LAKE COUNTY, Ohio-- A Northeast Ohio judge, who garnered national attention for his “creative sentences," was honored at a very special retirement party Tuesday night.
More than 600 people gathered at LaMalfa in Mentor to celebrate the life and career of Painesville Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti.
“I mean, this is really exciting,” said Judge Cicconetti. “I have friends coming in from all over.”
Judge Cicconetti has sat on the bench in Painesville since 1994, and gained a name for himself by handing down his own unique brand of justice.
Although the judge says it was never about getting attention rather getting results and changing lives.
“I realize people make mistakes and you want to help them out; that’s been my goal for all these years,” said Judge Cicconetti.
At the party, put on by the Lake County Bar Association, there were numerous proclamations from multiple cities and the State of Ohio on tables alongside scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings recounting some of the sentences.
Like the defendant who called police officers pigs and then had to stand in public next to a real pig with an apology sign, or the man who ran from police who had to run in a real footrace.
The sentences included everything from wearing a chicken suit to cutting grass or publishing an apology in the newspaper for having sex on the beach.
One of the most controversial cases involved a woman who abandoned dozens of kittens in the woods who then had to spend the night alone in the woods. But there were officers for her safety and never any ill-intent, says the judge.
“You know, punishment, yes, sometimes you have to do that, but really when you’re in municipal court this is your town, your area; you want to help the people that are here,” said Judge Cicconetti.
And his court does have a very low rate of repeat offenders. Also all of the defendants could have chosen jail time.
Cicconetti. hasn't yet announced when his final day will be; he says he just might have one more creative sentence before he retires.