NBC 4 New York
A 42-year-old Long Island man is facing a $500 fine or 30 days in jail for laughing too loudly in his own home. Tracie Strahan has more.
A 42-year-old Long Island man is facing a $500 fine or 30 days in jail for laughing too loud in his own home.
Robert Schiavelli of Rockville Centre received the tickets for "disturbing the peace" on consecutive days in February after police responded to a neighbor's complaints that his laughter could be heard across the street.
Each ticket carries a $250 fine or 15 days in jail.
Schiavelli said loud laughter is his defense against the neighbor, who he claims regularly mocks his physical disabilities.
"He's eyeballing me, he's staring at me, mocking me, calling me a retard," Schiavelli told NBC 4 New York.
Schiavelli suffers from neurological problems and seizures, and lives with his mother, Suzanne Schiavelli. Decades of feuding with their neighbors have led police to visit their home nearly 30 times. But the most recent violation accusing Robert Schiavelli of disturbing the peace has been the most shocking, they said.
"It's given Robert nightmares," said Suzanne Schiavelli. "But I will fight this, to the federal court and to the Supreme Court, if necessary."
Robert Schiavelli said, "He turns it around like I'm the bully here, and he's doing it to me."
However, other neighbors who wanted to remain anonymous accused Robert Schiavelli of being the bully, claiming he taunts elderly residents and children with his laugh.
The Schiavellis' next-door neighbor was not at home and could not be reached for comment, but his wife told the New York Post that the fact police issued the summons indicates they found just cause.
Judge William Croutier said at Schiavelli's arraignment Wednesday that he was "not so inclined" to dismiss the charges, according to the Post.
But Schiavelli's attorney Andrew Campanelli said there was no chance he'd allow Schiavelli to plead out the tickets in court.
"It's absurd," he told the Post. "My client faces 30 days in jail for laughing."