In order to set the criminal mentality of some people, a few judges have given some strange sentences. At times, there also has been a situation where the state laws were such that the victims seemed to be punished for not a fault exactly.
A month in jail for collecting rainwater on his own property
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A state law in Oregon gives an exclusive ownership right of the entire water in the Big Butte Creek to the Medford water commission. Although, the state law was established in 1925, Gary Harrington was given a 30-day jail sentence to collect rainwater. According to Gary, his property lies in a zone, which is prone to wildfires and he collected water in three barrels as a preventive measure. He had applied for a permit earlier but was denied.
Five Christmases in jail
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A woman named Betina Young was involved in issuing driving licenses to illegal immigrants. Young pleaded guilty for the crime, she worked for the license agency and took bribe from the illegal immigrants to show that they were legal immigrants in the records.
Judge Michael Holbrook in Ohio ordered Young to be in jail for three days around Christmas for the next five years. Young would remain in probation for the rest of the year and if she did not serve the jail term or violated her probation, she would go to jail for 15 years.
March with a donkey and an apology sign
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Two teenagers from Fairport Harbor were ordered to move around the village with a signboard stating “Sorry for the jackass offense”, amusingly with a donkey by their side. Jessica Lange and Brian Patrick had stolen and defaced the statute of ‘little Jesus’ from the nativity scene. The teens had to reinstate the statue, undergo 45 days in jail and also get counseling for alcohol and drugs. The sentence was pronounced by Judge Michael Cicconetti , known for giving such out of the way sentences.
Scientists jailed for being unable to forecast an Earthquake
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A group of six scientists and an official were sentenced to six years in jail along with a fine of 7.8 Million Euros. So what criminal act had they performed? Well, they were unable to predict the L’Aquila earthquake. In March 2009, some tremors were felt and the Risk Management committee comprising of the six scientists and a government official suggested people to ‘relax with a glass of Wine’. Within a week, an Earthquake measuring more than six on the Richter’s scale rocked L’Aquila. The judgment met with criticism from the scientific community, as there was no sure shot method to predict an Earthquake. While the judgment was welcomed by the families of the victims.
Ordered to listen Classical music for 20 hours
Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott gave Andrew Vactor a chance to get his fine of $150 reduced to $35. The condition was to listen to classical music such as Bach, Beethoven and Chopin for 20 hours. Vator was fined for playing rap music too loudly in his car.
However, he could only listen to the music, not of his choice, for only 15 hours. Andrew Vactor ended up paying the fine, Judge Susan said the idea behind the order was to make him understand what it feels like to listen to music not preferred by him. Just the way people had to listen to his loud rap music, irrespective of their music preference.
Most of the times they see the same people again for a similar offence, said a Judge reputed for giving unusual sentences. This would probably ring a bell in the heads of these repeat offenders.