The court and the clerk are drowning

On any given day in Sarasota County, the number of people arrested for victimless crimes is around 60% to 80% of the total. Yesterday, Leos arrested 65 citizens and 41 were for “crimes” that did not involve harm to another person or someones property.

Most of these arrests were misdemeanors, but some were heinous felonies like driving a car to work too many times without a government permit. In FL, this is a very serious crime which can get a violator 5 years in the State prison. Most of these victimless arrests have some things in common. The alleged perpetrator is poor, unemployed or homeless. The alleged perpetrator is “arrested” for some type of street cleaning statue. In wealthy counties like Sarasota, PWM (people with money) do not want humans on the street especially after dark. Of course, PWM don’t want to help anyone that is on the street, so they (don’t put me in the PWM category) just come up with a lot of petty victimless crime laws and ordinances to put poor street people in jail.

The problem with this is we are arresting about 55 people a day in Sarasota County and the jail only holds 750 people. If we arrest 55 people a day; that is over 20,000 people in a year. And more and more of street people are being arrested now because of the recession and unemployment problem that isn’t going to go away very soon. Plus even if there were any jobs which there aren’t, nobody will hire someone who is “in the system”, so the victimless crime perpetrators are fined out the wazoo by the court (the court can’t keep them in jail) and then they don’t show up for court or don’t or can’t pay the fines, so they are arrested for another victimless crime of VOP or contempt (I wonder why they are contemptuous?) which they get more fines for which they can’t pay. You get the picture. The court is drowning in this sea of petty victimless street cleaning crimes.


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