'Shame' punishments like ponytail cutting increase

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Associated Press

Posted on June 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 25 at 4:31 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A legal scholar says unconventional sentences that seek to shame defendants are steadily increasing and turning state courts into circus shows.

A 13-year-old Utah girl received such a punishment recently in juvenile court after cutting a 3-year-old girl's hair with dollar-store scissors.

George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley is criticizing the judge in the case, saying he acted like a child himself by agreeing to reduce the girl's sentence if her mom cut off the teen's ponytail in court.

The Utah mother has filed a formal complaint, saying the judge at the May hearing intimidated her into the eye-for-an-eye penalty.

The teen and her 11-year-old friend were referred to court for the March incident involving the toddler and for harassing another girl in Colorado by telephone.

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