Judge makes U.S. woman carry sign calling herself an 'idiot'
The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2012 9:33PM EST
CLEVELAND -- A Cleveland woman puffed on a cigarette, wore headphones, and ignored passers-by and crowds of reporters as she stood for an hour Tuesday under a judge's order holding a sign that said, "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus."
A Municipal Court judge had ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to serve the highly public sentence Tuesday and Wednesday for the Sept. 11 citation after she was caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children.
She arrived bundled up against the 34-degree Fahrenheit (1-degree Celsius) cold at the intersection near downtown Cleveland as passing vehicles honked. Satellite TV trucks streamed the event live.
Hardin refused to comment, as did her mother, who watched from a parked car. A message seeking comment was left for Hardin's attorneys.
Hardin's license was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.
Lisa Kelley, whose 9-year-old daughter boards the bus that Hardin had been passing on the sidewalk, said the sentence fit the crime.
"She's an idiot, just like her sign says," Kelley said as she watched Hardin lean against a fence, her head down and her eyes hidden by dark glasses.
"She did this almost every day last year," Kelley said. "She won't stop laughing. She's not remorseful, she laughed at every court appearance. She's still laughing, so she needs to be humiliated like this."
Kelley said she was only sorry the woman was standing in the cold and not the rain or snow.
Bill Lipold, 37, who works nearby in the blue-collar neighbourhood of older homes and factories, yelled to Hardin: "Why do you hate kids?" He hopes the punishment works.
"How else are you going to stop her from doing it again?" he said. "She really didn't show remorse for her action after being caught, so you've got to try something."
With two schools located within two blocks of the location and busy commuter traffic, the area can be risky for youngsters walking to class, Lipold said.