Nothing wrong with a little shame and humiliation

Edmond Aviv sits on a street corner holding a sign Sunday, April 13, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio declaring he’s a bully, a requirement of his sentence because he was accused of harassing a neighbor and her disabled children for the past 15 years. Municipal Court Judge Gayle Williams-Byers ordered Aviv, 62, to display the sign for five hours Sunday. It says: “I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in.” (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Edmond Aviv doesn’t look so tough now.

Why don’t more judges do what Gayle Williams-Byers did in Euclid Ohio yesterday: force people to endure the shame of their actions?

Aviv has feuded with his neighbor Sandra Prugh for the past 15 years, according to the Associated Press.

The most recent case stemmed from Aviv being annoyed at the smell coming from Prugh’s dryer vent when she did laundry, according to court records. In retaliation, Aviv hooked up kerosene to a fan, which blew the smell onto Pugh’s property, the records said.

Prugh has two adult adopted children with developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy and epilepsy; a husband with dementia, and a paralyzed son.

Prugh said in a letter to the court that Aviv had called her an ethnic slur while she was holding her adopted black children, spit on her several times, regularly threw dog feces on her son’s car windshield, and once smeared feces on a wheelchair ramp.

Class act, Mr. Aviv.

Ohio judges seem to have the right idea.

Two years ago, a judge in Cleveland ordered a similar sentence for a woman who drove onto a sidewalk to avoid stopping for a school bus.

She had to hold a sign saying she was an idiot.

A man who stole characters from a nativity scene had to walk the street pulling a donkey.

All the judges seem to be taking their cue from Painesville, Ohio Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti, who has become famous for his sentences.

It is too easy to put people in jail,” Cicconetti told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2012. They go to jail and . . . it does not deter the crime.”

You don’t usually hear about those shamed committing another offense.

  • jon

    Shame is a powerful motivator, though it does not always motivate positive behavior.

    • bri-bri

      Though it’s satisfying to see a jerk/bully get any sort of comeuppance, are these public humiliations a more effective deterrent than jail time or another punishment? (Not that any punishment I’m aware of has ever been proven to be an effective deterrent.) Seems to me this might further stoke an already hateful fire, leading to something that actually warrants jail time.

  • Susan WB

    As long as it motivates people to refrain from negative behavior, I’m in favor.

  • Joe

    Shaming people is HIS disability and I don’t think we shouldn’t make fun of him, same principle as being against the death penalty