Man Holds "I Was Stupid" Sign All Day

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

While most people were filling up on turkey Thanksgiving Day, one man was stuck in the cold as part of a public humiliation sentence.

Early last month 22-year-old Shane McQuillan decided he'd rather hold a sign that says "I was stupid" instead of spending 20 days in jail for his guilty charge of criminal damage to property.

It's not how most of us would like to spend thanksgiving. But from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon on Thursday McQuillan was standing at the entrance gate of Eau Claire’s Waste Water Treatment Facility with his handcrafted sign reading "I was stupid."

Eau Claire County Judge Paul Lenz gave McQuillan his sentence, he says, “It's a difficult thing to do if you think about it for yourself. It's basically a public acknowledgment of what you did was wrong and that's difficult for people today.”

McQuillan chose to face humiliation for 8 hours Thursday, and brought along a newspaper to keep him busy.

Judge Lenz says he's handed out 20 or so similar sentences, but he says most criminals pass on the option and choose to wait out their sentences in jail.

Last March McQuillan crashed his car into the waste water facility's closed gates. Police officers found he had a blood alcohol level of .238 and police say McQuillan said he was "just being stupid."

On Thanksgiving Day, on a day most people say what they're thankful for, McQuillan publicly acknowledged what he's sorry for.

WEAU tried to talk to McQuillan but he refused to speak with us.

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  • by Pete Location: Eau Claire on Nov 30, 2008 at 05:09 AM
    I bet he thinks twice before being stupid again. Good job judge, I like your thinking and if all this attention and humiliation makes him think before he acts the punishment works. you also saved the tax payers 20 days of housing and feeding Mr. stupid.... Reguardless where he stands and what he is doing, He spent thanksgiving admitting he was dumb. If this kind of punishment can work why not, alot of kids dont think before they act and this is a good way to open there eyes and maybe our taxes wont go up each year to feed and house all the dumb #$&%'s... Doesnt anyone look for the positive anymore or are we as a society just "condem and throw away the key" With out this punishment he would spend 20 days in jail on our cost and who would of known? Now we all know what he did and he was stupid. Enough said he paid a pretty high price to me and the Judge should use it more........
  • by EAU CLAIRE RESIDENT Location: EAU CLAIRE on Nov 28, 2008 at 11:34 AM
    I think McQuillan should of had to stand where there was little more traffic. Somewhere like by Walmart or the mall area. I also think that he should not have been able to listen to music or read a newspaper!
  • by bobby Location: WI on Nov 28, 2008 at 08:47 AM
    This is no punishment lock him up...
  • by Ken Location: Gilman on Nov 27, 2008 at 07:43 PM
    What a coward. He wouldn't even speak with the media.
  • by Kelly Location: Eau Claire on Nov 27, 2008 at 07:23 PM
    Looks rough--- not a soul around on Thanksgiving to make him even feel stupid for a second...Guess he isn't so "stupid" picking this day to do it! Way to hide behind the warm clothes too...
  • by Dan on Nov 27, 2008 at 07:07 PM
    Come on. Make the guy uncover his face at least. He should have a sign that says "I, (name here) am stupid."
  • by Treeman on Nov 27, 2008 at 07:01 PM
    Gee whiz!! Can we stop reading about this guy now?? Enough already!
  • by Joe Location: Cameron on Nov 27, 2008 at 06:23 PM
    The sign should say "I was Smart", who in there right mind wouldn't hold a sign for one day compared to 20 days in jail, that is just common sence, wow, what a tough penalty, I would love to have this Judge if I was ever in this position? crazy
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