Gotta hand it to Judge William Sterling. This guy gets it.

This morning, Sterling sentenced Cajid Heartfield for violating probation by failing to disperse from the Occupy L.A. protest. Heartfield was sleeping in a tent when the LAPD raided the encampment.

Instead of the typical 20 days of Caltrans duty, Sterling came up with a more creative sentence. He ordered Heartfield, 43, to write a 300-word essay on Thoreau's “Civil Disobedience.”

Heartfield readily agreed, according to Leone Hankey, who has been observing cases for Occupy L.A. Case closed.

Now, we all read this in high school. But if you need a refresher, here's what Thoreau had to say about the justice system:

It is not de­sir­a­ble to cul­ti­vate a re­spect for the law, so much as for the right. The only ob­li­ga­tion which I have a right to as­sume, is to do at any time what I think right.

Even now, it takes a pretty cool judge to assign that for homework. Hankey, who was in court today, said that in pronouncing the sentence, Sterling noted that Heartfield was acting out of principle, which diminished his criminal intent.

“This is the most intelligent and enlightened judge I have seen in these cases,” Hankey said.

LA Weekly