Robert Schiavelli, who turns 42 in April, was slapped with two summonses for “disturbing the peace” on Feb. 12 and 13, after his next door neighbor filed a complaint.
Schiavelli, who is neurologically impaired, and the neighbor, Daniel O’Hanian, have been engaged in a dispute for more than a year.
Schiavelli said he’s had to use his distinctive robust laugh to defend himself against O’Hanian, whom he claimed has been taunting and teasing him over his disability.
“He’s ridiculed me, mocks me, calls me a retard, does a retard dance,” said Schiavelli who lives in Rockville Centre with his mother. “I just laugh. That’s the only thing that seems to stop him.”
Schiavelli said he typically laughs at the neighbor from a second floor bathroom window, after the neighbor sneers at him through the fence that separates their two homes.
Schiavelli is accused of acting “in such manner as to annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct, or be offensive to others.” He’s facing 30 days in jail or $500 in fines for his hearty chuckle.
“I think it’s the stupidest thing I ever heard, not to be allowed to laugh in your own house,” he said with tears in his eyes.
“I do think it’s unconstitutional,” said the man’s mother, Suzanne Schiavelli. “Who’s to say it’s loud when it comes to laughing. And who’s to say what annoys one person won’t annoy another.”
PIX 11 tried, but did not get a comment from the O’Hanian family.
Schiavelli and his mom are hoping they have the last laugh in the case. But at Tuesday’s arraignment, the judge indicated he was not inclined to dismiss the charges.