Last Thursday, a 28 year old man named Nathen Smith walked into Judge Michael Cicconetti's courtroom in Painesville, Ohio expecting to be sentenced for stealing a donation kettle from the Salvation Army last Christmas.
However, the sentence seemed to shock everyone.
"Now when you're taking money directly from the homeless", said Cicconetti, "then I want you to feel like that individual, like the homeless person and experience that. So you can do 90 days in jail or spend one night on the street followed by 3 days in jail."Smith seemed resigned to his punishment despite the harsh cold temperature outside.
The judge told Smith to empty his pockets and carry only his identification. A global positioning tracking device was clamped on Smith's leg so that he could be located at all times as he wandered the streets of Painesville.
One of Nathen's options for the night is under the Main Street bridge where the homeless in Painesville can often be found sleeping. There are blankets and sleeping bags piled up in the snow near the base of the bridge.Hardly a slap on the wrist, huh? Go here to watch a video from a local Ohio television news program.
Judge Cicconetti told Smith, "I am not going to give you any clues where you're going to find food. I'm not going to give you any clues where you are going to spend the night. That's up to you."