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Wasn’t He in a James Bond Movie?

January 1st, 2011

Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, is offended by how good prisoners have it. As he drove by the Polk County Jail not too long ago, he saw inmates playing basketball, and that just royally cheesed him off: “I’m working for a living and these guys are sitting around on my tax dollar and playing basketball.”

Yeah, imagine that. These guys are locked up in overcrowded jails, and for a whole three hours a week they get to go outside into a chain-link cage and shoot hoops. Posh! “I’m not going to have an environment where they feel like they’re at a fitness center,” Judd complained. Yeah! What did they do to deserve such luxury? Committed crimes, that’s what they did. I bet they even broke the law just for the chance of playing basketball for 3 hours out of every 168. Totally worth it. Slackers.

After all, they’re all criminals. “Inmates come to jail because they violated the law,” Judd pointed out. Except that the jail also holds people who are awaiting trial and are not convicted of anything–some of them could be completely innocent. This makes no difference to Judd. “They’re all there because of probable cause that they committed a crime,” he points out. “The solution is if you don’t like county jail, stay out of it.” The message, boys and girls, is don’t become suspected because of probable cause. Exactly how one does this I have no idea.

Nevertheless, Judd was having none of this coddling-of-mostly-criminals-and-maybe-some-innocent-people crap, and so decided to take away the basketball hoops. What he did with them next created a bit of controversy: he took the equipment, paid for by taxpayers, and (in front of local news cameras he invited) gave it away to churches, where they will attract the use of children.

Sounds OK, except for the part about giving public property to churches and the First Amendment and all that. That did not sit well with a secular group, which said that the equipment should go to local parks and schools, where kids can use them just as well, without having to go to a religious institution. Judd chafed at that, asking why he should “kowtow” to the atheists’ “silliness,” looking forward to fighting a legal battle with them.

Everyone, meet the next Republican congressional candidate from Polk County and future presidential candidate.

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