Michael A. Cicconetti is a small-town Ohio judge who has made national headlines over the years for his unique but effective sentences. Cicconetti, who’s approaching 70, is a sharp Italian with a quick wit who dispenses what he calls creative justice. The judge often leaves the choice to the offender, who is faced with spending time in jail or undergoing one of Cicconetti’s punishments. In all cases the judge attempts to place a link between the offense and the punishment.
In exchange for a reduced prison sentence, he famously offered 26-year-old Ohio housewife Michelle Murray the option of spending a cold night in the woods after she abandoned three dozen kittens in a forest during the winter. “You don’t do that. You don’t leave these poor little animals out and, yes, I wanted to set an example for her future conduct or anybody else who was contemplating doing such a thing,” he said, with the kind of scowl that only a judge can put forth.
Here are a few more of Cicconetti’s creative punishments:
Cody Scott cut “FU” into the field with a lawn mower at Fairport Harding High School in June so Judge Michael Cicconetti is making him cut the entire field with this old-fashioned mower today as his punishment. https://t.co/8PXEy0pkbg pic.twitter.com/WWZBZWjpqv
— Sia Nyorkor (@TVNewsLady) September 19, 2018
Painesville judge forces busted graffiti artist to use toothbrush for painting punishment https://t.co/1dEZ3ijph1
— C. Collier-Williams (@Judgeccw) July 20, 2019
That time Ohio Judge Michael Cicconetti sentenced a woman to walk 30 miles in 48 hours after she skipped out on a cab fare. https://t.co/Ng9rdFYuTv
— Italian Sons and Daughters of America (@OrderISDA) July 20, 2019
Painesville Judge Michael Cicconetti has non violent offenders plant a community garden rather than going to jail. pic.twitter.com/Cqohwgx7pY
— Paul Orlousky (@PaulOrlousky) May 27, 2015
More creative sentencing from Lake County Judge Michael Cicconetti. Bayley Toth has to shovel animal poop from the fairgrounds stalls as part of his criminal mischief sentence. @WEWS pic.twitter.com/0iGEmlIjms
— Dave Hatala (@davehatala) July 30, 2018
He has sat on the bench since January 1994, and he won the presidency of the American Judges Association. He attributes his unusual approach to his background. He was the oldest of nine siblings who had to work on ore boats to pay his way through college.
Cicconetti plans to retire at the end of 2019—truly, the end of an era.
Here’s to you, Judge!