A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus was ordered this week to hold a sign at the intersection reading, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.” It was the latest example of creative, and sometimes controversial, sentences handed out by judges to publicly shame offenders. Some other examples from around the country:
UTAH: PONYTAIL CUT OFF
The mother of a 13-year-old Utah girl chopped off her daughter’s ponytail in court in order to reduce her community service sentence.
The teen had landed in court in May because she and another girl used dollar-store scissors to cut off the hair of a 3-year-old they had befriended at a McDonald’s.
A judge agreed to reduce the teen’s community service time if her mother chopped off her daughter’s ponytail in court. The mother has since filed a formal complaint, saying the judge in Price intimidated her into the eye-for-an-eye penalty.
HOUSTON: `I AM A THIEF’
Daniel and Eloise Mireles were convicted of stealing more than $265,000 from the crime victims fund in Harris County, Texas.
In addition to restitution and jail time, the Houston couple were sentenced in July 2010 to stand in front of the local mall for five hours every weekend for six years with a sign reading, “I am a thief.”
A sign was also posted outside their house stating they were convicted thieves.
PENNSYLVANIA: `I STOLE FROM A 9-YEAR-OLD’
Western Pennsylvania residents Evelyn Border and her daughter, Tina Griekspoor, 35, were caught stealing a gift card from a child inside a Wal-Mart.
In November 2009, the Bedford County district attorney said he would recommend probation instead of jail time because the women stood in front of the courthouse for 4 1/2 hours holding signs reading, “I stole from a 9-year-old on her birthday! Don’t steal or this could happen to you!”
WISCONSIN: `I WAS STUPID’
A man who crashed his car into the gates at a Wisconsin waste water treatment plant spent eight hours holding a sign saying, “I was stupid.”
Shane McQuillan decided he would rather do that than spend 20 days in jail on a charge of criminal damage to property.
McQuillan had a blood alcohol level of 0.238 percent, nearly three times the legal limit for driving, at the time of the 2008 accident in Eau Claire.
OHIO: `SORRY FOR THE JACKASS OFFENSE’
An Ohio judge ordered a man and woman who vandalized a baby Jesus statue in a church’s outdoor nativity to march through town with a donkey to apologize.
Jessica Lange and Brian Patrick admitted to defacing the statue at St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church on Christmas Eve 2003. They led a donkey provided by a petting zoo through the streets of Fairport Harbor carrying a sign that said, “Sorry for the jackass offense.”
After the 30-minute march, the pair were taken to serve 45-day sentences that included drug and alcohol treatment. They also were ordered to replace the statue.
TEXAS: FROM COURTHOUSE TO DOGHOUSE
Curtis Robin Sr. made a deal with Texas prosecutors to spend 30 consecutive nights in a 2-by-3-foot doghouse after pleading guilty to whipping his stepson with a car antenna.
Robin served the sentence outside his home in Vidor in 2003 so he could avoid jail time and continue working as a foreman for a demolition company.
Police were assigned to randomly check on Robin to ensure he was in the doghouse each night from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Robin was allowed to have a sleeping bag, mosquito netting, plastic tarp or similar protective items.
Associated Press writer Kathy Matheson and AP News Researcher Jennifer Farrar contributed to this report.