If you needed more proof that Long Island, New York, doesn't want people to have any fun, look no further than the man who was ticketed for laughing too loud.
Robert Schiavelli was charged twice with "disturbing the peace" after his neighbor complained about him laughing loudly. The neighbor said the laughter, which came from Schiavelli's own home, could be heard across the driveway.
It's true that the law requires people to act respectfully towards neighbors and keep noise down most of the time. But does that really forbid laughter?
What New York's law prohibits is behavior that annoys, disturbs, or is offensive to others. But generally that means unusual disturbances, or loud noise late at night.
The tickets that were issued to Schiavelli came at 6 p.m. on February 12 and 13, reports the New York Post.
Schiavelli says the laughter is a defense against his neighbor, Daniel O'Hanian, who allegedly taunts and ridicules him. Schiavelli has frequent seizures and some neurological impairments.
That information could spell trouble of O'Hanian at the hearing. While police wrote the ticket, it's O'Hanian's testimony about the noise that will serve as evidence.
Often in neighbor disputes, the issue comes down to a "he said/she said" over what happened. That means each party's credibility is key.
Essentially what the parties are asking is for the judge to trust one of them more than the other. Any bad behavior related to the claims could decrease the likelihood the judge will trust that party.
O'Hanian hasn't responded to the allegations that he's been unkind about Schiavelli's disabilities. His wife also refused to discuss that claim.
She did comment, however, that police must have felt the ticket was warranted.
That may be true, but it doesn't make Robert Schiavelli guilty. A local judge wasn't willing to dismiss the charges and Schiavelli isn't planning to back down. That means he and his neighbor will have to deal with this bit of (not so) funny business in court.
- Man ticketed for laughing too loud (The Associated Press)
- Property Rights: My Neighbor is a Nuisance (FindLaw)
- Woman Put Fake Testicles in Backyard, Neighbor Dispute Escalates (FindLaw's Legally Weird)