“It’s pure hell:” Men plead guilty to domestic violence, judge sentences them to public humiliation

HIGH POINT, North Carolina — A judge in North Carolina has sentenced three men to public humiliation after they pleaded guilty to domestic violence.

District Court Judge Mark Cummings order the men to carry signs outside the courthouse that read: “This is the face of domestic violence.”

“It’s pure hell — that’s what it’s like,” said Melvin Southerland, one of the men carrying the sign outside the courthouse. “It’s hell. It’s embarrassment.”

Southerland joined Josh Hill, who also plead guilty to assault on a female last, in standing outside the courthouse Wednesday, March 29th.

“My friends now think I beat on women,” said Hill. “And I don’t.”

While both pleaded guilty in court, they both said they didn’t do it — claiming they pleaded guilty so they could get out of jail and move on.

“[The judge] said I could do 15 days in jail or stand out here,” Southerland said. “So I choose to come out here.”

Southerland said he chose to carry the sign so he wouldn’t miss class for his associate’s degree. Hill said he choose to carry the sign instead of spending 150 days in jail.

“It’s a punishment, but it’s not very effective,” said Southerland, who was sentenced to carry the sign for three days. Hill was required to carry his sign for seven days, both from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“I think the court system should be set up as a form of punishment and a form of re-educating an individual,” Southerland said. “I don’t see much in being re-educated in being made to walk around and carry a sign.”

Hill said he received threats online since standing outside the courthouse.

“Domestic violence thrives in secrecy and in the dark — so this has people talking,” said Shay Harger, director of victim services at Family Services of the Piedmont. “We need to make sure we are getting proper treatment for behavioral change for these men.”

Victim Services offers a 26-week program for people who have been convicted of assault on female.