Creative Ohio Judge Renders Unusual Criminal Sentences

DSC00507 (2)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

Court Takes Evidence of Parental Alienation Seriously

_DSC4851A Court in Belgium has ordered a 13-year old girl to check into a psychiatric facility so that experts can figure out why the young girl refuses to look at or speak to her father, after her parent’s high-conflict divorce.

Father’s lawyer said that both parents lashed out at each other during their tense separation and divorce, and ultimately, their daughter lived primarily with her mother and maternal grandparents.

But nobody can point to an incident that would cause a child, who otherwise had a loving relationship with her father, to turn against him. Even the mother’s lawyer agreed that he was a normal father, with no evidence of personality issues or sexual abuse.

Respected psychotherapist Lut Celie opined:

“The father and mother parted on bad terms during the divorce battle with each parent trying to blacken the other. This went so far as to affect the child whose character was not fully developed.”

The Court was told that during a four-year period father and daughter had over 100 visits and each and every time, she refused to interact with him.

During the girl’s first communion at church, she became upset that her father was present and made such a public scene, he was forced to leave the church.

Rather than suggesting that mother and grandparents try to persuade their daughter to engage in a normal father/daughter relationship, a judicial direction that is often futile, the judge removed the girl from her mother’s care and control and into treatment.

Mysteriously, the teenager refuses to explain her behaviour. Kudos to the judge for his determination to get to the bottom of her conduct.

Mom, of course, is furious with the judge’s decision, saying:

“My little girl is being taken from the warmth of her home and away from her school where she is happy and has many friends. This is so heartless… It’s just because her father is insisting. She’s 13 years old now and old enough to know her own mind.”

Sure sounds like parental alienation syndrome…and if it is…it’s despicable, but hopefully not too late.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Train Wreck Courtney Love Back in Court To Defend Against Libellous Tweet

GAL & PAL #2jpgAh yes, Courtney Love, a young woman with so much promise. A talented musician and actress with Grammy nominations and a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the movie “The People v. Larry Flynt”, hampered by psychological ills and sporadic drug addiction.

These days media reports focus on her bad behavior, not her artistic endeavors. She is in the spotlight this week as she attends court in California defending a law suit brought against her by her former lawyer, Rhonda Holmes. She retained Ms. Holmes several years ago to assist her in litigation involving the estate of her former husband, Kurt Cobain, of the Seattle band Nirvana. He is better known today for his tragic suicide rather than his musical legacy.

Ms. Love, apparently unhappy with lawyer Holmes, tweeted that the lawyer had been “bought off”, a serious charge against a professional whose livelihood depends upon her reputation.

This is not the first time Ms. Love has spewed ignorant remarks over the internet. In 2009 she settled another law suit brought against her by fashion designer, Dawn Simorangkir. The designer created some couture designs for Ms. Love, and then found herself on the receiving end of allegations that she was a thief and had a criminal record, again, all courtesy of Twitter.

Ms. Love wisely settled the law suit paying Ms. Simorangkir $430,000.

This week’s case is the first time a court in North America will scrutinize communication by Twitter. Witnesses expected to testify include Ms. Love, a few of her employees, and experts in language who are well-versed in the Twitter medium.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang