By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Can laughing too loud in your own home make you a bully? Some neighbors in Long Island’s Rockville Centre think so and have called police to the home of 42-year-old Robert Schiavelli about 30 times. Robert, who suffers from a host of neurological problems and seizures, lives at home with his mother and has a distinctive laugh — with a timbre somewhere between the laughs of Woody Woodpecker’s and Curly Howard’s from the Three Stooges. Schiavelli claims the laugh is a defense mechanism against neighbors who routinely taunt him with screams of “retard,” and other epithets tied to his condition. Neighbors respond that Robert makes the annoying laugh at his bathroom window and that the noise can be heard across the street. They also claim it’s a form of bullying.
Robert’s mother, Suzanne, is aghast especially now that Robert is facing a $500.00 fine or 30 days in jail for a two summons issued for “disturbing the piece.” “It’s given Robert nightmares,” she said, adding. “But I will fight this, to the federal court and to the Supreme Court, if necessary.” That looks like a distinct possibility as Judge William Croutier said at Schiavelli’s arraignment Wednesday that he was “not so inclined” to dismiss the charges, according to the New York Post. Attorney Andrew Campanelli said there was no chance he’d allow Schiavelli to plead out the tickets in court. “It’s absurd,” he told the Post. “My client faces 30 days in jail for laughing.”
Do you think Robert’s home-based defense to mocking amounts to bullying? Or do the neighbors have the right to live in an environment free from annoying sounds? Before you answer listen for yourself in this report from The Today Show:
Source: NBC4 New York
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger