6 Creative Criminal Punishments So Stupid They're Brilliant
Look, judges get bored too. Sometimes they get sick of handing out fines, jail time, and probation, and decide to get creative. But oddly enough, their "creative" sentences seem to consist almost entirely of the kind of petty punishments handed out by your sixth-grade English teacher:
A Marijuana Legalization Proponent Forced To Write A 5,000-Word Essay On Why Marijuana Is Bad
Considering how Cold Ashton, England is a place with so much to do that its Wikipedia page consists of exactly three sentences, it's perhaps not surprising that resident Terry Bennett was caught with leaves a bit more potent than those of the tea variety. When he was convicted of possession with intent to supply after being caught with two pounds of cannabis, he was sentenced to 240 hours of community service. That would have been the end of Bennett's story, if not for the fact that a previous snowboarding injury had rendered him incapable of doing the manual labor required to carry out his sentence (and handing out "treatments" to glaucoma victims didn't qualify). That's when judge Julian Lambert ordered him to instead write a 5,000-word essay detailing the horrors of marijuana use.
"It's that, or look at me dressed like this for five seconds while high without laughing."
Some people would simply go along with that middle school punishment, betraying everything they stand for and writing up a critique of pot that they themselves do not believe. Others would go the true middle schooler route and write a defiant essay full of childish insults that would in fact get them thrown in jail. Bennett knew he would have to be more subtle.
After his petition to write a balanced view of the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana was vehemently denied, Bennett scribed an outline that quickly devolves into the most backhanded "downsides" that, technically, are all still true:
The stigma of being associated with cannabis can damage your social standing.
It's illegal and the money generated is not taxable, meaning it costs the Government rather than being a potential source of revenue.
People get ripped off as unscrupulous dealers up their profit by mixing the drugs with sand.
When consumed in certain ways, most notably being smoked with tobacco, cannabis can cause cancer, especially mouth cancers.
"Change font to Comic Sans. Perfect."
Something tells us that Bennett was the type of high schooler who would write an essay titled "Why George Washington Was The Greatest American" and spend half its word count listing out the names of all the slaves he owned. And then get an A.
A Man Is Ordered To Apologize Via 466 Apology Tweets
Back in 2012, Frenchman Fluzin Baptiste took to Twitter to air his dissatisfaction with local politicians Jean-Francois Cope and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet. He did so in as classy a manner as we'd expect from a Frenchman: He called them "son of a bitch" and "big slut," respectively.
We're sure that sounded much classier in French.
"They sacre bleu the entire French Foreign Legion."
Anyway, rather than firing back a "yo mama" joke like any politician/Twitterer worth his or her salt would, Cope and Kosciusko-Morizet instead fired up the French justice system and accused Baptiste of Internet-age defamation. The court agreed, and handed down a sentence that would make Bart Simpson awaken in a cold sweat: In addition to paying a symbolic single Euro in damages (plus 5,000 more in court costs), Baptiste would spend one month sending precisely 466 apology tweets, or else pay 100 Euros for each missed tweet (that's over 110 large in US dollars, should he refuse to fork over the tweets).
Each of these 466 (Not 465 or 467. 466) forced apologies was to read:
I have severely insulted Jean-Francois Cope and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet. I regret and apologize.
The original draft.
That's right, the real victims of this ridiculous punishment are Baptiste's Twitter followers, who would have to get spammed with that shit every day. But don't worry -- a little digging through Google Translate reveals that Baptiste managed to wriggle out of this Internet equivalent of writing sentences on the blackboard ... nearly a year later. Because apparently the cost of a year-long court battle pales in comparison to having to shit up his own Twitter feed with hundreds of copy-pasted apologies. He's got a brand to look out for, damn it!
A Dog Murderer Is Made To Dress Up As A Dog And Visit Elementary Schools
We've mentioned Judge Michael Cicconetti's famously, um, creative sentences before, but for the purposes of this article, we'd like to focus on one in particular: that of Robert M. Clark, a man whom Cicconetti sentenced to become the hero that Painesville, Ohio neither wanted nor deserved.
"I'm like McGruff, only blue! Because of trademarks!"
To get an idea of what makes this sentence insaner than the dead-eyed stare of Safety Pup, we first need to examine Clark's crime. See, one day back in 2006, Clark's neighbors reported that they heard his Great Dane whimpering. When officials arrived at the scene, they discovered that Clark had shot the dog in the head, presumably in a drunken attempt to solve the aforementioned whimpering problem.
So it's safe to say that Clark is what one might describe as "an incorrigible ass canker whom no one would want around their pets, let alone their kids." Judge Cicconetti, of course, saw this and offered to reduce Clark's 180-day sentence to 10 days if he agreed to pay for the dog's veterinary bills and to visit all five of the city's elementary schools in the guise of Safety Pup, as whom he'd teach the children about traffic safety and the dangers of drug abuse, but probably under no circumstances whatsoever mention gun safety.
"Actually, it's frowned upon to bring your gun with you at all."
Looking beyond the obvious "please don't send a dog murderer to our kids' schools" letter-writing campaign that area parents must have kicked off posthaste, making a violent criminal symbolically wear his victim as a skin suit is the kind of shit a goddamned serial killer would dream up. Unless, we suppose, Cicconetti's plan was to personally handed each kid a BB gun to reenact the crime.
A Crooked Landlord Is Forced To Live On Her Own Property A La The Super
While odds are the vast majority of landlords are of the upstanding variety, we tend to only hear about those whose childhoods were presumably marked by dust-covered chore lists and a veritable parade of mummified, never-watered hamsters. Such was the case for Florence Nyemitei of White Plains, New York. In the dead of winter in 1998, one of her tenants, Mary Ann Robinson, came home to her apartment to find it lacking heat and hot water, and all the common areas of the building without electricity. Residents had taken to stringing Christmas lights down the hallways just to avoid slipping in hobo pee while carrying in their groceries.
"Honestly, out of all the bodily fluids, pee is our best-case scenario."
Luckily, Robinson had stocked up on sweatshirts to keep her three small children from turning into kidsicles, but this being only the latest in a long string of refusals from Nyemitei to provide proper upkeep for the building, it was the last straw. Robinson withheld rent and joined the other tenants -- some of whom had "been threatened with eviction and rent increases by what they called goon squads" -- in bringing charges against Nyemitei. The case went before Judge JoAnn Friia, who, openly admitting to having recently watched the Joe Pesci vehicle The Super on cable, decided to rip a page straight out of Hollywood's playbook.
"Be glad it wasn't Home Alone."
As an alternative to 60 days in jail for her repeated offenses, Judge Friia ordered Nyemitei to spend four nights a week for the next 60 days living in one of her own apartments -- a punishment which Nyemitei described as being equivalent to a prison sentence. Regardless, on the brisk morning of January 15, 1998, a lone Nyemitei was seen entering her furnitureless "cell" with a single suitcase and ... that's it. There don't seem to be any updates to the story beyond that. She was purportedly a 71-year-old, one-time stroke sufferer, so hopefully someone, you know, checked in on her at some point.
Embezzlers Are Made To Display An "I Am A Thief" Sign At Houston's Busiest Intersection ... For Six Years
Somehow, in more than 16 years as an administrative assistant at the District Attorney's Office of Harris County, Texas, Eloise Mireles never once read the bit of the employee manual that said "Payments made to the office are, under no uncertain circumstances, to be deposited into your personal bank account, Eloise Mireles."
"That could mean anybody."
Eloise milked her county of more than a quarter-million dollars in payments from convicted criminals to a fund intended to make restitution to the victims of their crimes. Each time a check came in for the fund, Eloise would yoink it and pass it off to her husband Daniel, who would deposit it into their rainy day fund -- "rainy day" in this case meaning "trips, concert tickets, and tickets to Houston Texans and Rockets games."
Of course, that's not the type of operation one can continue indefinitely without getting caught, and when they inevitably were, Eloise broke down in the courtroom, begging Judge Kevin Fine for mercy by playing the "Mom with kids to take care of" card. And it seems to have worked, because Fine, whose sentencing options ranged from probation clear on up to life in prison, decided to go easy. Sort of.
Sorry, Pesci. This judge is more of a fan of Bruce Willis' filmography.
Yep, Fine went the good old-fashioned public shaming route. In addition to having to place a sign in front of their home reading, "The occupants of this residence, Daniel and Eloise Mireles, are convicted thieves," Fine sentenced the opportunistic duo to six full years of spending each and every weekend standing in Houston's busiest intersection with a sign reading "I am a thief. I stole $250,000 from the Harris County Crime Victims Fund." The "honk if you think stealing from crime victims is wrong" was optional.
Five hours a day, every single weekend, for six full years. But hey, it's better than prison -- that is, assuming the Mireleses didn't make any SUV-driving enemies during their 16 years of thieving (who now know precisely where they are for five hours a day, every single weekend).
Teenagers Convicted Of Noise Violations Are Forced To Listen To Barry Manilow On Repeat
Just north of Denver, Colorado lies Fort Lupton, a town where Judge Paul Sacco claims to have found a solution to those whippersnappers with their loud music that your grandpa is forever complaining about. Four times a year, repeat noise offenders are herded into the courthouse to spend an hour being aurally violated by Barney the purple dinosaur or ("There is no God," say the repeat noise offenders of Fort Lupton, Colorado) Barry goddamn Manilow.
Both of which were also used to break prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.
In a video of one of Sacco's rehabilitation sessions, what starts with giggles from the Revolving Reverends -- a Fort Lupton garage band that sounds like what would happen if scientific codes of conduct didn't expressly prohibit splicing the DNA of Slayer, AC/DC, Fred Durst's ballsack, and a rabid badger -- quickly devolves into palpable anguish as the Barney & Friends theme makes way for Manilow to glissade in and make slow, sweet love to the offenders' unwilling ear canals. And to make sure this whole process stays as unenjoyable as humanly possible, should one of the teens show signs of enjoying "Copacabana" (pelvic thrusts being the most telltale sign), the song will be immediately yanked from the playlist and replaced with something more certain to offend.
Sacco claims that his method of "teaching manners" via questionable musical tastes has broken the never-ending cycle of parents repeatedly paying their noisy kids' fines without repercussions and noticeably cut the number of repeat offenders in the city. Cantankerous citizens are no doubt grateful, but no one's more appreciative than Barry Manilow -- the court's purchase of his Greatest Hits albums handily doubled his recent record sales.
"No more Meow Mix for Barry! Tonight, we dine on Fancy Feast!"
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