Diamond Gaston, a 21-year old woman from Ohio was involved in a family feud. She retaliated by spraying pepper spray at her alleged antagonist at a local Burger King, an event that led to her arrest and sentencing for assault before Painesville Judge Michael Cicconetti.
She was offered a choice: she could spend 30 days in jail or be subject to her own pepper spray punishment, administered by her victim in the courtroom. She chose the latter. A canister of pepper spray was produced and several quick shots of the stinging substance blew into her face.
But the canister contained only water…had she learned her lesson? She had, and Judge Cicconetti resentenced her to three days of community service.
Later the same day, 18-year-old Victoria Bascom, appeared before him. She had taken a $30 cab ride but had failed to pay the fare. Judge Cicconetti presented her with two options: She could go to jail for 60 days or she could walk 30 miles at the county fairgrounds over a two-day period, monitored by a GPS. She opted for the walk and a fine of $100.
Judge Cicconetti is well-known for his creative sentencing. In one case he sentenced a drunk driver to a trip to the morgue to view crash victim’s bodies. For young offenders he often uses community service orders, like the time a teen drummer was ordered to play his drums in a local park as punishment for criminal mischief.
Judge Cicconetti eschews a “law and order” approach, saying:
“I do whatever I think will prevent a person from coming back in the courts again, Yeah it’s a little different. It’s a little unique, but maybe we just need that a little bit in the judicial system.”
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang