Friday, March 26, 2004

Creative Sentencing

Writers are supposed to be creative in their use of sentences. But "creative
sentencing" has nothing to do with fiction. Rather, with the US legal
system. Or, well, now that I give it a second thought, if it is about the
American legal system, then it has a lot to do about fiction, doesn't it?
Taste for yourself a few examples of how they're trying to crack down crime
and misdemeanours:

1) A woman killed a guy while driving drunk. The sentence? She was required
to carry with her a picture of his corpse in the coffin at all times for the
following five years.
2) A man walked in an off-license and stole some cans of beer. The sentence?
To wear a T-shirt proclaiming he had committed the crime.
3) A woman had heavily beaten two of her four daughters with a belt. The
sentence? To get a contraceptive device implanted... "in order to protect
her unconceived children" (It's damn true)
4) A young guy vandalised a wall with graffiti. The sentence? To keep guard
of that same wall for six months. If anyone painted anything, he would have
to clean it.
5) A chap in Ohio was driving through the heart of the city centre with the
windows down and the speakers about to explode. The sentence? Believe it or
not, to listen to polkas turned up at max volume for four hours.
6) A man in his forties, father of a teenage girl, was found guilty of
disorderly conduct, including branding police officers as "pigs". The
sentence? To stand for two hours in a busy street in the city centre, next
to a 350-pound pig, especially brought as part of the ruling, with a sign
reading "This is not a police officer."
Now, how many novels and short stories can match this level of creativity?

Jose

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