Home News North Carolina judge orders public humiliation for those convicted of domestic violence

North Carolina judge orders public humiliation for those convicted of domestic violence


A judge in Guilford County N.C., is offering a choice to those convicted of domestic violence — go to jail or be publicly shamed for their behavior.

Offender Melvin Southerland tells Fox 8 District Court Judge Mark Cummings’ order is embarrassing.

“It’s pure hell, that’s what it’s like,” said Melvin Southerland, one of the men carrying the sign outside the courthouse. “It’s hell, it’s embarrassment.”

Southerland joined Josh Hill, who also pleaded guilty to assault on a woman last week, in standing outside the Guilford County courthouse Wednesday.

“My friends now think I beat on women,” said Hill. “And I don’t.”

Although both pleaded guilty in court, both men told Fox 8 they didn’t do it. They also said they pleaded guilty so they could get out of jail and move on — Judge Cummings gave them a choice.

“[The judge] said I could do 15 days in jail or stand out here,” Southerland said. “So I choose to come out here.”

Southerland says he chose to carry the sign so he wouldn’t miss college classes. Hill says he choose to carry the sign instead of spending 150 days in jail.

Southerland feels the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Taking no personal responsibility for his actions, he says it’s the courts that should teach abusers how a man is supposed to treat women.

“I think the court system should be set up as a form of punishment and a form of re-educating an individual,” Southerland tells Fox 8. “I don’t see much in being re-educated in being made to walk around and carry a sign.”

Like his victim, Hill is feeling a little scared since holding his sign telling Fox 8 he’s received threats online since standing outside the courthouse.

Family service advocates admits the judges punishment gets people talking about domestic abuse.

“Domestic violence thrives in secrecy and in the dark so this has people talking,” said Shay Harger, director of victim services at Family Services of the Piedmont. “We need to make sure we are getting proper treatment for behavioral change for these men.”

Fox 8 reports Victim Services offers a 26-week program for people who have been convicted of assault against a female.


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