Noisemakers punished with Manilow, 'Barney'

Colorado judge hails forced listening as success

NEW YORK -- A Colorado 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 & Friends."

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

The usual practice of fining such offenders was not proving 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 an hour.

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

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

But offenders found to enjoy facing the music have those songs taken away from them. Sacco said 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 many offenders happen to like a particular song, it is removed from the playlist.