I Write the Sentence: Judge Sentences Noise Violators to Listen to Barry Manilow

220px-barrymanilowIn what may be the first acoustic Eighth Amendment violation for cruel and unusual punishment, Fort Lupton Municipal Judge Paul Sacco has sentenced noise violators to listen to music that they do not like. I can barely stand hearing I Write the Songs once a year in an elevator. I often claw at the door to get out a floor early. On the serious side, it is the latest in a dangerous trend of novel punishments where judges appear to have sport with citizens pulled before them.

Sacco makes violators sit four times a year to listen to music by Manilow, Barney the Dinosaur, and The Platters’ crooning “Only You.” He told the media, “These people should have to listen to music they don’t like.”

Let’s be honest: these novel punishments are designed primarily to get notoriety for the judges and not to succeed in any meaningful reform for offenders. The media and the public love the stories. The elected judge receives badly needed press — free of charge. This trend, however, is ruining our court system as judges act like little Caesars, toying with citizens to make them do humiliating or humorous acts. For a prior column, click here. For prior stories, click here.

For the full story, click here.

For those who want to feel the pain, here you go:

I’ve been alive forever, and I wrote the very first song
I put the words and the melodies together
I am music and I write the songs

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

My home lies deep within you
And I’ve got my own place in your soul
Now, when I look out through your eyes
I’m young again, even though I’m very old

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girl cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

Oh my music makes you dance
And gives you spirit to take a chance
And I wrote some rock ‘n’ roll so you can move
Music fills your heart
Well, that’s a real fine place to start
It’s from me it’s for you
It’s from you, it’s for me
It’s a worldwide symphony

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girl cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

13 thoughts on “I Write the Sentence: Judge Sentences Noise Violators to Listen to Barry Manilow”

  1. I would have made them listen to “Dueling Banjos” and “Rocky Top” and other bluegrass songs that can be difficult to get out of your head.

  2. BTW, looks like JT has problems ‘Copa-ing’ with Barry Manilow.

    Personally, I have problems with Suzanne Vega’s song “My name is Luca”

    My name is luca
    I live on the second floor
    I live upstairs from you
    Yes i think you’ve seen me before

    (Repeat, monotone, ad nauseum)

    ‘Just don’t ask my why…(3x)’

  3. Speaking of using entertainment as punishment (Punatainment?); anyone remember the judge who sentenced the white supremacists to watch “Schindler’s List” as part of their sentence?

  4. I regularly appear before a judge who used to always have a picture of Mills Lane (famous boxing ref, shitty t.v. judge, famous bald guy) on his bench (along with pictures of his cats). The first time I had to pick a jury with this guy I noticed the picture of Mills Lane was missing. I also noticed that evertime the jury entered after a recess and the trial recommenced the judge was saying “Let’s get it on!”, the imfousmously cheesey tag-line of Mills Lane.

    Apparently the judge, hid the picture, not wanting the jury to know the true depth of his cheese. You can read more about this judge by googling “chicago judge ‘ordered to undergo anger managment'”

    I’ve been in court sevral times when highschool classes were present during field trips. Twice I’ve heard a student ask a judge if he wanted to be a “t.v.judge” ( chicago public school kinda question ). One judge did the right thing and just said no. The other judge got a stupid fucking smile on his face and said he’d have to think about it.

    So I agree with Mike S. in general. However, as one who is hates the noise pollution caused by every douche-bag gang-banger wannabe, I think that this judge, in this case, exhibited a certain amount of genius.

  5. Mike S:

    Indeed, this is like a virus spreading through the court system. Once a few judges yield to the entertainment element, a dozen other judges begin to contemplate the same avenue toward notoriety.

  6. This is the type of story manages to be humorous and disturbing at the same time. I loathe Barry Manilow’s songs and unfortunately have been over exposed to them at various weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s, doctor’s Offices and the ubiquitous elevators. JT’s printing the lyric’s was unfortunately needed for those too young to appreciate the enormity of the penalty being imposed.

    Judges like this do coarsen our court system in their using their positions questing for publicity as the post describes. Yet in truth Professor and the other Attorney’s who comment here, isn’t this also true of many of our prosecutors, law officers and yes even some attorney’s themselves? As historic examples we have Roy Bean, Rudy Guiliani, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to name a few.

    While as a non-lawyer I feel a great appreciation for our legal system, Clarence Darrow and William O. Douglas are heroes to me, I also see too much abuse in it directly stemming from its’ being so inextricably intertwined with our political system. Rudy Giuilani’s prosecutorial grandstanding led to his national prominence, as did Tom Dewey’s. There is political payoff to be had by Judges behaving like this, with the citizenry uninformed by a degraded educational system, applauding/rewarding these abuses of power.

    By the way I apologize in advance for my pomposity, but I lack the wittiness (perhaps youth) to keep up with you all, although I’m smart enough to appreciate how smart and funny you all are.
    Just consider me the old fart in the mix.

  7. Okay! I, for one, acknowledge gratitude and beseech your leniency against further harm to our musical sensibilities.

    I fear that the next aural gem you unleash might include Madam Sarah Palin before an audience of unpardoned, last rights’ Thanksgivin’ turkeys a’sangin’ Sir Bury Minilows rendition of: “

    Feelings, wo-o-o feelings, Wo-o-oooooooo…ad infinitum……

    (Here’s hopin’ that Mr. T is also susceptible to earworms like us ‘common folk’ is, ’cause I’m givin’ myself a headache and earache over “BMs” heartache songs…)

  8. This is a violation of the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment at the very least.

  9. FFELO and Jill:

    Where is the gratitude? I could have posted the lyrics to Copacabana but I decided that there must be some limits.


  10. Jill,

    Yes, but why did *you and I* have to read those lyrics, thus increasing and prolonging our own misery?

    My alibi: I did it for research purposes only.

    Thank you Mr. T. That ‘earworm’ will be hummin’ in my head all day.

  11. There’s only one good thing I can say about these sentences…There’s Got to be a Morning After…

    Did you have to include the lyrics?

    It’s as if all judges wish they could be Judge Judy. Mike, I know you wrote about this on another thread (which I can’t find) but I see this as another example of a distrubing pattern in this society. There is this weird celebrity thing going on. Being “famous”, on TV, the “news”, in Second Life etc. overrides actual lived experience. Fame seems to be the main goal and people are doing whatever it takes to get it. The places where “fame” occurs are primarily in the “unreality zone”. This conjunction of the desire for fame and fame occuring in a type of unreality doesn’t make for well thought out actions in lived experience. I know I didn’t say this well, but it’s the best I can do right now.

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