An ongoing feud between a Long Island man and his neighbor reached a boiling point last month when the latter phoned the police to complain that the former was laughing too loudly.
"I didn't know it was a crime to laugh out a window," said Long Island resident Robert Schiavelli, 42, after receiving two tickets for "disturbing the peace," each of which carries a penalty of $250 or 15 days in jail.
Schiavelli, who lives with his mother due to neurological problems and frequent seizures, says his next-door neighbor Daniel O'Hanian regularly taunts him over his disability, and he uses laughter as a way to fight back.
"What else are you supposed to do when someone calls you a retard?" Schiavelli asked the New York Post rhetorically.
Schiavelli's attorney, Andrew Campanelli, called the whole thing absurd. "My client faces 30 days in jail for laughing," he said. "I will never let him take a plea on this."
O'Hanian wouldn't speak with the Post, but his wife, Virginia, said the tickets prove the police "found there was cause."
The judge who presided over Schiavelli's arraignment yesterday said he was "not so inclined" to throw the charges out. A second court date has yet to be scheduled.
[photo via Shutterstock]