School Choice

Honor Student Jailed for Not Warming a School Seat Often Enough


We can't have straight-A students running loose! They might get other kids to larnin'!

There are big differences between doing business with a private vendor and doing business with a public agency. If the private vendor doesn't like the way you use its services, it might ding you on the price or even sever ties and send you elsewhere. If the public agency doesn't care for your interpretation of the arrangement, it has the power to throw your ass in jail. Which is how Diane Tran, a Houston-area high school honor student who takes advanced placement courses, gets straight-As and works full-time to support herself and two siblings, found herself in jail for "truancy."

The Daily Mail has a nice summary of the story here:

An eleventh grader in Texas was thrown in jail—just for missing school.

However, honour student Diane Tran, 17, is no lazy truant. In fact, she's quite the opposite.

Since her parents divorced and left her and her two siblings, she has been the sole breadwinner and works two jobs to keep the family afloat.

Ms Tran said she works a full time job, a part-time job, and takes advancement and dual credit college level courses at Willis High School.

'[I take] dual credit U.S. history, dual credit English literacy, college algebra, Spanish language AP,' she says of her impressive academic workload.

However, the high-achiever cannot devote as much time as she would like to her schooling as she often misses an entire day.

You have to read a few stories to fill in the gaps, but it appears that Tran's mother ditched the family, and that her father, while still involved, doesn't earn enough to pay the bills. So Tran works at a dry cleaner during the week, a wedding planner on the weekend, takes advanced courses and maintains a straight-A average. She actually lives with one of her employers at least part time, while helping pay her older brother's way through college and supporting a baby sister who lives with relatives.

Repeat after me: I will never again complain that I am overworked.

While Tran is pulling better-than-respectable grades, she sometimes misses school — either actual days, or just attendance, which seems to be legally the same thing. Mary Elliot, Tran's employer at the wedding-planning gig, told reporters, "She keeps her grades up, but sometimes she oversleeps, because she's been working."

Under Texas law, any student who "fails to attend school without excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year" must be referred to "county, justice, or municipal court" for prosecution. Tran's father may be subject to the tender mercies of the legal system, too (her mother lives safely out-of-state). That's how Tran ended up before Judge Lanny Moriarty, a jackass of truly epic proportions (I feel confident in my read on his character), who sentenced her to 24 hours in jail and a $100 fine for … successfully multi-tasking?

"If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna' do with the rest of 'em? Let them go too?" Judge Moriarty asked.

Well … yes, unless you think the main purpose of school is just to get the kids to check in at appointed times so they're properly warehoused.

Oh … wait.

Admittedly, Diane Tran may have contributed to her own woes. ABC News reported that she refused friends' suggestions that she consider homeschooling "because she wanted to be named among the top-10 students in her class just like her brother." As a homeschooler, she could have completed her education without subjecting herself to the state's draconian penalties for doing things other than exactly by the rule book.

But then, like a lot of people, she may not have fully understood the huge difference between doing business on a voluntary basis with private parties, or under the constant threat of violence that comes from dealing with the state.


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  1. Jesus Christ Almighty? the State is fucking stupid.

    News at 11.

  2. It’s an election year. President Obama will have Diane Tran and Judge Moriarty over to the White House for tea and beer. Just you wait.

  3. I hear there has been murmuring in Texas concerning whether Judge Lanny Moriarty fucks sheep.

    1. What I heard, and I have no idea if this is true, but I heard that the sheep actually fuck Judge Lanny Moriarty.

      1. What I heard, and I have no idea if this is true, is that Judge Moriarty fucks Arthur Wolk.

      2. The sheep can neither confirm nor deny this.

        1. But they dare not miss a “class”…

      3. I heard that they don’t actually fuck, but that various sheep and Judge Lenny Moriarty take part in daisy chains.

        1. Did you not pay attention during sex ed? Oral sex is still sex!

          1. But it’s not “fucking.”

          2. Very true, but I doubt someone partaking in a daisy chain has never branched out to the more mundane (arguably) act of “Fucking” said domesticated animals. I would tend to think a practitioner of chanining daisy is also an avid fan of activities including, but not limited to, “docking”, “blumpking”, “Heating some Carl (and/or Steaming Cleavland)”, musically playing a trombone of the rusted variety, etc. Though, strictly speaking of unconfirmed rumors, you are correct. I am just speculating.

            1. I’m in full agreement. Daisy chaining probably has led to his fucking a sheep or two. But I didn’t hear anything about that, so I’m playing it safe and reporting that I HAVE heard of his daisy chaining activities.

    2. I actually heard, from some very reliable friends, that Judge Lanny Moriarty actually fucks Donkeys, not sheep, down at Tiajuana for some supplemental income. From what I hear, he does two shows each Saturday night. From what I hear, he has the best show since he is the only one who can play top and bottom in the same show.

      1. Is that where the expression “a nice piece of ass” comes from? Did Judge Lanny Moriarty start that expression?

        1. No, but I hear the expression “Pink Sock” comes from the “bottom” part of his show.

      2. Is that him, the dude with the molestache in the picture up there? Not saying he is, but he sure looks like a sheep fucker.

        1. I hear he goes by a stage name in Tijuana, but his page on the ISE (Inter-species Erotica) member’s site looks JUST like the picture in the article, shit-stained mustache and all (According to my sources, of course).

    3. There have been accusations of sheep-fuckery, and Judge Moriarty has neither confirmed nor denied this.

      Also, if he ever leads an academic institution, he’ll be Dean Moriarty. Apologies to my Beats.

      1. Just started reading that book today, really enjoying it so far.

        1. It’s refreshing to read about people that put a premium on being interesting over being liked. We could use more of that.

    4. Remember That Time I started That Thing about That One Guy? Maybe you shouldn’t taunt Nick and Matt by doing it again.

      1. Yeah but, Warty, That One Guy was a lawyer!

      2. Gambol lockdown imminent.

    5. concerning whether Judge Lanny Moriarty fucks sheep

      I think this is clear from Moriarty himself: “If you let one run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em? Let them go too?”

    6. There is no indisputable evidence of his sheepfucking, so I advise against mentioning it.

  4. “Zero tolerance” strikes again.

    BTW, did they shoot her dog?

  5. One hopes another libertarian has been created. One way to trounce the 1% is to squash them in high school before their reign of evil and greed has fairly begun.

  6. Hit “enter” too early…

    Will this run-in with The Law prevent her from getting past a pre-employment background check in the future?

    You know, like the way Obama got past his pre-employment background check?

  7. Here’s an idea, judge:

    Any truant who is maintaining an “A” average gets off with a warning: to either keep their grades up or start attending regularly, or else.

  8. …a jackass of truly epic proportions…

    But he taught her a valuable lesson in giving authority to morons. Lawyers in robes, ladies and gents. Lawyers in robes.

    1. They ought to have to wear those stupid old powdered wigs too.

    2. He’s actually an ex-cop in robes. I’ve heard it said that he moved from killing puppies to fucking sheep, but again, this is mere conjecture.

  9. “If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em? Let them go too?” Judge Moriarty asked.

    Someone, somewhere, decided that this individual would make a great judge.

    And no one stopped them.

    Dear god, we are all kinds of fucked.

    1. More than just someone, he was elected.

    2. Someone, somewhere, decided that this individual would make a great judge.

      And no one stopped them.

      We elect judges in Texas. Draw your own conclusions from that.

      1. I had considered the possibility that this was the case, but not wanting to be further depressed, I declined to look it up.

        1. Joe Arpaio is elected too.

      2. Are you required to be a lawyer to be a judge?

      3. So I guess they let the sheep vote.

        That explains things…

  10. Just as a side note, there are financial incentives to graduating in the top couple of slots from a public Texas high school. Aditionally, depending on your college plans, graduating in the top 10% gets you automatic admission to state schools.

    Homeschooling is great and all, but there are reasons for playing within the system.

    1. I was going to comment on that as well.

      1. I figure the girl who is working this hard is gunning for a scholarship slot. I never worked that hard at school in my life, and I’ve got a graduate degree.

        1. Dude, she’s Asian. By Asian standards she’s a slacker for only have 1 full-time job and 1 part-time. She should have 2 full-time jobs.

        2. In Texas, the top 10% of graduates in every high school get guaranteed admission to a Texas public college.

          1. In Ohio, anyone with a GED gets guaranteed admission to a public college. Why any kid stays in high school beyond age 16 is a mystery.

            1. You mean community colleges, right?

              In TX you take your pick of the schools, iirc.

              1. No. I got a GED and went straight to OSU in Columbus.

            2. In Ohio, anyone with a GED gets guaranteed admission to some of the public colleges. There’s no way you’d get in Miami of OH or Cincinnati with just a GED. Shawnee State, Wright State, or (my alma mater) University of Akron fall under the category you speak of.

    2. Automatic admission to UT, I believe.

  11. If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em? Let them go too?” Judge Moriarty asked.

    No, you throw them in jail. You make each decision based on the facts and the interests of justice. That is what you get paid for you fucking jackass.

    1. The judge has a point. If we going to set an outrageously high bar by demanding that judges consider the interests of justice of the case, then truancy cases would likely never be enforced. Unless you can show me how a student failing to show up for school causes some harm to another person, I would argue that justice — rightly understood — does not come into play.

  12. Hey, lay off on the judge.

    Without him, there’d be no prosperity. That girl is clearly a parasite that should be thanking god that he’s punishing her. ;@

  13. The law may be written in such a way that there was no choice but to arrest this apparently splendid young lady. If both of her parents are out of the picture, both she and her siblings need adults to step in.

    1. both she and her siblings need adults to step in

      Funny, she didn’t express any such need in the article I read. And she seems like an intelligent and highly functioning young woman, very much capable of recognizing and expressing such needs were she to have them. Linky, please?

      Or perhaps you were projecting your needs onto her.

      And you might want to revisit that “no choice” thing. There’s always a choice.

  14. *sigh*

    Kids need to be in school. If they’re not in school, that’s an empty seat. Empty seats mean smaller class sizes.

    And we all know how liberals hate smaller class sizes that aren’t mandated by the state.

      1. Hmm, I seem to recall something about KC, Mo schools.

  15. Also remember that there were other state actors involved in the chain of events that led to her arrest, conviction and incarceration. Probably started with a principal, then involved a truancy enforecement officer, and maybe a prosecutor.

  16. We’re in a bad place where some troglodyte in a black nightgown and weilding a seafood mallet can put someone in cage for really no reason at all.

    1. some troglodyte in a black nightgown and weilding a seafood mallet

      Oh, that’s going in the memory banks for later use. Well done, Karl.

      1. Oh, that’s going in the memory banks for later use. Well done, Karl.

        Happy to oblige. It feels good to reduce the people to what they really are.

        1. *Reduce THESE people to what they really are.

    2. The guy is a justice of the peace, and was elected without an opponent in 2010. That level of judge requires basically zero legal training or any other minimum qualifications. Maybe Diane Tran should run to replace this moron when he’s up for reelection in 2014. The job comes with a $100k+ salary.

      1. YES

      2. Daaaaamn, that’s sensible.

      3. You can’t expect people to vote for someone with an arrest record for judge, can you?

  17. My biggest regret about my school years is that I did not skip class more often.

  18. But then, like a lot of people, she may not have fully understood the huge difference between doing business on a voluntary basis with private parties, or under the constant threat of violence that comes from dealing with the state.

    She does now.

  19. Don’t forget that the real monster is No Child Left Behind that forced the absurd truancy laws now found at the state levels.

    1. Oh, so we can blame Bush for this one.


    Judge Moriarty is off on Fridays so he has not made a decision as to whether he will throw the case out.

    “I hadn’t thought on that issue because it turns me, ‘Well, he’s soft. He’s not gonna do nothing.’ I’m taking off at 11:30 today,” said the judge.

    So this fucker takes off Fridays for brunch then throws her in jail (as we know now) because he doesn’t want to appear soft. There used to be just punishments available for people like this.

    1. Oh, so he’s a pig:

      “As a people’s court, many of the cases are rather informal in nature and can be handled as such,” said Judge Moriarty. “I try to be open and honest with an attitude that says I care.”

      With a successful tenure in law enforcement including 21 years with the Houston Police Department and 10 years with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, Judge Moriarty reminds himself daily, “I am a human first and a law enforcer second.”

      “Since the day I decided to run for office, I have always believed in helping my fellow citizens through the law and common decency,” Moriarty said. “Putting in a full day as a JP requires a mental focus that rivals a lot of the physical exhaustion that I have experienced in other work.”

      In cooperation with Willis I.S.D and Montgomery I.S.D., Moriarty hopes to see improvements made in the lives of local youth. “It’s a cooperative approach. It takes parents and schools working together,” Moriarty said. “Our society will change for the better when home life returns to character building, instruction, love and understanding.”

      1. Besides the contributions for his victim, is anyone taking up a collection for whoever runs against this douchebag whenever he’s up for re-election?


    2. THAT is a seriously hideous form of execution. I approve.

    3. So, Lanny’s the kind of pussy who bullies girls because he’s afraid of looking like a pussy? Doesn’t that dumb shit know that this exactly the kind of thing that shows the whole world what a craven coward he is?


  21. The Help Diane Tran fund is over $68,000 and growing.

    1. Is this legitimate? I found this article via a link from urkobold:…..iane-tran/

      1. DEG, thanks for the link. The fund is very likely legit, but there is always some risk with these kind of things.

    2. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been verified. I was going to start something similar, but stopped when I heard about that. However, the lack of verification means I’ll probably be making some phone calls unless the AAA blog (linked above) is able to verify it by sometime tomorrow.

    3. Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance, the organization sponsoring the fund, seems to be the type organization libertarians would like to see more of.

    4. […]
      “Our hearts broke when we read Diane’s story,” alliance President Charlie Davis said in a news release. “It’s bad enough that she’s the victim of the failing public education system, but for the judicial system to attempt to use her as an ‘example’ to others is reprehensible.”

      Paul Dietzel, founder of Anedot, a fundraising service helping the children’s foundation with raising the money, told the Los Angeles Times that the foundation was working with one of Diane’s bosses to set up a trust fund for the money.

      “There’s still some legalities being determined with exactly how the trust of account should be set up in order to protect Diane and make sure she doesn’t get a huge tax burden, so they’re still working out the details on that, but they’re for sure going from the [Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance] and an account set up for Diane,” he said.

      Dietzel said Diane and her boss weren’t taking interview requests until the end of Thursday, when Diane’s final exams are over.

      Truancy? Honor student working two jobs is jailed; outrage ensues

    5. […]
      Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance stepped in to help Ms. Tran’s situation by leading a campaign to raise funds to assist her. Anedot, a platform for accepting donations, and, a web development firm, joined the effort to assist Ms. Tran by setting up a website that accepts online donations. NorseCorp, a provider of Internet security solutions, is offering its IPViking fraud-prevention technology to safeguard payment processing on the Anedot platform. In order to coordinate fundraising efforts and ensure that monies raised will go directly to help Diane and others like her, Ms. Tran’s employer was contacted as part of the effort.

      Campaign Raises $50,000 in Three Days to Help Honor Student Diane Tran Who Was Imprisoned for Truancy While Working Two Jobs: Partnership between Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance, Anedot, NorseCorp and successful in launching

  22. However, the high-achiever cannot devote as much time as she would like to her schooling as she often misses an entire day.

  23. Of all the despicable shysters who ever got to put on a black dress, this guy’s just barely behind that asshole from Pennsylvania who got caught sending kids to prison for kickbacks. Fuck him, fuck the law school that shat him out, and fuck anyone who ever helped him advance his career.


    1. No law school, he was just a cop.

  24. This case angers me beyond the mere nutpunch level of all those dog-shooting stories.

  25. Such a strange situation and it is difficult to find the balance between the law and human understanding of the situation. I know many students, who need to work, because otherwise they will not be able to pay for their study. And it is evident that being a good students who fulfills his tasks in time is so difficult, because educators need college papers urgently and you have to make each essay of a high quality. Instead of trying to help such students, government have a desire to punish them.

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