Dishing Out Unusual Justice, But it Works!
Ideas of justice and punishment around the world seem to vary from ineffectual slaps on the wrist for the most violent offences in some places, to barbaric and medieval for the most trivial in others. Here in Britain we regard judges as being arrogant and out of touch and “Contempt of Court” is not so much an offence as a ground state.
When so must justice seems to be arbitrary and patently unjust it’s refreshing to come across someone who is leading the was with a rather different approach to making the punishment fit the crime.
Michael Cicconetti is a well-known and popular Municipal Court judge at Lake County Courthouse in Painesville, Ohio, and he has gained quite a following for developing his own style of criminal sentencing. Not for him the formulaic approach of crime x = punishment y which could so easily written into an smartphone app.
Judge Cicconetti likes to think about a case and then apply what he refers to as “creative justice”. Often the defendant is given a choice between time in prison or something a little more memorable and here are just a few of them:
A couple of teenagers who defaced a nativity scene by writing ‘666’ (the number of the beast) on the figure of Jesus, had to walk the town streets along with a donkey and a sign which read “Sorry for the jackass offense”
A man who committed a traffic offence and then compounded it by shouting “Pigs” at police officers was ordered to stand in the street with a live 350lb porker and a sign which read “This is not a Police Officer”
A teenager who tried to get out of paying for a 30 mile taxi ride was sentenced to walk 30 miles within 48 hours as well as a fine and three months probation or face a prison sentence.
A man who stole a collection tin believed to have contained around $250 from the Salvation Army was given the choice between 90 days in prison or spending 24 hours living like the homeless, starting immediately. On choosing to try out life as a homeless person he was stripped of all his possessions, fitted with a GPS tracker to make sure he couldn’t cheat and thrown out onto the streets for a very cold and miserable night. He was also sentenced to three days in prison plus community service.