalton said of the counseling program plan presented
to her by Hill’s attorney, Brenda Drew-Peeples, and supported by Rogers
Kirk, pastor at Third Missionary. “I’m all about one more chance.”

The
counseling program, Drew-Peeples said, is a chance for Hill to gain
role models who are responsible men and are contributing to society.

“I believe God has a plan for Pachino Hill’s life, and I believe it’s coming to fruition,” she said.

Prosecutor Marc Gellerman did not object to the counseling program but did request that Hill attend church services.

“I
would think that listening to Rev. Kirk every Sunday would be very
beneficial for Mr. Hill,” Gellerman said, adding that Hill reaching out
to Kirk “says a lot.” [Link]

While some people are concerned that the sentence violates the principle of separation of church and state, others are concerned that it might result in the separation of church and offering plate.

Meanwhile, two clergymen of other faiths had mixed reactions to the sentencing. "It’s better for him to go to church," said Priest Ravi Maniar of the local Hindu Temple. "If he comes here, he will not suffer enough."

But Rabbi Ben Horrowitz of Temple Beth El objected to the sentencing. "It’s so unfair," he said. "Why not give us a chance to increase our congregation? We know Mr. Hill isn’t a Jew, but he can at least pretend to be one for eight weeks."

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: