Judge Orders Intoxicated Driving Defendants To Download Uber And Lyft Phone Apps

“I think judges nationwide should order it.”

By Benjamin H. Smith

A hard-nosed Ohio judge known for his oddball criminal sentences is requiring all his impaired driving offenders to download the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing apps as a condition of their probations. “It’s not one of those unusual sentences. There’s nothing crazy about it,” Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti said in an interview with The News-Herald. “It’s just common sense. Now that we have the technology and most people have the ability to do that, why not make it part of their sentence?”

Cicconetti is known for what he calls “creative justice” and his unique sentencing practices have garnered much attention, including an ABC News Nightline profile. He has made animal abusers donate food to animal shelters, illegal gun owners visit a morgue, and made men who were caught soliciting prostitutes dress up in chicken suits, among other ignominious punishments. Cicconetti often gives the defendant a choice between spending time in jail or accepting a sentence of his design, made to make them think about their offense.

His latest campaign aims to take on North East Ohio’s OVI (which stands for Operating a Vehicle Impaired) problem, which has a high recidivism rate. “We get so many repeat offenders, and when people drink of course they lose their common sense,” Cicconetti recently told Fox8 Cleveland. Cicconetti doesn’t care which app people use, and has no monetary stake in either company, but thinks it’s a no brainer for people who find themselves stranded at the bar after a long day or night of drinking. “I think judges nationwide should order it,” he told The News-Herald.


[Photo: WKYC 3 Cleveland]

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