When Homer makes Bart and Milhouse walk to school, the boys get into trouble and are arrested for stealing Chief Wiggum's squad car. Milhouse gets off but when Bart comes to the bench, Judge Snyder takes a vacation and Judge Constance Harm takes over and lays down the law. She holds Homer responsible for Bart's deeds and sentences him and Bart to be tethered together. The two are against it at first, but after a while, the two begin to bond. Marge finally gets fed up with the punishment, when Bart has stay in the room when she and Homer make love, and cuts the tether. Only now, Bart and his parents get brought back before Judge Harm. Homer and Marge have their heads and hands locked up in old-fashioned wooden stocks. Not being able to bear the punishment any longer, they break free and decide to get back at the judge. When the plan goes awry, they accidentally sink the judge's houseboat and are once again brought into court.
Bart asks Judge Harm to go easy on his parents and accepts responsibility for his own actions. Judge Harm's harsh expressions briefly softens and she admits she appreciates him being responsible for his actions. However, she also realizes that she must still lay down the law. Just before she is ready to bang her gavel and punish Bart to serve five years in juvie, Judge Snyder comes back from his fishing trip just in time to stop her verdict. He declares a verdict of "boys will be boys", dismissing the case and sending an irate Judge Harm on her way when she tried to complain about him being too lenient.
Afterwards, Marge asks the family not to break the law for an entire year, a promise Homer instantly breaks when he unintentionally runs over Hans Moleman, and turns up the radio to keep the family from hearing him whimper in pain.