The Studio 6 Motel in the San Fernando Valley has long been a hotbed of criminal activity including prostitution, narcotic sales, and gang activity.
Law enforcement and community members have long tried to curb the issues stemming from the motel to no avail. For management, the gangs, prostitutes, and drug dealers were also customers, so there was little incentive to do anything about it since it affects their bottom-line.
However, in a recent twist, management may have no other choice. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office wants a judge to force three members of the motel’s management to live on-site until they’re able to clean things up.
Not only has law enforcement’s previous efforts to clean up the property been stymied, but the criminal activity has actually gotten worse. Now, city attorneys are hoping that if management is forced to face the problem with crime every day, they’ll finally do something about it.
This isn’t the only incident where unusual sentences, court orders, or other obligations are mandated that fit squarely outside the box. Most crimes have minimum and maximum sentences mandated by the state that provide judges with guidelines along which a convicted person’s punishment may fall. However, judges are also given a great deal of leeway and freedom when it comes to sentencing and court orders. While some judges stick to the books, others prefer to get creative.
A Texas metal-plating business owner was ordered to get rid of toxic chemicals from his property but failed to comply. He was later convicted of illegally dumping chromium, after which the presiding judge chose to sentence the man to drink a glass of nasty, toxic sludge. The intent was to make the man think twice before dumping toxic chemicals in places where they can taint wildlife or the water supply.
Judge Michael Cicconetti of Ohio has garnered quite a reputation for unusual sentencing. He’s previously ordered a woman to walk 30 miles after she stiffed a cabby out of his fair for a trip of the same distance. The judge also told a man convicted of drunk driving he could avoid jail time if he instead spent time looking at car crash corpses.
Judges who recommend unusual sentences are rare, and typically reserve the practice for first-time offenders and impressionable young people. Career criminals and those convicted of serious and/or violent crimes typically face traditional sentences. Also, not every sentence handed down by a judge stands up to scrutiny, either. It’s highly unlikely the previously mentioned Texas business owner was forced to drink a cup of toxic chemicals, for example. The judge was likely attempting to make a point with the sentence rather than make the man sick.