People living in a wealthy neighborhood near Atlanta, Georgia, complained after a garbage collector picked up their trash too early. As a result, the garbage man was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the crime of coming to work too early which annoyed residents who wanted to sleep in peace.
WSPA reports that Kevin McGill, a garbage collector, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for coming to work too early which disturbed residents trying to sleep. The wealthy neighborhood located in Sandy Springs, an Atlanta suburb, has an ordinance on the books that makes it illegal to collect garbage before 7 a.m. McGill violated the ordinance and was given a stiff penalty, 30 days in jail.
The Daily Mail notes that this was McGill’s first violation and that he did not have an attorney present during sentencing. McGill violated the city ordinance by arriving to work at 5 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. He began picking up the garbage which caused residents, which include top Delta Airlines executives and professional athletes, to become upset. McGill had only worked the garbage route for three months before being sentenced to the jail term.
The Court Chief Prosecutor Bill Riley says he does not feel bad for McGill, or regret seeking such a stiff penalty because early trash pickup causes 911 to “light up” when a garbage collector begins picking up trash too early and that “fines don’t seem to work”.
“Mr. Riley has stood by the request for jail and says that ‘fines don’t seem to work’ and ‘The only thing that seems to stop the activity is actually going to jail.'”
However, this brings up the question of exactly why 911 is being called? Many people have noted that 911 is for serious emergencies and that the callers should be punished for misusing the vital service and potentially tying up operators during a real emergency. Despite the misuse of 911, it seems that Riley feels it is better to prosecute McGill than all of the callers.
Fortunately for McGill, he is not going to miss out on work due to the harsh punishment. After it was pointed out that McGill could not support his family while serving 30 straight days in jail, he was given the opportunity to report to jail every weekend for 14 weeks. Since the sentencing, McGill has secured a lawyer, Kimberly Bandon, who is attempting to withdraw his guilty plea and get the sentenced reduced. Bandon says this is the “most excessive punishment” she has ever seen for an ordinance such trash pickup.
“He’s the employee. He’s not the employer. Sentencing him to jail is doing what? This is the most excessive punishment for an ordinance of this nature I’ve ever seen.”
Bandon also points out that McGill has never spent time in jail or even appeared in court prior to this case.
What do you think about McGill’s sentencing? Is 30 days in jail excessive for early trash collection, or is it needed to ensure ordinances such as these are followed? Does your city have a trash pickup ordinance?
[Image Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]