U.S. judge sentences noisy offenders to Barry Manilow

NEW YORK Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:13am EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has hailed as a success a new form of punishment for people who go to court for being too noisy -- an hour of listening to Barry Manilow or the theme tune from the children's TV show "Barney and Friends."

Judge Paul Sacco said he decided to try something new after noticing that violators brought before his Colorado court for playing their stereos too loudly, or disturbing neighbors with band rehearsals, kept doing it again.

The usual practice of fining these offenders was not proving to be a deterrent, so he decided to give them a dose of their own medicine and make them listen to his musical selection at high volume for one hour.

"This is a way, when I look back, of teaching manners to people," Sacco, a judge from Fort Lupton Municipal Court in Colorado, told Reuters Television.

He said his methods had cut the number of repeat offenders appearing in his court.

But offenders who are found to enjoy facing the music will have the songs taken away from them. Sacco says these people must listen to music they don't like, because that's what they impose on others.

Court officials take surveys after each session, and if it turns out that many of the offenders happen to like a particular song, that tune is removed from the playlist.

(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith and Miral Fahmy)

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