General Sessions Coutt Judge Bob Moon told a young defendant on Tuesday he would not have to pay fine and costs and he should put the money saved into an account for the child he has on the way.
Derrick Douglas, 19, of 508 Tunnel Blvd., appeared on charges of failure to appear and driving on a revoked license.
The young man told Judge Moon that he had quit school in the 11th grade at Red Bank High School over a year ago. Asked by the judge why he quit school, Douglas said, "Because I fought all the time. I didn't like what people said to me."
Judge Moon asked where his parents were and why they did not compel him to show respect and attend school. Douglas responded, "I know who my parents are, but I haven't seen them. They gave us up. My aunt and uncle raised me and my sister before we were placed into state custody."
Judge Moon asked the young man, "Had your parents been punished or incarcerated for failing you and your sister, do you think that it might have made a difference in your life?" He responded, "I think so. I would have gone to school. I would not have wanted to see them in jail. I probably would have done better."
Douglas told Judge Moon that he was living with his girlfriend and had a baby on the way. He said he is working at McAllisters Restaurant and trying to do right. He told the judge that he was staying out of trouble and getting his GED.
Judge Moon dismissed the charges except for the driving on a suspended license where he gave Derrick a six-months suspended sentence and waived all fines, costs and litigation tax.
The judge told him, "Take this money that you would normally be paying the state and open a small bank account for your child. The money will grow and you can provide an education and a much better life than your parents provided for you and your sister.
"Remember, if you are not teaching your child by the example that you lead, then you are not teaching your child at all."
Judge Moon offered to assist Douglas with the baby's needs after it was born. The young man reached over the bench, shook the judge's hand and left the courtroom in tears.