A Massachusetts appeals court judge has upheld the decision to dole out an unusual punishment to a 12-year-old: He ordered the boy to get a job, the Boston Globe reports.
When he was 11, the boy had caused damage to a neighbor's house by spray-painting it. After a year went by without the boy paying any part of the $1,000 he owed, a judge decided to teach the boy a lesson by requiring him to start working.
In the court's decision, the lead author argued that despite the boy's age, he could easily earn money by picking up a paper route, shoveling snow or babysitting, among other things. The boy's attorney countered to the Boston Globe that children don't deliver newspapers anymore, but District Attorney David E. Sullivan defended the ruling, arguing the punishment would teach the boy about responsibility.
The order to get a job may sound unusual, but several judges have been known to think outside the box when it comes to punishments.
In Utah, a judge offered to reduce the sentence of a 13-year-old girl if she were to agree to have her ponytail cut off in court, according to the Los Angeles Times. The decision had an eye-for-an-eye element to it, since the girl's offense involved taking a pair of scissors to a 3-year-old child's hair at a McDonalds and taking turns cutting it with a friend.
Adults, too, have been forced into paying for their crimes through some truly bizarre sentences. In February of last year, a judge ordered a man who was accused of what was described as a minor incident of domestic abuse to buy his wife flowers and take her on a date to Red Lobster, the Sun Sentinel reported at the time. He was also ordered to attend marriage counseling.