By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Is public shaming as a punishment for breaking the law legal?

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A Cleveland man was sentenced to carry a sign that said: I am a bully after being convicted of harassing a family with two disabled adult children by spitting on them and calling them names among other indignities. He was (surprisingly enough) jeered while wearing the sign and has said that the judge ruined his life.

Third graders everywhere are chanting: oh you can dish it out but you can’t take it. But does he have to take it? Is it legal to sentence someone to public shaming?

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The answer is generally yes. Public shaming can involve inclusion of the person’s name on a sex offender registry, online publication of mug shots, or more colorful and imaginative punishments.

A California Appeals Court upheld the shaming of a mail thief who had to wear a sandwich board reading “I stole mail. This is my punishment” because it said the punishment was meant to prevent him from doing it again – although the court said it would not be acceptable if shaming was for the purpose of humiliation only.

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We may want to ask ourselves whether we are actually making society better by taunting someone for taunting someone since we know that we are the rubber and he is the glue anyway.