15 years for shoplifting while hungry

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — A Bartow homeless man with a long criminal record received a 15-year sentence for stealing a box of cereal and a can of evaporated milk.

Mark Anthony Griffin was sentenced as a “prison release re-offender,” which stiffens penalties for defendants convicted within three years of prison release.

Griffin has more than 50 prior convictions — most on minor charges like trespassing, disorderly intoxication and petit theft.

He rejected a plea deal that would’ve given him 3 years in prison and 2 years of probation.

At the Sept. 25 sentencing, Griffin’s brother said his record came from a long history of alcohol abuse.

While out of jail awaiting trial in the cereal case, Griffin picked up four additional charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Um, Ok, maybe this judge just got tired of seeing this homeless guy over, and over, and over again. So, he sentences him to 15 years in State prison for a multitude of victimless crimes that have been committed over many years.  Maybe this judge figures that he won’t see the guy again in his courtroom  until after the judge retires. But, judge, the State prisons are at capacity. They can’t take any more non-violent offenders. So, maybe all of us in Florida should try something different.

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