"Nebraska Man Sentenced To Ban On Romantic Relationships"
Jeffrey Hoadley was a co-defendant in a Nebraska burglary at a Speedway Auto Parts. But unlike his partner, Hoadley hesitated at the last minute and did not scale the fence to go forward with the burglary.
Although Hoadley could have seen more jail time for the offense, Judge Mark Johnson took his sentencing in a different direction after he noted that Hoadley had a “moral compass.” He then imposed his own morals on Hoadley, ordering him to pay an $1,800 fee and serve probation — and a ban on romantic relationships. “You need to focus on you,” Johnson said, according to the Norfolk Daily News. If Hoadley doesn’t comply with these probation terms, he could see 120 days in jail.
This sentence raises fundamental questions about the scope of appropriate probation, both under the Constitution, and under state law. A California appeals court, for example, invalidated a probation term that forbade a probationer from becoming pregnant while unmarried, holding that it did not have a relationship to the crime of robbery, relates to conduct which is not itself criminal, and requires or forbids conduct which is not reasonably related to future criminal activity. The U.S. Supreme Court has also suggested that those under correctional supervision only have weaker constitutional rights — including privacy, due process, and other fundamental freedoms — if incursions on those rights are “reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.”