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Potluck sentence: Tampa judge orders feuding neighbors to break bread



a4s_huey072410.jpgTwo men live at the end of Caron Road in Tampa in homes divided by a narrow fence. They have been at odds for almost 10 years. One man plays his music too loud. The other man calls the police.

This is how it was until January 22, when police caller had a few beers and shouted across the fence to music lover. Then came words and threats and fists. There was a trial and a guilty verdict. And then the sentencing fell to Judge Paul Huey, last week, in Courtroom 19.

Would he send the man to jail? Would he sentence him to probation? Or in the interest of a more cosmic justice would he do something he's never done before? 

Huey sentenced Alli to 50 hours of community service and six months probation. But there was something else.

"I want you all to get together once a month, and you can do it however you want. Once a month, at a different house, you have a get-together . . . and just whatever, have a potluck, just do something. Kids have to go, too.

"You've got to show up. And who knows? Maybe we'll have a little United Nations. Maybe we'll start a better little part of the world in one place. . . .

Alli said the sentence shocked the hell out of him, but he'll go along. He said he is hosting the first of the six potlucks on Aug. 14. His attorney is going to bring brownies. He might play Indian music.

Read full story and listen to Judge Paul Huey talk about the sentence he handed down.

Readers react: In the story's comments, Maxi50 has called the sentence ridiculous. "Potluck dinners and brownies won't make the loud, disruptive, invasive music cease."

"Nice work Judge Huey. It is refreshing to see a creative solution being applied to such a mundane problem. A little understanding can go a long way. With some luck, the police will stop getting distracting calls and this situation will stay out of our courts," wrote Friend of Jesus.

Share your feedback: What do you think of the judge's creative sentencing?

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