CLEVELAND • A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children stood in the cold Tuesday at an intersection holding a sign warning people about idiots.
A Cleveland Municipal Court judge ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to serve the highly public sentence for one hour Tuesday and Wednesday for the Sept. 11 citation.
Other unique punishments
Below are more examples of creative, and sometimes controversial, sentences handed out by judges to publicly shame offenders.
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 the courtroom. 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.
She arrived bundled up against the 34-degree cold, puffing a cigarette and wearing head phones as passing vehicles honked.
Satellite TV trucks were on hand to stream the event live near downtown Cleveland.
The sign read: "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus."
Hardin refused to comment, as did her mother, who watched from a parked car.
Hardin’s license was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.
Lisa Kelley, whose 9-year-old daughter boards the bus which Hardin had been passing on the sidewalk, said the sentence fit the crime.
"She’s an idiot, just like her sign says," Kelley said as she watched Hardin lean against a fence, her head down and her eyes hidden by dark glasses.
"She did this almost every day last year," Kelley said. "She won’t stop laughing. She’s not remorseful, she laughed at every court appearance. She’s still laughing, so she needs to be humiliated like this."
Kelley said she was only sorry the woman was standing in the cold and not the rain or snow.
A message seeking comment was left for Hardin’s attorneys.
Bill Lipold, 37, who works nearby in the blue-collar neighborhood of older homes and factories, yelled "Why do you hate kids" to Hardin.
He hopes the punishment works. "How else are you going to stop her from doing it again? She really didn’t show remorse for her action after being caught, so you’ve got to try something," he asked.
With two schools located with two blocks of the location and busy commuter traffic, the area can be risky for youngsters walking to class, Lipold said.
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