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-- THE ARCHIVE --


UNITED STATES
Judicial CP - December 1968



Oklahoma City Times, 20 December 1968

Youth Takes His 20 Whacks to Avoid Prison Term

A 16-year-old Putnam City High School student was given 20 whacks with his brother-in-law's belt Friday on instructions from a district judge.

The punishment was ordered for Scott Browning Grandstaff after the youth said he would rather take a beating than go to the penitentiary.

The whipping was carried out in Judge Carmon C. Harris' jury room with the judge's law clerk, Ron Ladd, officially witnessing the punishment.

Grandstaff then appeared before Judge Harris, who handed down a 5-year prison term in two felony cases, and ordered that the prison time be suspended during the boy's good behavior.

Judge Harris deferred sentencing in a burglary charge last month, after the youth pleaded guilty. But Grandstaff was brought before Judge Harris again Thursday, on a new charge of concealing stolen property.

"You're not going to walk off from here without punishment," Judge Harris told Grandstaff. The latter said he preferred a beating to prison.

Harris specified that the punishment was in the form of a court's suggestion, not an order. He said a male relative would have to administer the blows.

Grandstaff was brought from the county jail to the courtroom Friday morning. He was met by his mother, Mrs. June Grandstaff, 5304 NW 47, and his brother-in-law, a tall, young man who declined to give his name.

Grandstaff and the brother-in-law were accompanied to the closed jury room by the court clerk, Ladd. Photographers and the press were asked to leave. The blows could be heard 150 feet down the corridor.

Ladd said the first couple of whacks were not very hard. But he said they got harder.

He reported to Judge Harris that the boy had to struggle to keep from crying. He said the relative used his belt on the seat of Grandstaff's trousers.

The boy's mother walked away from the room and cried.

Later, Judge Harris praised young Grandstaff for his attitude in accepting the punishment, and invited him to come to him for counsel at any time during his years on probation.

The youth's attorney, Robert Hall, said he was trying to arrange for the boy's admission to a private school operated by the Episcopal Church in Kansas.

WOODSHED JUSTICE was meted out Friday to Scott Browning Grandstaff, 16, Putnam High School student who said he preferred a whipping to a prison term. On instructions of Judge Carmon C. Harris, Grandstaff's brother-in-law applied a belt 20 times to the seat of his pants, as the boy's mother wept in a corridor outside. The youth appeared composed seconds later (left), but the official punishment witness said he had been near tears. Judge Harris (below) then pronounced and suspended a 5-year prison sentence on two felony charges concerning thefts. (Times Photos by Bob Albright.)



masthead

New York Times, 27 March 1969

Oklahoma City, March 26 (UPI) -- A judge's decision to let a teen-age lawbreaker choose between five years in prison and 20 lashes with a belt is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. F.B.I. agents questioned District Court Judge Carmon C. Harris Tuesday and have been talking with other court employes involved in the case of Scott Browning Grandstaff, 17 years old, who chose the whipping over prison on Dec. 21. Grandstaff, who pleaded guilty to charges of possession of stolen property, had two suspended sentences on burglary charges on his record when Judge Harris said to him: "Corporal punishment has gone out of style, and you probably have never received any at home. That is the reason you are in this predicament." The boy's mother stood in the judge's chambers as a male relative gave Grandstaff 20 whacks with a belt. The boy's father is an invalid.

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