View Full Version : Woman in Ohio's punishment for abandioning kittens.

28-11-2005, 12:46 AM
OK, so this is not Bunny Rabbits but I think we could do with judges here on animal welfare cases.

Woman Ordered to Spend Night in Woods for Abandoning Kittens.

From ABC News America.

Ohio Judge Has Reputation for Handing Out Unusual Sentences
Judge Michael Cicconetti has a history of creative sentencing.*(ABC NEWS)

Nov. 23, 2005 —*An Ohio woman will spend a night in the woods without water, food or entertainment as part of her punishment for abandoning 35 kittens.

Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti handed down the sentence on Nov. 17 to Michelle M. Murray, 25.
On Sept. 19, park rangers found the kittens abandoned in two parks in Mentor, Ohio.
Many of the kittens had upper respiratory infections and nine later died. They were traced back to Murray because they were wearing identification collars.

"How would you like to be dumped off at a metro park late at night, spend the night listening to the coyotes coming up you, listening to the raccoons around you in the dark night, and sit out there in the cold not knowing where you're going to get your next meal, not knowing when you are going to be rescued," Cicconetti asked the defendant.

Murray, a mother of three children and two stepchildren, said the kittens were left on her doorstep by a stranger and the local Humane Society refused to help. The Humane Society disputes that claim.

Cicconetti gave Murray a choice between 90 days in jail for domestic animal abandonment or 14 days in jail, 15 days under house arrest, a $3,200 donation to the Humane Society a $500 donation to the park rangers who found the kittens and one night alone in the woods.

Murray chose the latter. She will report to the local jail today, where a park ranger will take her to a remote location. She will be picked up again on Thanksgiving morning. Originally, Cicconetti said Murray was to have no food, reading material or entertainment devices and was to have only the clothes she wore — as many as she wanted — to keep her warm. Due to plunging temperatures, however, the judge said he may amend his orders and allow her to make a fire.

History of Crime-Appropriate Sentences
This isn't Cicconetti's first unusual sentence:

He has ordered a man who hollered "pigs" to police officers to stand on a street corner next to a 350-pound pig with a sign that read, "This is not a police officer."

After an 18-year old man stole some porn from an adult bookstore, the judge ordered him to sit outside the shop in a chair, wearing a blindfold, and holding a sign saying "See No Evil" so that passing traffic could see him.

Cicconetti punished a group of high school students who vandalized school buses by making them throw a picnic for a group of grade-school students whose outing was canceled because of the stunt.

A nanny accused of hitting a little boy with a belt was given a folder of articles on the consequences of child abuse, and compelled to read them all, and then discuss them with in the courtroom in front of the judge and the victim's mother, as spectators looked on. Afterwards, the mother agreed to no jail time for the nanny.

Effectiveness of Creative Sentencing

Cicconetti said he can remember just two people who have been sentenced to alternative punishments and reoffended.

One of them was a man who ran from the police and was offered a reduced jail sentence if he agreed to train for a five mile race. The man stayed in shape, and a few months later, he grabbed a woman's purse and ran with it.

Cicconetti said he began offering creative sentencing when he was getting lots of cases of people speeding in school zones. Eventually he got sick of it, and thought why not force these people to confront the danger they are creating?

He offered violators a choice: Have their license suspended for 90 days, or have it suspended for a shorter period and spend one day working as a crossing guard. He said those violators who spent a day shepherding schools kids across the street never appeared in his courtroom for speeding again, even if they previously had multiple offenses.

Cicconetti eventually expanded his creative sentencing to other crimes, but stressed he offers them rarely and never as punishment for a violent offense.

A northeast Ohio woman ordered to spend a night in the woods without food or shelter for her conviction for abandoning 35 kittens was returned to jail after only four hours in the snow and cold.

Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Michael Corbut said deputies removed Michelle Murray, 26, of Painesville, from a park in Concord Township early Thursday on orders from the judge.

It was snowing with temperatures in the 20s when she was returned to the Lake County jail.

"I don't have warm enough clothes and I'm not even allowed to bring a sleeping bag," she said before she began her sentence Wednesday night. "I don't understand how a judge can send me out there to freeze."

Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti, known for handing out unusual punishments, sentenced Murray last week to the night in the park, 14 days in jail, 15 days of house arrest and three years probation.

She also must pay $3,200 in restitution to Lake County Humane Society and $500 to Lake Metroparks. She had faced up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Murray, a mother of five, agreed to the night in the woods because she said she couldn't be away from her children for three months.

The National Weather Service predicted a low of about 25 degrees and 2 to 4 inches of snow accumulation overnight Wednesday in Lake County.

Murray pleaded guilty last month to abandoning domestic animals, a second-degree misdemeanor. She said she did it because she couldn't get help from the Lake County Humane Society.

The kittens were recovered but many had upper respiratory infections and nine died.

Cicconetti said park rangers would take precautions to ensure Murray's safety.

Murray's attorney filed a motion Wednesday to amend her sentence from jail to 30 days probation, but Cicconetti delayed his ruling on the request.

Painesville is about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland.

28-11-2005, 12:53 AM
I think imaking people think and focus on why what they did was wrong and how it effected thir victim/other people sounds like a good idea.


28-11-2005, 01:00 AM
i think she deserved all what she got
and some time out alone in the cold is great to think about the cruel thing she did by abandoning some helpless little kittens in a park

28-11-2005, 01:22 AM
I'd have made her stay out all night..... but then I am a bit evil :lol:

28-11-2005, 01:30 AM
I do agree, I think she did deserve all that she got. But of course, I'm not incharge of those things, because if I were almost everyone would be in jail for animal abuse :roll: :lol:


28-11-2005, 09:08 AM
"I don't have warm enough clothes and I'm not even allowed to bring a sleeping bag," she said before she began her sentence Wednesday night. "I don't understand how a judge can send me out there to freeze."

Does she not realise she did the exact same thing to those poor kittens? :evil:

28-11-2005, 11:11 AM
Only one night?! Damn that's a bit short!!!! :twisted:

The whole weekend would have suited her better with no bl00dy fire!
The kittens couldn't build a fire could they?!

28-11-2005, 02:27 PM
I think imaking people think and focus on why what they did was wrong and how it effected thir victim/other people sounds like a good idea.


Ditto! I think some people don't think about the consequences of their actions and never will - unless they see how it affected their victim!

28-11-2005, 05:54 PM
I think it is a good idea, BUT rather than the whole punishment, it should be part of it, she should have had to do this and also serve her time in jail I think

28-11-2005, 11:23 PM
I agree one night was not long enough and in view of it literally only being hours becasue of weather problems, she should therefore have had to go to prison. And do the night another time or even a week.
She dumped the kittens as she had no one to look after them. Let her go to jail and not know where her kids are or see them and that would make her think far more of what she did to the little baby kitties.
Fend for herself. Find her own food. Build a shelter. Find stuff to help her keep warm. None of the things she did for her kittens.But she would do anything for her kids.
So sadly the kids should also learn that Mummy did a very bad thing and that they cannot see her as she is being punished for what she did. Those kids will then grow up with a more respectful view of animal welfare and right and wrong.

29-11-2005, 10:32 AM
Michele this is a very interesting topic :)
I believe it to be a good idea for people who ill treat their pets to experience some of what they have subjected them to.
Some people seem oblivious to the suffering they cause animals . and talking to them about it may help, but actions speak louder than words, so I support the method used in America. :)

Best wishes

30-11-2005, 10:26 PM
I just wish our prison system here, (being so full and people getting such light sentences or released early to cope with prisoner numbers,) and the judges would take think,gs like this into consideration.

01-12-2005, 04:03 AM
Personally, I think any felan, regardless of the crime, should have to go through exactly what they put the animal, or person through. Serves the lady right to be outside for winter a night.

Inimical Me
02-12-2005, 01:46 PM
The fact she got a choice annoys me. She committed a crime and sunsequently certain freedoms should have been taken away from her. I think the creativing sentencing is fantastic though. Such a great idea!

02-12-2005, 05:34 PM
"I don't have warm enough clothes and I'm not even allowed to bring a sleeping bag," she said before she began her sentence Wednesday night. "I don't understand how a judge can send me out there to freeze."

At least she had a GD fire! Doesn't she have any idea how hypocritical her statement is?!

I'm not a vegan, I own a pair of leather shoes, and I eat meat in moderation. But cruelty to living organizims that feel such horrific pain as those kittens must have... It just isn't excusable.

12-12-2005, 08:00 PM
I hope that now she has an insight into what she did to them, and has learned from this, no matter how trivial we think her end sentence was.