From ordering a woman to walk 30 miles for stiffing a cabbie to asking a reckless driver to ride a school-bus for endangering students, this Ohio judge has doled out some strange sentences that question the justice system. However, Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti has some sound reasoning for making his petty criminals suffer in unusual ways.
Judge Cicconetti might have shot to fame for making a woman walk 30 miles for trying to avoid paying for a taxi ride, but he has many more such unusual penalties. In the past he has ordered a defendant, who was brought before court for disturbing local peace, to sit in an eerily silent forest. The Judge says such alternate punishments for relatively low-level crimes can deter repeat offenders.
The Judge shared his passion for coming up with punishments that are completely off-the-books, but still well within the purview of the law, with RT. He revealed it all began when a “well-heeled” woman was presented in front of his court for driving past a school-bus, despite the vehicle having activated its flashing lights which indicate a child is either getting in or getting down from it. As there were no casualties, apart from a few startled children and their parents, the Judge knew a small monetary fine would allow the woman to walk away without learning anything,
“A fine was likely not going to teach the defendant a lesson.”
So he came up a with a novel sentence: The woman could either have her driving license suspended for 90 days or she would have to ride a shift on a school bus with children so she could “see the potential danger of her actions.”
Interestingly, his unorthodox punishment worked, said Judge Cicconetti. When the woman turned up to submit her report, she was a changed person, he said
“I had her come back to me a report after and she said, ‘You know what judge, that was a valuable lesson. I didn’t realize the dangers of that.’ “
This emboldened the judge, who started coming up with innovative and never-heard-before punishments for people who had some minor infractions with the law. However, the judge ensures he isn’t forcing the unusual punishments.
“I always give the defendant a choice. It’s either jail time or you do the suggested sentence that I gave you. And every one of them, on their own, has chosen to do the alternative sentence.”
The Judge says his primary aim is to teach them a lesson. He is particular in doling out such punishments only for first-time offenders and if he strongly believes the punishments will have a constructive impact.
Asking petty offenders to fork over cash or mandating community service may not have the desired impact. The punishment should not only improve the citizen, but deter him or her from committing a crime ever again, feels Judge Cicconetti.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]