Image of pit bull representing dog that suffered animal abuse

Meet the judge who has gone viral for his creative sentencing of crimes. In particular, the below video covers his inventive punishment for a woman convicted of animal abuse.


Judge Michael Cicconetti has a unique way of dispensing justice to the people who show up in his courtroom.

Not only is it unprecedented, it’s very successful in reducing repeat offenses in his Painesville, Ohio jurisdiction.


Judge Cicconetti sees 30-40 cases per day. An example of his alternative sentencing approach was demonstrated with a teenager who took a cab to her destination and didn’t pay the driver.

He gave her the option of 30 days in jail or walking 30 miles. It’s kind of “an eye for an eye” approach, but obviously within the constraints of the law. 

Another example is a man who was convicted of soliciting a prostitute. The man was given the choice between jail time or public humiliation.

The judge’s belief is that these alternative punishments are more effective at deterring future criminal behavior than a typical jail sentence. 

He tries to address each case in a personal fashion. And his statistics indicate he might be on to something.

His Painseville Municipal Court has a metric of 10% repeat offenses. The national average of repeat offenses is 75%. That’s a pretty big difference.

Judge Cicconetti’s belief is that part of the roadblock our country encounters with prison reform is the fact that municipal courts automatically default to jail time as a sentence.

Most people don’t start out committing felonies. And it’s his goal to stop people from going further down that criminal path at the beginning stages of criminal activity by holding them accountable with their peers and within their community.


This brings us to the woman who was convicted of animal abuse. She left her dog trapped in a filthy house for a week. It hit close to home for the judge, who is a dog lover. 

She pled guilty to animal neglect and animal cruelty. The judge offered the woman the option of getting a taste of how her dog felt (abandoned, scared, and sick) and living like her dog had to live, or going to jail for 90 days.

Her alternative punishment was for her to go to the county dump. His direction to the landfill staff was to find the stinkiest and dirtiest place there, and have her work there for 8 hours. 

She agreed to go to the county dump. The landfill put her to work picking up garbage.

The best news is that her dog healed well, recovered quickly and was put up for adoption. 

Watch the video below for the dirty details.

Video courtesy of ABC News via YouTube

If you enjoyed this article on a judge’s creative sentencing for animal abuse, check out Pit Bull Gives Birth Moments After Being Rescued.



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