Friday, August 10, 2007

Judge marries man, then sentences him to 18 months in jail

JACKSONVILLE -- - A groom wore a suit to his wedding in court here, but he'll be wearing a prison uniform for the next 18 months.

After pronouncing Ernest Stroming and Nitisha Jackson husband and wife on Tuesday, a judge pronounced his sentence: 18 months for drug possession and fleeing police. Stroming, 28, told the judge he wanted to marry Jackson, 25, before going to jail as part of his commitment to straightening out his life.

``I applaud you for your courage, sir. And I applaud you, ma'am, for your faith,'' Circuit Judge John Merretts told the couple.

The pair have known each other for three years and are expecting a baby in December. While Stroming was in jail he called Jackson to make sure she was certain about getting married.

``I'm calling to ask you again to marry me,'' Jackson recalled her husband saying. He told her other inmates were waiting to hear her response. When she said yes, he shouted her answer and there was cheering in the jail, she said.

On Tuesday, the couple ate donated wedding cake and alcohol-free champagne in the court's jury room, but any honeymoon will have to wait.

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