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Judge: Get Married or Get Locked Up
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A judge ordered a couple to get married or else a young man would face jail time for an assault charge.

Summary: A judge ordered a couple to get married or else a young man would face jail time for an assault charge.

According to, a Smith County, Texas judge issued a different kind of ruling last month.


Josten Brundy was ordered to marry Elizabeth Jaynes, his 19-year old girlfriend, as part of his probation. The judge also ordered him to write Bible verses and receive counseling.

The case centered on a February altercation between Bundy and Jaynes’ ex-boyfriend. Bundy recalled, “[The ex-boyfriend] had been saying disrespectful things about Elizabeth, so I challenged him to a fight. He stepped in and I felt like it was on and I hit him in the jaw twice.”

Bundy said that the ex-boyfriend did not need medical attention, but that he did press assault charges. Bundy said, “I took matters into my own hands and I know that’s wrong. I know I was raised better, but it happened.”

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An appeals court actually admitted that it lost a file for five years.

Court transcripts reveal that Judge Randall Rogers asked Bundy about the fight, and said, “Is she worth it?”

Bundy said that the responded, “I said, well to be honest sir, I was raised with four sisters and if any man was talking to a woman like that, I’d probably do the same thing.”

The judge then asked if Bund was married to Jaynes and then stated, “You know, as a part of my probation, you’re going to have to marry her…within 30 days.”

If Bundy decided not to do probation, he would have to serve 15 days in jail.

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Bundy commented, “He offered me fifteen days in jail and that would have been fine and I asked if I could call my job [to let them know]. The judge told me ‘Nope, that’s not how this works.’”

Jaynes said she was embarrassed by the judge’s order. “My face was so red, people behind me were laughing. [The judge] made me stand up in court.”

The couple was afraid that Bundy would lose his job if he served two weeks in jail, so they applied for a marriage license and scheduled a wedding date with the justice of the peace.

Jaynes said, “It just felt like we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding we wanted. It was just going to be kind of pieced together, I didn’t even have a white dress.”

Jaynes added, “I used to watch Say Yes to the Dress and all those shows and all the dresses and think about what kind of dress I would have. I would have liked a spring wedding when it’s not too hot and hot too cold.”

Bundy said that the couple began talking about marriage about six months after they started dating. He recalled, “We were strung over each other and really were in love. [At our wedding] I would have worn a black tux with some yellow under it because I’m a Steelers fan.”

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However, the couple only had 18 days to put together a wedding ceremony. Some of their closest relatives were unable to attend.

Bundy said, “My father didn’t get to go, and that really bothers me, I know he would have liked to be there. None of my sisters got to show up, it was such short notice, I couldn’t get it together.”

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Kenneth Jaynes, Elizabeth’s father, was angry at the ruling. “[I felt] anger; I was mad. [The judge] can’t do this by court ordering somebody to be married. I contacted a couple of lawyers but they told me someone was trying to pull my leg…that judges don’t court order somebody to get married.”

Constitutional law attorney Blake Bailey said that ordering a couple to marry is illegal. He said, “To say you’re not going to be criminally punished if you get married is way out of left field. It sounds like the old days of shotgun weddings, but not even the judge is capable of enforcing, what he thinks is best for some people in his court.”



Although Bundy and Jaynes do not regret getting married, they do regret not having the wedding they dreamed of.

Jaynes said, “What if we [had said to the judge] we don’t want to get married right now and we’re not ready? Is he going to go to jail? It scared us, a little bit.” According to Newsmax, Jaynes also said, “We live paycheck to paycheck. If he had gone to jail, I wouldn’t have been able to make the rent by myself.”

Bailey said the sentence would have probably been struck down if it had been appealed.

Bundy and Jaynes do plan to have a larger ceremony in the future when they can afford it.


Photo credit:, (Bailey)



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