Judges say public punishment leaves lasting impression

11:51 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The woman sentenced for repeatedly driving on a sidewalk to avoid stopping for a school bus served the first half of a public sentence Tuesday morning.

Shena Hardin must hold a sign reading "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus" for one hour at the corner of E. 38th Street and Superior Avenue, Tuesday and Wednesday.

A Cleveland school bus driver caught Hardin on camera in September, and police arrested her.

She was also forced to pay a $250 fine and her drivers license was suspended.

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey Carr handed out the unique, public punishment to make an impression. 

The judge plans to join Hardin on the corner Wednesday, to make sure Hardin holds the sign up high.

"Can I rehabilitate her? I doubt it. Will she drive on the sidewalk again? Probably not, but she does not appreciate the wrongfulness of her actions," Judge Carr said.

This isn't the first time a municipal judge has handed out an unconventional sentence.

Painesville Municipal Court Judge Mike Cicconetti is known for these types of sentencings.

In his 19th year on the bench, Judge Cicconetti says he has learned that criminals do not always take the sentences seriously.

"I found out early, you have to have judicial supervision with them," Cicconetti said.

He praised Judge Carr's actions, saying it's important that not only Shena Hardin, but other drivers take notice too.

"[Public safety officers] can put up all the posters they want to warn people about stopping for school buses. But are you going to remember a poster, or what Judge Pinkey Carr did to that woman who passed a school bus?" Cicconetti said.


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