A Guilford County District Court judge literally has made a man a poster boy for domestic violence, ordering him to stand in front of the county courthouse in High Point for seven days holding a sign as part of his punishment.
The judge, Mark Cummings, sentenced defendant Joshua Hill to hold the sign after Hill admitted to violating his probation last week, television station WFMY reported. In 2014, Hill pleaded guilty to assault on a female and criminal trespassing.
He was ordered to not have contact with the victim and was sentenced to a year of probation, WFMY reported. As part of his plea on the probation violation, Cummings ordered him to hold the 30-by-30-inch poster that reads, “This is the Face of Domestic Abuse,” and spend three days in jail.
Cummings has ordered three people, including Hill, to hold signs in front of the courthouse, The High Point Enterprise newspaper reports. Those people were given a choice — hold a poster or get the maximum sentence allowed by law, Cummings said.
“The cross section of men I’ve sentenced to this is not race specific,” Cummings told The Enterprise. “There have been minority and majority members, which shows domestic violence doesn’t care what color you are. It doesn’t care about your socioeconomic background. It’s an epidemic that affects all of us.”
Cummings said he thinks the punishment could be effective for other crimes.
Hill began serving his unorthodox seven-day sentence this past Monday, standing in front of the courthouse from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
If the sentence is not carried out as Cummings ordered, Hill would be in violation of his sentence and could face jail time, the judge said.
Hill, who told Enterprise reporter Natalie Stewart that he did not assault a woman, chose to make a plea because he hoped it would lead to his release from jail. According to the arrest warrant, Hill “placed his arm about the victim’s neck” and pushed her back, WFMY reported.
Unaware that he would be ordered to stand in front of the courthouse, Hill said he now would have preferred jail over the humiliation of holding the sign.
“This is belittling,” Hill told The Enterprise. “I was born and raised here, everybody knows me. People say, ‘I can’t believe they’re making you do this,’ and other people kind of shake their heads, look at me like I’m a bad person or ask me why I’m doing this.”