Sign of shame: judge meeting with Black Ministers’ Assoc. to arrange new sentence


YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — The York County Common Pleas judge who ordered a man to wear a sign of shame will meet with the Black Ministers’ Association. They agreed to work together to come up with a new sentence.

Judge Harry Ness offered Durrell Scales jail time, or to stand outside of the courthouse with a sign saying “serial retail thief.”

The 42-year-old chose the sign.

Scales is a 7-time repeat offender for shoplifting, and apparently has a drug addiction.

While the judge says he thought the sentence might help him change, the Black Ministers’ Association felt it was unethical public humiliation and showed racial bias.

The York County District Attorney filed a petition on behalf of the group, so Scales will no longer need to wear the sign in the meantime.

Scales has already served prison time and was unsuccessful in drug treatment court.

“I feel like an animal,” Scales said about wearing the sign.

When asked about what new sentence they seek, representatives from the association say another drug recovery program.

“Standing out here holding a sign which portrays humiliation took us back 200 years and we have worked too hard for equitable solutions in our economic reform, police reform, and we are looking for the same type of equity in our criminal justice system,” said Pastor Bill Kerney, the president of the Black Ministers’ Association.

The meeting is happening at 11 a.m. Thursday.

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