Judge Orders Defendant to Marry his Girlfriend – Or Else.

Judge Orders Defendant to Marry his Girlfriend – Or Else.

A judge in Texas recently ordered a man to marry his 19-year old girlfriend or serve fifteen days in jail as part of the terms of his probation.

Josten Bundy pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge that stemmed from an altercation with an ex-boyfriend of his 19-year old girlfriend, Elizabeth Jaynes. When Bundy appeared before Judge Randall Rogers regarding his probation on the misdemeanor charge, the judge asked him “is she worth it?” Judge Rogers then required that, as a condition of his probation, Bundy could marry Jaynes within thirty days or, in the alternative, Bundy could serve fifteen days in the county jail. Bundy was fearful of losing his job if he missed two weeks from work and the judge would not let him call his employer to confirm that the absence would be excusable. When faced with that choice, the couple opted to get married.

The ceremony took place within the thirty day time limit, however, Bundy and Jaynes reported to media outlets that they were unable to have the wedding that they always dreamed of. For Jaynes, it was the white dress; for Bundy, the black tux with yellow embellishments indicating his love for the Steelers. Certain family members were unable to attend the ceremony on short notice. The couple had previously discussed marriage about six months into their one year relationship.

The legal validity of Judge Rogers’ ruling has not yet been challenged by the couple. Under Pennsylvania law, the Divorce Code allows for the annulment of a marriage based on fraud, duress or coercion. The statute specifically states, however, the requirement that “one party was induced to enter into the marriage due to fraud, duress, coercion or force attributable to the other party.” Arguably, the Bundy-Jaynes marriage was not coerced by either party, but by the terms of the probation by the court. Further, according to Pennsylvania law, if the injured party “ratifies” or approves of the marriage after discovering the fraud, there can be no grounds for annulment. All accounts seem to report that the new couple in Texas, though not entirely pleased with the circumstances of their engagement, have made the commitment to remain husband and wife.

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About the author

About Melissa Towsey

Melissa graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002 with a double major in Sociology and Foreign Affairs. After working for several years as a paralegal in Washington, D.C., she attended The University of Villanova School of Law and graduated in 2010. During law school, Melissa was involved in several public interest organizations and published an article in Villanova’s Environmental Law Journal, “Something Stinks: The Need for Environmental Regulation of Puppy Mills” 21 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 159 (2010) http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arus21villenvtllj159.htm. After law school, Melissa clerked for the Honorable Thomas G. Parisi, Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division in the Court of Common Pleas, Berks County. Melissa is the supervising attorney of the firm’s Appellate Unit. The Appellate Unit handles all aspects of the appellate process for family law cases as well as advanced research within the firm. Melissa and her husband, Paul, reside in Montgomery County with their two cats Wembley and Gobo. In her spare time, she enjoys audiobooks, barbeques, and watching action movies.