A Cleveland-area judge just gave a defendant a choice: go to jail or get pepper sprayed.
The defendant, Diamond Gaston, stood before the Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti on Thursday, facing charges of assault.
You see, she was suspected of having pepper-sprayed someone in the face at a fast-food restaurant.
The judge determined that she was guilty and said she could spend 30 days in jail or be pepper sprayed herself. She chose to be pepper sprayed.
But when she apparently called the judge’s bluff, Cicconetti admitted he isn’t actually legally allowed to do that.
Why? Apparently it is considered a cruel and unusual punishment, even though police use it on suspects every day. That says something, doesn’t it?
Instead, the judge ordered the use of a saline spray as a substitute, without Gaston knowing.
“He goes, ‘I’d really like to use pepper spray,’ and I said, ‘No, no, we can’t do that!” Cicconetti said in an interview with WEWS-TV.
He said that what mattered was the emotional suffering more than the physical pain.
He said what mattered was that the punishment sting emotionally, if not physically.
Gaston, 20, recalls hearing the news that it wasn’t pepper spray.
“He’s like ‘Oh it’s water,’ and I’m like ‘Oh OK, that’s a relief,’” Gaston said to local WKYC-TV.
Cicconetti said, “I wouldn’t do anything illegal. Will there be maybe some public feedback or whatever? I don’t care. I do whatever I think is right.”
What do you think of Cicconetti’s decision? Was he fair, abusive? Do we need more punishments like this to keep people out of jail?
(Article by M. David)