(PAINESVILLE, Ohio) — A judge from an Ohio town named “Painesville” ordered a woman to be “pepper sprayed” in court Thursday by a man she attacked with the tear-inducing substance in order to give the victim a “feeling of vengeance.”
Judge Michael Cicconetti meted out the unusual punishment, captured on video, after giving Diamond Gaston a choice between that and jail time. But unbeknownst to her, the liquid sprayed at her was just saline — the judge’s attempt to scare her straight without harming her.
“It was a family-feud type situation at a Burger King and the victim ended up losing five hours of work that day he got pepper-sprayed,” Cicconetti told ABC News Friday. “I like to give the victims a feeling of vengeance.”
Surveillance footage of the courtroom shows the man aiming for her face and spraying the substance, Cicconetti said.
Half the punishment was just intimidation since Cicconetti said it wasn’t real pepper spray. The judge had his bailiff spray him in the eyes three separate times before court to make sure the saline mixture, which the police department uses for training, didn’t hurt like real pepper spray.
“I don’t want people coming back to my courtroom so I’m not afraid to scare them straight,” he said.
Gaston told Cicconetti she learned her lesson.
This wasn’t Cicconetti’s first time dealing out an unusual sentence. In his 22 years as a judge, he told ABC News his most memorable punishment was forcing a woman to spend the night in the woods after she tried to abandon 35 kittens.
“It’s not necessarily only about an eye for an eye,” he said. “I want everyone in my courtroom, including the victims, to feel like justice was served.”
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