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Americans Get Off on Bizarre Punishments

Canada has some pretty chill judges compared to the perverted, public humiliation lovers across the border.

Hannah Murphy

As an American in Canada, I’m overwhelmed by how much less fucked up things are up here, especially after discovering a very entertaining American trend of bizarre punishments being handed down to small-time criminals. Par example, some idiot in Ohio drove on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus, and was sentenced to stand outside the school, just as the morning school buses arrived, for two days while wearing a sign that said: “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.” There are so many cases like this. Evidently, American judges are reviving the medieval principle of shame like they’re living in the extended universe of The Scarlet Letter. There's even a judge who's famous for this brand of "creative justice." He goes by the name of Judge Michael Cicconetti. One of his greatest hits came from the time he sent a housewife into the woods for a night, during the winter, because she neglected a whole bunch of cats.

But anyway, frozen, cat-hating housewives aside, here are a few of my favorite bizarre punishments:

Wear a Chicken Suit for Soliciting Sex
Three men were caught trying to solicit sex from a prostitute in Ohio. Unfortunately, the sweet piece of ass that the trio were trying to score was an undercover cop. Lucky for them, they were given an option other than jail. The judge decreed that their prison sentence would be suspended if the three of them took turns standing outside Painesville, Ohio’s courthouse in a chicken suit with a sign saying “No Chicken Ranch in Painesville” for one hour. Apparently this was a nod to a Nevada brotel called the "World Famous Chicken Ranch." Surprisingly, they had to take turns wearing the fuzzy poultry get-up, because they could only find one person in Ohio with a chicken suit to lend the state.

Party Too Hard, then Listen to Barry Manilow
A group of people in Colorado were rocking out way too hard and, despite the fact that they kept getting complaints about their loud stereos and shitty garage band practice, the rockin’ just kept comin'. Apparently the fines for noise complaints weren’t enough to deter these presumably rich little assholes, so a judge named Paul Sacco created a playlist of the worst songs he could think of. His awful mixtape included some Barry Manilow and the "Barney and Friends" theme song. The violators were forced to blare his mix at high volume, for a full hour.

Forget to Wish Your Girlfriend a "Happy Birthday," and a Judge Will Make You Pay
A man in Broward Country, Florida was found guilty for domestic abuse charges when he did not wish his wife a happy birthday. That ended up starting a fight that concluded with him shoving her and grabbing her neck. Best birthday ever!

At the hearing, the judge asked the wife what she would like out of this whole legal debacle, and her answer amounted to what was basically a date with her own husband. The judge ordered him to give his wife flowers, a birthday card, a romantic Red Lobster dinner, and an evening of bowling. Something about a court ordered date makes it so much more romantic... The lack of legal intervention in my past relationships is probably why they never worked out. Lesson learned.

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Just so you know, this is not even the tip of the iceberg.  While Canada revels in legal sentences where car accident victims are given insurance money to build their own personal grow-ops, Americans are forced to endure the emotional spanking of public humiliation. Sounds like I made the right choice in leaving.

Illustrations by Jessica Wee.