Ohio Judge Says His Unorthodox Sentences Have Good Recidivism Record


Michael Cicconetti, a Painesville, Oh., judge known for his unusual sentencing, ordered a woman last week to walk 30 miles because it was the same distance a taxi took her before she skipped out on the fare, reports the Huffington Post. She had the choice to spend 60 days in jail or walk 30 miles in the next 48 hours. She chose to walk. The same day, Cicconetti gave 19-year-old Diamond Gaston an unusual option after Gaston assaulted a man with pepper spray. Gaston could see jail time, or could allow the victim to spray him with pepper spray to see how it felt. Gaston chose pepper spray, not knowing that he’d really be sprayed with a saline solution. The plan was to teach him a lesson.

Cicconetti has been known to hand down eye-for-an-eye sentences to misdemeanor offenders for years. He’s been a polarizing figure over the practice, but he said it works. “I would put my recidivism rate up against anybody’s,” the judge said. “You can send someone to jail and make it the sheriff’s problem; they get out and nobody follows up. With these sentences, they’re on probation, and in most cases, I’ll end up taking it off their record.” He said traditional sentencing, especially for first-time offenders, doesn’t do much to show defendants the impact of their actions. He once ordered a suspect caught speeding in a school zone to be a crossing guard for a shift. He made a man who called cops “pigs” stand on a street corner with a real pig and a sign that states, “This is not a police officer.”

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