Rush Hour is Cruel & Unusual Punishment

>> Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reading my current book ("The Poverty of Affluence" by Paul L. Wachtel) on my van yesterday, I came across this footnote (on page 37), which falls into the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction category:

I cannot resist adding here an apocryphal tale reported in The New York Times in the context of a story about commuting on the Long Island Expressway. A local judge, it is claimed, once sentenced a chronic traffic offender to two weeks of driving on the expressway during rush hour. The sentence was reversed on appeal--by a panel of judges all of whom themselves commuted on the expressway--on the grounds that it violated the Constitutional stricture on cruel and unusual punishment. Michael Norman, "Misery a Commute on L.I. Expressway," The New York Times, September 2, 1982, p. B1.

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