'Idiot' Sign Only Latest in Court Shamings

Cleveland woman has to humiliate herself publicly

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 13, 2012 7:31 PM CST

(Newser) – A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus was ordered this week to hold a sign at the intersection reading, "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus." It was the latest example of creative, and sometimes controversial, sentences handed out by judges to publicly shame offenders. Some other examples from around the country:

  • Utah: The mother of a 13-year-old Utah girl chopped off her daughter's ponytail in court in order to reduce her community service sentence. The teen had landed in court in May because she and another girl used dollar-store scissors to cut off the hair of a 3-year-old they had befriended at a McDonald's.

  • Houston: Daniel and Eloise Mireles were convicted of stealing more than $265,000 from the crime victims fund in Harris County, Texas. In addition to restitution and jail time, the Houston couple were sentenced in July 2010 to stand in front of the local mall for five hours every weekend for six years with a sign reading, "I am a thief."
  • Pennsylvania: Evelyn Border and her daughter, Tina Griekspoor, 35, were caught stealing a gift card from a child inside a Wal-Mart. In November 2009, the Bedford County district attorney said he would recommend probation instead of jail time because the women stood in front of the courthouse holding signs reading, "I stole from a 9-year-old on her birthday! Don't steal or this could happen to you!"
Click for more examples or for more on the Cleveland case.

In this 2009 file photo, Evelyn Border holding a sign in front of the Bedford County courthouse in Bedford, Pa.
In this 2009 file photo, Evelyn Border holding a sign in front of the Bedford County courthouse in Bedford, Pa.   (Anonymous)
Shena Hardin holds up a sign to serve a highly public sentence Tuesday in Cleveland.
Shena Hardin holds up a sign to serve a highly public sentence Tuesday in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Shena Hardin walks back to her car after holding up a sign  to serve a highly public sentence Tuesday in Cleveland.
Shena Hardin walks back to her car after holding up a sign to serve a highly public sentence Tuesday in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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