Robert Schiavelli, who lives with his mother in a Long Islandapartment, has received two summonses because of noise complaintsfrom his neighbor, who claimed he could hear the man laughing fromacross the driveway.“I didn’t know it was a crime to laugh out a window,”Schiavelli told the New York Post. The 42-year-old man is mentallydisabled and suffers from a number of neurological disorders andseizures. Schiavelli and his mother claim that the neighborfrequently taunted him about his disability, prompting the man tolaugh off the insults as a defense mechanism.“What else are you supposed to do when someone calls you aretard?” the man’s mother told the tabloid.“It’s absurd,” lawyer Andrew Campanelli said. “Myclient faces 30 days in jail for laughing.”Each summons of “disturbing the peace” carries a maximum penaltyof 15 days in jail or a $250 fine – and local Judge WilliamCroutier has said that he is “not so inclined” to dismissthe charges.Susanne Schiavelli, the defendant’s 65-year-old mother, told CBSNew York that her son has “an infectious, cute laugh” that“makes me want to laugh”. She said that next-door neighborDaniel O’Hanian regularly tries to intimidate her son by callinghim “a retard” and other offensive names.Campanelli described his client as a “gentle giant” and said hewould “never let him take a plea deal on this”. The attorneyis filing a motion to have the tickets dismissed on the groundsthat the ordinance regarding the disturbance of peace is“unconstitutionally vague”.But the O’Hanians are pushing to have the man penalized. Theneighbor’s wide defended the summonses, telling 101 WINS thatpolice have conducted an investigation and found legitimate causesto take Schiavelli to court.“The last time I checked, it was not a crime to laugh –except in Rockville Centre,” Schiavelli told the Post,describing the troubles that his neighborhood has given him.While New York residents have occasionally been arrested forlaughing at cops or in quiet zones like public libraries,Schiavelli’s case is unique. If the judge decides that his heartychuckles are indeed a disturbance of peace, he the mentallydisabled man will face hefty fines or jail time. But if the judgerules the ordinance unconstitutional, Schiavelli will have the lastlaugh.
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