Judge Accepted Nike Sneakers for Poor Man’s Bail


A Massachusetts judge accepted brand new Nike sneakers in exchange for cash when one man with insufficient funds could not pay bail. Jason Duval was picked up on a warrant because he failed to pay court fees resulting from a drug possession case in 2012. On Friday the man appeared before the judge, explained his dilemma and created his own plea bargain.

On Thursday, Framingham Police went to Duval’s apartment with a warrant from Natick District Court. He had been charged previously with possession of a Class C substance, two counts of possession of a Class B substance and driving to endanger.

Duval explained to Judge Douglas Stoddart that he is in the middle of a divorce and had no means to pay the $450 that he failed pay previously. His original charges were dismissed but Duval still needed to handle the fine he received when arrested in 2012. Stoddart offered the man a few days in jail in order to erase his debt but he pleaded not to be locked up any further.

The judge told the 39-year-old he did not trust him enough to release without any bail because he doubted Duval would pay. Stoddart decided to offer the broke man a challenge to come up with an alternative. He said:

I will give you a chance to be creative. If you can come up with a creative idea to convince me that you will come back, I will work with you.

After giving some serious thought to the challenge at hand Duval offered his new Nike sneakers as bail. He had received the shoes with a retail value of approximately $85 as a holiday gift. Judge Stoddart surprisingly accepted the offer to substitute the shoes for money. In order to have the sneakers returned to him Duval can either perform 10 hours of community service or beginning January 13, 2015 he can satisfy four weekly installments of $25 to pay his fine. Whichever he opts for the man was able to satisfy his debt temporarily with his pair of Nike sneakers.

Nike is a powerful brand in the athletics industry and is often represented with wings gracefully curving upward, a shape that is echoed in the Nike “swoosh.” In Greek mythology the name comes from one of the oldest goddesses in the Greek pantheon and is associated with the concept of victory. In fact, Victoria is the Roman name for Nike. As such this makes the name of this athletic company ideal for the characteristics the brand represents.

The name is associated with the power of speed within athletic competition. In certain versions of Nike’s lineage in Greek mythology the name is also associated with zeal, force and strength from her Greek siblings Zelus, Bia and Kratos. In addition to athletic competition, Nike is associated with victory in war. In some artsy renderings Nike can be seen as one who drives a chariot in connection to military conflict and speed.

On Friday Nike represented wings of freedom for one Massachusetts man who found himself in a situation with no other way of out. Jason Duval exchanged his Nike sneakers for bail in order to be released from jail. The bargain he received meant he had to part with his “lucky” sneakers but once his debt is satisfied he can again reunite with his “wings.”

by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)


MetroWest Daily News
NY Daily News

Photo by Kick Photo – Flickr License

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