Ohio Woman Who Threw Chipotle Order Can Serve Reduced Sentence by Getting Fast Food Job in Latest Creative Sentencing

In September 2023, Rosemary Hayne was filmed throwing a burrito bowl at Chipotle employee and store manager Emily Russell at a Chipotle in Ohio. According to Ms. Russell and witnesses, Hayne complained about her food so Russell made her order twice to try and correct the situation. Hayne became upset and threw the food at Russell’s face. Customers yelled at Hayne to leave while Russell stood there covered in food.

Police arrived at the store and customers reported what occurred. Russell declined medical assistance though she was clearly shaken. One witness had taken down Hayne’s license plate and police followed it to Hayne’s residence. Hayne admitted that she had thrown food at the cashier and police arrested her. On November 28, 2023, Haynes pled guilty to assaulting Russell. Judge Timothy Gilligan sentenced the 39 year old to 6 months in prison with three months suspended. Hayne was also sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to have no contact with Ms. Russell. Russell stated in court that she had since quit her job.

Judge Gilligan then said Hayne could avoid two months in jail if she worked at least 20 hours per week at a fast-food restaurant for two months. Judge Gilligan stated his goal was to teach Hayne some empathy while avoiding having taxpayers foot the bill for her time in jail.

Creative Sentencing Is a Vital Sentencing Tool in Minor Cases

Rosemary Hayne is the latest defendant offered a creative sentence in lieu of jail time or criminal fines. Judges have become rather creative in recent years regarding how to punish minor criminal offenses. For instance, some judges have offered to reduce time in prison if a shoplifter is willing to wear a “I Am a Thief” sign in front of a store they stole from. A judge in Utah offered to reduce a community service sentence for a 13 year old who cut off the ponytail of a 3 year old if the 13 year’s mother agreed to cut off her daughter’s ponytail in court. The primary limit on creative sentences is whether they are “cruel and unusual” punishments. While creative sentences may be unusual, they are generally permissible as long as they are not cruel. Creative sentences should not physically harm the defendant though some sentences may emotionally or mentally impact them. Most creative sentences are designed to reform the defendant, either by publicly shaming them, or as with Hayne, to instill a sense of empathy in the defendant. If such a defendant completed their sentence with a better sense of how their victim felt or humbled in public, then the creative sentence will have been better than any time spent in prison.

However, creative sentences are arbitrary and vary from judge to judge. If Hayne had gotten a different judge, she may not have been offered a creative sentence, though she could have expected to receive a prison sentence typical for a defendant who pleads guilty to assault.

The real issue though is whether Hayne can even find a fast food job in a short period of time. The court cannot order a McDonalds or a Taco Bell to hire Hayne and Hayne herself would not be an attractive prospective employee. Few employers would want to hire someone who is only there under court order for assaulting someone, and would likely leave once the “sentence” is over.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Criminal Law Issue?

Depending on the charges, a criminal conviction can carry very serious consequences for the accused, including a permanent criminal record and loss of freedom. A skilled criminal defense attorney can make sure you get the best outcome for your case. Remember, with criminal charges, access to a criminal defense attorney is your right.

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