Robert Schiavelli faces hundreds of dollars in fines or possibly even jail time after a neighbor called the police to report that the New York man was laughing too loud in his own home.
Schiavelli, who lives with his mother on Long Island, received two tickets on two consecutive days in February for "disturbing the peace" after a neighbor called police to complain that the 42-year-old's laughter could be heard across the street. Each summons carries a $250 fine or 15 days in jail.
"I didn't know it was a crime to laugh out a window," said Schiavelli, who is considered disabled because he has frequent seizures and suffers from neurological impairments, according to the New York Post
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Schiavelli told police he was laughing in response to taunts from his neighbor, who often makes fun of him for his disability.
"What else are you supposed to do when someone calls you a retard?" asked Schiavelli, who graduated from high school as a special-education student.
Schiavelli and Daniel O'Hanian, his next-door neighbor, have been locked in a feud for years, Schiavelli's mother Suzanne told the Post. On the day the summonses were written, O'Hanian was reportedly outside sneering at Schiavelli.
O'Hanian's wife Virginia defended her husband.
"The police investigated and found there was cause," she told the Post. "I think the police can answer all your questions. I think the police did what they thought was best."
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At Schiavelli's arraignment Tuesday, Judge William Croutier said he "was not so inclined" to dismiss the charges.
"It's absurd," Andrew Campanelli, Schiavelli's lawyer, told the Post. "My client faces 30 days in jail for laughing."
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