Moral Low Ground

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Texas Honor Student Diane Tran Jailed for Missing School

A 17-year-old Texas high school honor student working two jobs to support herself and her two siblings after both their parents left them has been thrown in jail for repeatedly missing school.

KHOU reports that Diane Tran, an 11th grader at Willis High School in Willis, was sentenced to 24 hours behind bars by Judge Lanny Moriarty. Tran had appeared before the judge last month and was warned not to miss any more school. But the honor student, whose parents divorced and left her alone with her older brother and baby sister, was forced to take two jobs to help support the family.

Tran, who lives with one of her employers, works at a wedding venue on weekends and at a dry cleaner’s full time. She is helping put her older brother through Texas A&M University.

“She goes from job to job, from school she stays up ’til 7 o’clock in the morning,” Devin Hill, a friend, co-worker and classmate, told WHOU.

“[I take] dual credit U.S. history, dual credit English literacy, college algebra, Spanish language AP,” Tran told KHOU, an impressive course load even before considering she works full-time.

Tran’s grueling work schedule sometimes leaves her too exhausted to make it to school on time. Sometimes she doesn’t show up at all. Judge Moriarty said he wanted to make an example out of her.

“If you let one run loose, what are you gonna do with the rest of ‘em? Let them go too?” he asked KHOU.

In addition to spending a day in jail, Tran was also ordered to pay a $100 fine. She was arrested on the spot in the courtroom after she appeared on Wednesday.

After learning the particulars of her life, Judge Moriarty admitted to KHOU that perhaps he’d been too hard on the girl. He said he’d reconsider her case; if he does not, she will have a criminal record.

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17 Comments

  1. Michelle StaleyMay 26, 2012 at 4:12 pmReply

    And you wonder why other kids dont do things right. You have one kid trying to do right and what she feels she needs to do, and look what happens to her. She is an excellent student in school and trying to help her family out. And this is how the law is helping her. We think its a SHAME!!

  2. John SmithMay 26, 2012 at 6:57 pmReply

    That Judge has no compassion and should have his head read

  3. Howard KimMay 26, 2012 at 9:23 pmReply

    The judges job is not to set an example, it is to deal a correct judgement based on the set law. This is a disgrace of a judge who obviously is no longer capable of objective judgement.

  4. LeroyMay 26, 2012 at 11:48 pmReply

    This judge should be removed from the bench. Is this Texas justice? The governor should step in. It’s giving Texas a bad name. Social services should have been given after the first occurance. I hope other people gets to see this video and passes it on and something gets done.

  5. JayCeeMay 26, 2012 at 11:58 pmReply

    Really Texas? Really? You’re a shame to the system. The judge need to get out of that seat.

  6. thomas billisMay 27, 2012 at 1:24 amReply

    As Oscar Wilde said”if this is the law than the law is an ass”.I do wonder if this was some white Bubba helping dad with the farming what would have been outcome.

    • katyMay 27, 2012 at 6:01 amReply

      Not Oscar Wilde. Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist.

  7. MaureenMay 27, 2012 at 4:03 amReply

    I’m sorry, where are her parents??? Why are they not being charged with abandonment?? Why is the employer not being charged with giving a 17 yr old a FULL TIME work schedule?? Yes, the judge is an a$$, but maybe this wouldn’t have happened if authorities were called as soon as the parents abandoned her and her baby sister? I get it, it’s probably a cultural thing, but if the older brother can’t make ends meet how is it fair for him or this young lady?? I didn’t realize you could just MOVE AWAY from your children.

  8. DerekMay 27, 2012 at 6:31 amReply

    What a stupid judge….put the student in jail couldn’t sovle any problem (maybe even cause more problems)……she needs help not jail….

  9. hank e. pankyMay 27, 2012 at 6:58 amReply

    What the fuck, Texas. This is why people don’t like us…

  10. ArleneMay 27, 2012 at 7:46 amReply

    Don’t think the Judge judged well. He should have empathized with her & given her a more compassionate ruling. If the school officials knew of her personal hardships & the burden she carried on her shoulders, it was insensitive of them to file the case against her in the first place. Godspeed Diane !!!

  11. BillMay 27, 2012 at 8:09 amReply

    This is Texas, She is lucky the judge didn’t hang her! Regarding the judge, some village somewhere is missing an idiot.

  12. GregMay 27, 2012 at 12:56 pmReply

    I heard all my life, Texas is nothing but steers and queers. I guess we know what the judge is.

  13. Tony NguyenMay 27, 2012 at 1:06 pmReply

    The school officials should be ashamed of themselves for sending Diane to the judge. There should be an exception to every policy. Good kids should be rewarded and exempt from certain disciplines. You must understand them, not purnish them! In this case, the judge did not even understand Diane’s situation –That’s unwise!

  14. fIAMay 27, 2012 at 5:39 pmReply

    Judge Moriarty, I know justice is supposed to be blind, but you have either lost your mind or are completely heartless. Diane’s doing everything she can to hold her family together and you decide she needs to be taught a lesson and sentenced to jail, making her life more difficult ~ your decision was PATHETIC~!

  15. MikeMay 27, 2012 at 10:11 pmReply

    I hope you get this message Judge. You’re WORTHLESS, PATHETIC, HEARTLESS, IMMORAL, A QUACK, OH and a piece of Shit. Not to mention a complete worthless joke to society.
    My heart goes out to this wonderful strong girl.

  16. Sarita EdgertonMay 28, 2012 at 8:03 amReply

    What has happened to common sense? Why aren’t the parents in jail? Why did the school feel the need to send her before a judge? Did making her stay in jail from Wed afternoon to Thursday afternoon really make the point of missing school? SHE MISSED SCHOOL!!!! I wish we could help her! Send her and her sister to NC, we will take them in!

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