10 Unusual Punishments Handed Down By Judges

What judge made a man wear a chicken suit in public as his sentence? Who was court-ordered to avoid having a girlfriend for 3 years? These are 10 of the most bizarre punishments ever thought up by judges.


10 Walking

Walking Punishment

An Ohio judge by the name of Michael Cicconetti has gotten some attention for giving people in his courtroom unusual sentences. When he had a teenage girl in court that had stiffed her cabbie on a 30-mile ride, he gave her a choice. She could do 30 days in jail, or walk 30 miles the same distance as the cab ride. And it wasn’t like community service, where it was just a little bit every week. No, she had to complete her 30 mile walk in 48 hours or less. She also got four months of probation and a $100 fine the amount she owed the cab driver.


9 Riding a Bike

Riding a Bike Punishment

Judge Cicconetti strikes again, this time for a bike theft. Again, he could have sentenced the thief to jail for theft after he plead guilty, but instead he offered a community service punishment. In this case, the thief was to ride a bike. Specifically, he got 10 days of community service, which included riding a bike through various communities promoting a local charity.


8 Listening to Barry Manilow

Listening to Barry Manilow Punishment

A Colorado judge also believes in making the punishment fit the crime. So he has a certain way of punishing noise polluters. If someone is found guilty of blaring their music too loud from their house or car, the judge simply forces them to listen to blaring music that they hate presumably the same thing they’re forcing others to do. Since the offenders in question are usually playing rock or hip hop, the judge has an hour long playlist of Barry Manilow, classical music and Barney the Dinosaur’s theme music. After the punishment, he surveys the offenders on which songs they liked. If too many people like a particular song, he takes it off the playlist.


7 Holding a Literal Idiot Sign

Holding a Literal Idiot Sign Punishment

Sheila Hardin got impatient waiting for a school bus to pick up a disabled child. So she drove around it. On the sidewalk. The judge in her case forced her to hold up a sign that said, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.” She was also fined 250 dollars and had her license suspended for 30 days.


6 No Girlfriend

No Girlfriend Punishment

Steven Cranley has a dependent personality disorder that makes it very difficult for him to process rejection. So when his girlfriend tried to break up with him, it promptly turned into an assault case. The Ontario, Canada judge barred him from entering into an intimate relationship for three years after the fact, as a sort of “relationship probation,” until he could get his mental issues under control through counseling. Mid way through his sentence, Cranley was again found guilty of assault and unlawful confinement of a woman. This time, he was sentenced to 21 months in prison followed by another three years without a girlfriend.


5 Picking up Trash at a Dump

Picking up Trash at a Dump Punishment

We’re not done with Judge Cicconetti yet. This time, he had to come up with a punishment for abandoning her 7 year old dog for a week in her house that was covered in several layers of trash. Judge Cicconetti decided the best way to handle that was to make her spend time picking up trash at the city dump. Part of the court order was that she absolutely had to remain in the “smelliest part” of the dump.


4 Tweeting a Lot of Apologies

Tweeting-a-Lot-of-Apologies Punishment

Dealing with a defamation case usually involves some sort of monetary penalty. In this case, a French politician just wanted an apology. Actually, he wanted 466 apologies, sent out on the offender’s Twitter account, over the course of 30 days. And they were counting, too. By the end of that 30 days, the man was to be fine 100 Euros for every apology tweet not sent. That’s more than 46,000 euros if he didn’t comply at all.


3 Public Embarrassment

Public Embarrassment Punishment

Daniel Mireles stole 250,000 dollars from the Harris County Crime Victims Fund. So not only was he forced to pay that money back, he was also forced to hold up a sign that said exactly that. The sign labelled him as a thief, but perhaps more importantly, it had his name on it. A similarly embarrassing sign was placed in front of his house. Mireles was forced to carry that sign in public for five hours every weekend, over the course of six years.


2 Living in His Own Building

Living in His Own Building

A Cleveland slumlord was found guilty of, basically, being a slumlord. Most of his buildings had severe code violations making them borderline uninhabitable. So a judge decided to give him a taste of his own medicine, putting him under six months of house arrest in one of his own properties. It’s a page right out of that old Joe Pesci movie. That wasn’t all, though. While he was there, the court collected all of the rent payments collected on each of his properties, and put them all toward building improvements to make them a bit more livable. He was also prohibited from renting or selling properties to any more future tenants without court approval.


1 Wearing a Chicken Suit

Wearing a Chicken Suit Punishment

One more visit to Judge Cicconetti yet. This time, he was sentencing three men found guilty of soliciting sex from a prostitute. For them, the punishment was dressing up in giant chicken costumes carrying signs that said “No Chicken Ranch in Painesville,” a reference to the legal brothel in Nevada. Judge Cicconetti’s punishments are weird, but it’s worth noting that his cases only see a 10% rate of repeat offenders. That’s compared to a national average of 75%. So something he’s doing is working.

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