New York Man Faces Possible Jail Time For Laughing In His Own House
Robert Schiavelli of Rockville Center, N.Y. couldn't have imagined that laughing in your own home would be considered disturbing the peace, even if the window is open.
But that's exactly what happened to the 42 year old Schiavelli back in February. Over the span of two days, February 12th and 13th, his neighbors called to cops to complain that Schiavelli's laughter could be heard across his drive way. Police showed up the second night and wrote him two tickets for disturbing the peace, which they have the right to do if someone is acting "in such a manner as to annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct or be offensive to others."
There's more to this story though. Schiavelli is considered to be disabled because of neurological impairments, and he says that he uses laughter as a defense mechanism because his neighbors mock him. "They kept staring at me. He kept eye-balling me … and mocking me," Schiavelli said.
Each ticket carries a $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail. "The day my client gets convicted for laughing, I'll quit practicing law, and I've been practicing for 20 years," Andrew Campanelli, Schiavelli's lawyer, told ABC News. "The ordinance and prosecution are simply absurd."
At his arraignment Tuesday, a judge declined to dismiss the charges. "Over the next two weeks, I'll be filling a motion to dismiss. I'm not going to allow him to plead guilty for laughing," Campanelli said. "We'll pursue federal court if needed."
For some reason when I read this story this morning it got to me. What are we becoming that a man cannot laugh in his own house without getting a ticket. And even worse, if his neighbors are making fun of this guy because of his disabilities, why isn't anything being done about that? Is this not considered bullying? You would think that adults would have a little more self control than to pick on this guy because he might be a little different and then call the cops when he tries to ignore there ridicule. If you ask me this guy should get a medal or something for not letting his worthless neighbors get him down. And why ticket anyone for laughing? Could you write this cute baby below a ticket for laughing? I didn't think so.