It's Getting Harder to Threaten a Judge These Days

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With at least three incidents in the last 20 months, Northeast Ohio is becoming one with its inner child, who just happens to enjoy retaliating against judges. That’s when state Representative Lorraine Fende (D-Willowick) discovered that jurists have less legal protection than cops, firemen, paramedics, and even Hondo the Police Dog. Fende thinks they deserve better. So she introduced a bill that would give anyone threatening a robe an automatic six-month slumber party at a jail near you. Break a judge’s skin, and your fabulous felony getaway starts at three years. It’s all good to Painesville Muni Judge Mike Cicconetti. Last year, he had to evacuate his family after an informant told police a man wanted to plant a pipe bomb at the judge’s house. It seems the would-be assailant was pissed about being fined for not paying sales taxes at his auto-repair shop. Cicconetti says it’s not the regulars judges fear. It’s those who believed in the civics class version of the justice system – divorcees, parents in custody cases, hapless drunks – who suddenly encounter the horror of the real deal, and decide that revenge is in order. “You don’t have to worry about the guys behind bars,” Cicconetti says. -- Jason Nedley

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