Civil Liberties

Texas Judge Orders 19-Year-Old to Marry Girlfriend or Go to Jail

Court-ordered shotgun wedding?



A judge in Texas ordered a young man to marry his girlfriend or spend the next 15 days in jail. The judge also made him write Bible verses as part of his probation.

KLTV in Smith County, Texas, reports that the young man, Josten Bundy, had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. While the ex-beau did not require medical attention, he pressed charges, bringing Bundy to court in July:

At his sentencing hearing, Judge Randall Rogers asked Bundy about the fight.

"Is she worth it?" Judge Rogers asked Bundy, according to court transcripts.

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

Judge Rogers asked Bundy if he was married to Jaynes and then said, "You know, as a part of my probation, you're going to have to marry her…within 30 days."

If Bundy declined to do the probation, he would be sentenced to 15 days in jail.

"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]," said Bundy. "The judge told me 'nope, that's not how this works.'"

Jaynes, who was in the courtroom said the proposal from the judge embarrassed her.

"My face was so red, people behind me were laughing," said Jaynes. "[The judge] made me stand up in court."

Afraid of Bundy losing his job if he spent two weeks behind bars, the couple applied for their marriage license and scheduled a date with the justice of the peace to get married.

The couple told KLTV that they had spoken of marriage while dating, but had not set a date. With only 18 days to plan the wedding, neither had time to assemble the guests—or attire—they had imagined. Bundy's dad and sisters couldn't make it on such short notice. Bride Elizabeth Jaynes didn't even have time to get the white dress she wanted. And Bundy had to say goodbye to a longstanding sartorial dream, too: "I would have worn a black tux with some yellow under it because I'm a Steelers fan."

No word on whether the judge was invited.