Published On: Mon, May 28th, 2012

Diane Tran Petition Reaches 20,000 Signatures

The clamors for Judge Lanny Moriarty in the State of Texas to lift its decision for Diane Tran have been building with recent update on the petition at reaching 20,000 signatures as of May 28, 2012.

Diane Tran is a 17-year-old honor high school student in Texas who was ordered to spend 24 hours in jail and pay a $100 fine when she missed her classes last week as reported by based in Houston, Texas.

According to Texas law, if a student has ten or more unexcused absences within a six-month period, the school district may refer the student to a juvenile court. “In such cases, resolution of the issue is entirely in the hands of the court,” reads a statement on the website of the Willis Independent School District.

Tran reasoned out her part-time works for missing her classes. She said she is working very hard to support her siblings – an older brother who is attending his school at Texas A&M University and a baby sister who lives with her relatives in Houston.

Unfortunately, she is forced to do this because her parents have divorced and both moved away, leaving her in Willis.

Diane Tran, high school student who was jailed for truancy

Currently, Diane Tran lives with the family of one of her employers who own a wedding venue where she works at the Vineyard of Waverly Manor on weekends and at a dry cleaners full time.

Devin Hill, a friend, co-worker and classmate, described Tran’s persistence and fighting spirit saying: “She goes from job to job, from school she stays up ‘til 7 o’clock in the morning,”

Letitia Gutierrez commented saying: “This remarkable young woman doesn’t deserve jail. She deserves a medal. She has done what her parents failed to do– stepped in and supported her family when the parents abandoned the children.

Throwing her in jail is lunacy. If anything, her parents are the ones who should be facing jail time for creating the situation that has caused this young woman to be in this position at all. Judge Moriarty is out of line for throwing her in jail to “make an example” of her. In truth, Diane Tran is an example of the best parts of this country, where people work hard and do the right thing. Revoke her fine and sentencing NOW.”

Aside from the petition at, a project to raise money for Diane Tran has been set up by Louisiana Children’s Education Alliance at As of this writing, the project has accumulated $27,035.

Below is a video of the news report from KHOU11 News:

Diane Tran jailed for missing her classes in the State of Texas
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  1. Lawrence says:

    Charles, the one important point you got wrong is only one parent abandoned her and the other works massively long hours too to support the family and pay for his son’s university education. Like many immigrant families however, Diane contributes to its well being and from everything I’ve read of her, she’s every bit as good a child as you write.

    I find it not only odd that the judge stupidly sentenced her to anything but that the school saw fit to refer the matter to the courts as she’s one of the top students in the school. Both the judge and the school’s administrators should be brought to task.

    • AJ Simkatu says:

      Regardless of the other parents long hours, she is not living with him. She is living with another family and working many hours to support herself and her family.

  2. eyedrd says:

    Before throwing accusations at the parents and the older brother, the truth should be found out. Vietnamese culture gives strong family attachment as Diane Tran’s actions of supporting her 2 siblings is a living proof.
    Diane Tran’s harsh and unjust sentence has sparked outrage and compassion across the nation. Her story also became a widely read thread on Reddit, a popular social-content aggregator. Twitter was flooded with sympathy for Tran and criticism for Moriarty.
    Diane Tran has become a hero while Judge Moriarty and Willis Independent School District wanted to make a criminal out of her. Let’s join hands to render justice for Diane Tran.

  3. I am so proud of this young lady. I was born in Houston and I lived in Willis, Texas where my mother lived. I can tell you the good ole boy attitude that judge has got is what is hurting that community. He has his eyes glued shut and his ego spread out all over the universe. Criminals might need a tough hand but why in heavens’ name does someone like this so called judge want to squash a beautiful hard working young woman like this. Because he can? This is an abuse of that office. If this is an example of leadership, some of the higher intelligent officials need to see what can be done about getting this abusive character out of that office. He doesn’t belong there. He has lost the trust of the people, just look at all the people standing up for this.

  4. Since she is over 16, and effectively on her own, why couldn’t she sign the “excuse” slip?

    • Flem says:

      You have to be 18 in most states to do that. I dunno if you if that applies if you emancipated.

    • Ken says:

      Northern Visitor, two problems with that. First, under current Texas law school attendance is *mandatory* until age 18. Second, even a parent’s signature can’t “excuse” more than a set number of absences under Texas law.

      What it really comes down to is money. The school district loses a certain number of Federal dollars for ever day a student is late or absent. This has made tardiness very nearly a cause for execution.

      • Lynda says:

        Texas is really harsh when it come to unexcused absences what the article doesn’t explain also is just being tardy by 15 minutes to 1 class period is turned into an absence and you don’t have to be absent the entire day, any absence in a day (missing a single class period counts) then all it take is to miss 10 class periods and the school can decide that the excuse isn’t good enough and refuse to excuse it. They can also refuse to let her participate in her graduation ceremony for “excessive” absences.

  5. I’d have to say that the judge in this case belongs on a park bench, not a court bench.

  6. Matt says:

    Typical racist judge doesn’t care about her situation. She should have chosen to be white.

  7. Darrell says:

    As soon as I heard about this story, I thought, “Texas.” Who else would behave like this? Well, maybe North Carolina.

  8. First. Thanks, Lawrence for pointing out that the first rush of a story usually leaves out pertinent information.

    This judge will inevitably bow to the political pressure. If he doesn’t, THEN you can call him a racist….

    I don’t know what his motivation is. Only he really knows that and any conjecture is simply gathering fuel for a fire. Let’s let this shake out, give the kid the money, and move on to the next stupidity in government.

  9. Bruce says:

    I want to blame the judge for an obviously poorly thought out decision, but I will allow that he is probably also massively overburdened. I hope that after hearing more of this girl’s story he will reverse himself.

  10. Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Malcolm X Elementary School celebrates a “Trayvon Martin Day.”

    This country is diseased beyond any hope for a cure.

  11. Stuart says:

    I think this goes to show that taxes are much too high and we need less government everywhere! That’s the only real priority. Only if the Bush tax cuts are continued, then the country will be better off. Vote Romney! Freeedom!! Also, I have it on good authority that president Obama is a Muslim.

  12. Justin says:

    Apparently this judge has never heard of the internet….glad to see the internet is doing what it does best…naming and shaming.
    How this idiot could think there would be no backlash is beyond me…there were no minimum sentencing guidleines…he just chose to impose the sentence. Karma always previals though, so I think it’s safe to assume this will not bode well in his future.

  13. #1.) Why aren’t the? parents being tracked down and brought to justice?
    #2.) Why is the older brother @ A&M being a bitch and taking even 1 penny from his baby sister?

  14. Linda Hynes says:

    Just another story about Southern state citizens not using their brains. They really need to starting asking themselves the elementary questions: Why?
    Ex: These laws were created to prevent crime which were positively correlated to time spent at school. Since Tran is not a criminal and can prove where she was at the time she missed school these laws should not apply.

  15. Another Person says:

    For christ’s sake, why the hell would you fine her if she’s in a tough financial situation? Do judges not have any compassion?

  16. This is so stupid, i was an honor student in high school in Idaho, its not easy in any state, and she has an entire family to support, thank you Phillip Defranco, this is ridiculousness. I understand the judges point of view but there are exceptions to every law, this is one of them.

  17. Emily Brown says:

    There are certain things in life that are challenges to people our age. The reason why the punishment wasn’t right because it wasn’t her fault that her parents left her in charge of taking care of her siblings. This girl is working as hard as she can to support her siblings who she loves very much. The judge was way to hard on her and should rethink about the situation and should have actually let this problem slide. Next time if something else happens like this then the judge should be a lot easier and actually try to understand what the problem is instead of punishing someone.

  18. Bradford says:

    What makes her better than any other person that’s not in the top of the class or whatever.. so just because she is a top of the class, hard working person doesn’t mean she cant get in trouble for missing class_ y’all would probably let her petition her way out of a murder case

    • Jane says:

      Are you kidding? Obviously she missed those classes because she was working/studying/horribly overworked trying to juggle all of her responsibilities. There are always exceptions to laws, and Tran’s story is definitely an exception. Don’t exaggerate so much as to compare missing school to murdering someone. Tran is an exceptional and amazing young woman who has my and many others’ respect and admiration.

      Are you saying that you would sentence your own sister/brother to jail for missing 10 days of school if they were slaving away to gather enough money to feed, bathe, and shelter you?

  19. eyedrd says:

    Instead of learning and understanding her living and family situation, the teachers, the school district, and the judge have failed her, failed to protect her. $75,000 raised and 211,000 online signatures collected. However, another door has opened to her thanks to the generosity of the Americans and the people from other countries.

    Houston defense attorney Ned Barnett on Tuesday called the ruling “outrageous” and said “a little discretion should have been used” in the teenager’s case.

    “It doesn’t take much discretion to have sympathy for Miss Tran,” Barnett said. “To lock her up is just outrageous.”

    Barnett, who is not defending Tran, said the girl likely spent her 24-hour jail sentence at Montgomery County Jail surrounded by suspected murderers, drug addicts and prostitutes. “It’s hard-core,” he said of the jail, noting that past clients whom he has defended described it as “the worst experience of their life.”

    Worldwide outpouring support for Diane Tran against the outrageous sentence by Judge Lanny Moriarty

  20. Dee Van says:

    Wait, what about the girls parents? they should be in jail for non-support. Being responsibly, working and trying to get an education is not illegal yet? The parents are the criminals, they need to support their kids all 3 of them, not the girl!

  21. […] it wildly amusing the Judge's name was Moriarty. He does exist!!!! (insert sherlock smilie here) source and […]

  22. Marcus says:

    Ridiculous. Nice goin’ Texas

    Honour role student and working to suport her brother and sister after her parents abandonded them…yup, clearly she needs a little tough love and a message sent

    Meanwhile, across the state…I wonder how many good ol’ boys have 10+ absenses because they wanted to shoot something, go fishin’ by the creek or just cruise around in their pickup truck

  23. eyedrd says:

    Diane may stun the world again as she may turn down the money donations because she thinks other kids are more needy. The fact that she is considering to turn down this large some of money for someone who works two jobs with low-wages to support her siblings, speaks high volume of her character.

  24. Doug LaGue says:

    This is an outrage , I believe the young lady deserves a metal of honor and the judge deserves suspension for misconduct of his power. In addition the parents should each be paying her child support. I think this young lady deserves justice and it is not served by initiating a criminal record for her difficult role as the responsible one in the family.
    I am disgusted at this verdict of justice.

  25. Lance says:

    Yet again, the courts strike. Does anyone notice how many courts and judges we have? Federal courts, District courts, Appeals courts, State courts, County courts et al. It seems so often that nothing is resolved until it goes through every court! This Judge is a moron. No common sense, no compassion, no realistic vision! She should be released simply based on what she IS accomplishing!

  26. Miles says:

    Judge Lanny Moriarty in the State of Texas should be immediately removed from office and put in jail for abuse of power and child abuse!

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