01:22 - Source: HLN
Man jailed for picking up trash too early

Story highlights

Kevin McGill was initially ordered to serve 30 days in jail for picking up trash too early in the morning

McGill already began his sentence, doing two weekends behind bars

City relents, letting him off with "time served" after story goes viral

(CNN) —  

Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and … a criminal?

A sanitation worker in an Atlanta suburb already served two weekends in jail – and faced several more until officials relented Monday– after authorities charged him for doing his job too early in the morning.

Kevin McGill, a garbage collector in Sandy Springs, Georgia, had been sentenced to a total of 30 days in jail for violating the city’s noise ordinance that states that “trash collection must be conducted between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.” He was cited one recent morning after starting work about 5 a.m.

McGill said that when he appeared in court, he was “stunned” when he learned he’d have to serve time for collecting garbage too early.

“The solicitor said, ‘It’s automatic jail time,’” McGill told CNN affiliate WSB.

McGill said it was the first time he’d violated the ordinance, but the solicitor “didn’t want to hear nothing I had to say.”

“I was shocked,” McGill told WSB.

City spokeswoman Sharon Kraun said McGill appeared in court with his employer and agreed to a plea deal, which included a 30-day jail sentence. The court said the sentence could be served on weekends, and Kraun confirmed Monday that McGill already spent two weekends behind bars.

After news of McGill’s punishment went viral, the solicitor’s office announced Monday that prosecutors would amend his sentence, saying in a statement, “The actions of the court with regards to Mr. McGill’s sentence for violating the city’s noise laws was disproportionate to a first-time offense.”

“As such, the court has amended its sentence to time served and further probation (is) suspended,” the statement said.

Chief prosecutor Bill Riley told WSB that the jail sentence was his idea because, he said, “fines don’t seem to work.”

“The only thing that seems to stop the activity is actually going to jail,” McGill said.

Still, McGill said being locked up with “real criminals” was hard, and so was being away from his family.

“I just want this to be over with,” he told WSB before getting word of the “time served” adjustment. “I’m away from my family, my wife, and she’s got to take care of the two little boys and I have four dogs.”