If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. It’s a simple rule, but one that many budding criminals seem to forget. Often, it seems like jail just isn’t enough of a deterrent. Luckily, creative judges across the world keep coming up with strange, crazy, and very effective ways to punish offenders. So before you consider a career in law-breaking, try these punishments on for size first.
1. A Chicken Suit
Ever been embarrassed about those guys advertising in a sweaty animal suit? Spare a thought for three Painesville, Ohio residents who were caught trying to solicit a prostitute and were then forced to walk around in a chicken suit. They also carried around a sign which said “No Chicken Ranch in Painesville”, The Chicken ranch being a brothel in Nevada. Slightly suspicious that the judge knew what The Chicken Ranch was at all.
2. 20 Hours Of Classical Music
Busted for terrorizing (or entertaining) locals with super loud rap music, Andrew Vactor was given the chance by the judge to reduce his fine. How? By listening to classical music for 20 hours. He tried, and managed a whole 15 minutes before breaking down. Let’s be honest, it’s probably more than most of us could handle.
3. Leading A Donkey
It seems like the judge was a little bit bored when he considered the case of Brian Patrick and Jessica Lange, who had vandalized a Christmas nativity scene in their hometown. He ordered them to pull a donkey through the town and a “Sorry for the jackass offense” sign. Witty, but weird.
4. A Mandatory Vasectomy
Jessie Herald had seven children with six different women and a string of petty offenses when the judge finally decided enough was enough and ordered him to have a vasectomy. Which seems a little harsh, until you consider what kind of criminal family dynasty he could build if he kept on sowing his seeds.
5. Organizing A Picnic
After a bunch of high-schoolers roughed up an elementary school bus, the kids couldn’t go on their field trip anymore. Their punishment was simple: organize a substitute picnic for the children. No word on whether the high-schoolers regretted the act, or just became event planners.
6. Abandonment In The Woods
There’s almost nothing more monstrous than dumping newborn animals, as Michelle Murray found out after she left 35 kittens in a local park. Tragically, nine of the kittens died, but the prosecuting judge had a clever idea to punish her. He ordered Murray to spend a night in the park, cold and alone, so she would know what the kittens would have felt like.
7. Run-Down House Arrest
Dodgy developers across the world, be warned. Nicholas Dionisopoulos tried to get away with violations of several building codes with his properties, but it totally bit him on the ass. He was put under house arrest for half a year, and guess where he had to stay put? That’s right, in one of his own shonky creations.
8. Standing In A Kiddie Pool
Police and park rangers went on a county-wide manhunt when a couple caught with an unregistered raft claimed that it wasn’t theirs, and that the owners were missing. Of course, the owners of the raft turned out to be the couple themselves, trying to avoid punishment for going on a trip without correct safety equipment. Just made the punishment worse: they were ordered to stand in a wading pool and hand out pamphlets on water safety to the public.
9. An Embarrassing Yard Sign
In a perfect world, all criminals would have a sign in front of their house – at least you’d know what kind of neighborhood you’re moving into. That’s what happened to The Mireles, who stole a quarter of a million dollars. The judge forced them to put up a permanent yard sign, saying “The occupants of this residence, Daniel and Eloise Mireles, are convicted thieves.” Though you’ve got to feel sorry for any real estate agents trying to sell in the area.
Biblical justice is rarely seen around these parts anymore, but the judge in this case is certainly trying to bring it back. He forced Jeremy Sherwood to put on a blindfold and hold up a sign saying “See no evil”, after he robbed an adult video store. We’ll admit we don’t quite see the connection, but it certainly sounds dramatic.
11. Holding Up A Street Corner Sign
We’d all love to punish the stupid drivers in our day-to-day commutes, and it seems like Judge Carr finally had had enough when Shena Hardin tried to drive around a bus by going up on the sidewalk. For her lunacy, she got a sign which said “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus”, and was forced to stand at the corner holding it.
12. Free Pizza
In a case of highly customized punishment that just about tops the lot, a Buffalo pizza store owner convicted of tax cheating was forced to donate 624 pizzas – 12 a week for a year – to a local homeless mission. We wonder if the judge got a slice of the action.
13. 780 Postcards
That’s one postcard every week for 15 years, the punishment given to Andrew Gaudioso, a drunk driver who killed a young boy. He was ordered to send them to the boy’s parents so he wouldn’t forget what he had done. Although we’re not sure pictures of tropical islands would make bereaved parents feel any better.
14. Pepper Spray In The Face
Anybody know what being pepper sprayed feels like? Diamond Gaston’s victim certainly did, but at least they had the chance for revenge when the judge offered Diamond the choice between a month in jail or getting a taste of her own medicine. Diamond went for the spray, although it seems like the judge thought the threat was enough, and put water in the spray bottle instead.
15. Standing With A Pig
What’s with judges and animals? And what’s with the residents of Painesville? Here’s another weird punishment: a man from Painesville, Ohio, was forced to stand with a pig on the corner of a street, with a sign saying “This is not a police officer”. You can pretty much guess what he had done.
16. A Shaved Head
Doesn’t sound like much of a punishment, until you consider the offender was a teenage girl and that a bad haircut is almost social suicide. Kaytlen Lopan (isn’t that name punishment enough?) had bullied a 3-year-old at McDonalds by cutting off parts of her hair, so the judge reciprocated. Right there in the courtroom. Not sure if she had to sit through the salon chit-chat as well, or if that would be considered too cruel.
17. 24 Hours On The Streets
Stealing from the Salvation Army is pretty low at the best of times, and Nathan Smith pilfered an entire tin full of donated money. Luckily the judge knew just how to handle it: he was forced to spend a full 24 hours homeless. We hope it was winter.
18. Flowers, Birthday card, Red Lobster, Bowling
This simple sentence was doled out to a dirtbag who threatened his wife in an argument over (of all things) her birthday. At a loss for what to do to the man (we suppose castration’s a bit harsh), the judge asked the wife what she wanted out of the arrangement. Sounds like the judge needed some tips for his own love life.
19. Young Traffic School
Going to traffic school’s pretty common for teens and tweens, but this unlucky six-year-old has got to be one of the youngest to have to go. He got sent there by the judge for refusing to put on his seatbelt, which also earned his (no doubt frustrated) mother a ticket. Good to see the blame is being placed where it lies.
20. The Longest Walk
There’s the old cliché of walking a mile in their shoes, and then there’s this – walking 30 miles in your own. A judge ordered Victoria Bascom to walk the entire length of her cab ride (which was more than a marathon) after she was caught failing to pay the driver. Now that would give you some real empathy.
21. Living With Your Film Director
Celebrated director Richard Linklater made a film a couple of years back called Bernie, a fictionalized account of real-life funeral director Bernie Tiede, a normally sweet man who murdered an old lady. He must have had quite the effect on Linklater, who championed Bernie’s release from a life sentence when it was revealed Bernie had suffered from child abuse. He got released, but with one catch – he had to go and stay with Linklater. Apparently it turned out to be quite a happy arrangement.
22. Just Bread And water
After being found guilty of mistreating and neglecting her horses, Melissa Sweeney copped a fairly light (in our eyes, anyway) sentence of only 30 days in jail. The best part of it, though, was that for the first three days she was only allowed bread and water, like the horses she abused. All those in favor of the punishment, say “neigh”.
23. A Get Out Of Jail Free Card
If you never want to go to jail, there’s a simple solution: just be too tall for it. Although Jude Metcalf was convicted for a bunch of minor crimes, he was also 7 feet tall. After a short stint in the slammer the judge felt sorry for his cramped condition and ordered him to serve a six-month curfew at home, instead. The prison basketball team were very disappointed.
24. Seeing Dead People
When Jonathan Tarase almost caused a fatal car crash, the judge had an idea to make him learn his lesson forever. Tarase was ordered to visit a morgue, where he saw, up close, the bodies of several car crash victims. If that was us, we’d probably take up cycling.
25. A Job
Frivolous lawsuits are a cornerstone of the US judicial system, but a lot of people might reconsider if they went the way of this case in Spain. A 25-year-old took his own parents to court for refusing him an allowance, which backfired spectacularly. The judge not only threw out the case, but ordered the guy to go and get a job.