Archive for the ‘Misc. victimless crimes’ Category

Painter arrested for not having a sign?

October 12, 2009

Maybe that’s why they were arresting him because it is kind of ignorant to be a painter without a sign. So, what have I been preaching? The judges are finally speaking out. 52,560 victimless “crime” arrests, aka, “quality of life” misdemeanors over the last four years in Miami are dismissed by the court. Here is the story:

Miami house painter Alexis Marichal was driving his work truck when police pulled him over, placed him under arrest and sent him to jail for a night.
His crime: not having a business sign on the side of the vehicle.
In court later, the judge dismissed the charge after Marichal proved he had purchased the sign and was a legitimate painter.

“I told [the police officer] that I’m not a delinquent, that I’m a hard-working man,” said Marichal, 34. “I told him, `How many people and kids are being raped and how many women are beaten, and I’m being arrested?’ ”

Some high-ranking judges and county commissioners are asking the same thing.

With criminal-justice resources being squeezed more every day, the county is studying whether to decriminalize 18 minor infractions like the one that netted Marichal. They include selling flowers by the side of the road, drinking beer near a liquor store and being in a park after hours — all seemingly minor misdeeds, yet all on the books as crimes punishable by jail time.

Judges say the county ordinances clog court dockets and jail cells with little benefit, but police argue they are important for preventing more serious crime. A report is due to the County Commission this month.

“We’re being forced to operate almost like a factory,” Miami-Dade Chief County Judge Samuel Slom told a County Commission committee. “We are handling cases that have no business being in a criminal courthouse.”

Since 2005, police in Miami-Dade County have charged 52,560 people with such “quality of life” misdemeanors. All were processed through the county’s overtaxed court system — where the vast majority saw their charges dismissed.

Records from 2005 to early August 2009 show that more than 40,000 cases of commercial vehicle sign violations, drinking within 100 feet of a liquor store and roadside vending were filed. Yet about 93 percent of the charges were dismissed by a judge or dropped by prosecutors, and only about 7 percent resulted in convictions or withholds of adjudication. Amazing.


Local media defends victimless crime enforcement

October 7, 2009

Mr. Lyons of the Sarasota Herald Tribune basically said you shouldn’t run from Leos. I’ve said that over and over and over. There is no reason that you should run from Leos, but having that said, I have to disagree with Mr. Lyons about a couple of issues. First, he is branding me as a “death penalty for not having a bike light” guy. He’s right. I want to see the police dash cam video and audio, if the guy on the bike was on the sidewalk, the police had no reason to question him or detain him for not having a light. If he was in the road, it’s different. Second, the guy is dead, man. Maybe the taser didn’t cause his death, but he probably would still be alive if he didn’t have this police encounter and shocked by the taser. Mark Lipinski, Attorney at Law, in Bradenton, has made a living over the last 25 years, by suing the Bradenton Police Department. He has had clients brutalized by other agencies but the BPD is at the top of the list with problem after problem. Mr. Lyons, let’s not shrug this case off, so fast. First, let’s see the dash cam video/audio and then let’s hear from the witnesses. This is the kind of stuff that happens when LeAs concentrate on victimless crimes. No victim, no crime. They killed a guy who didn’t hurt a victim or steal property or destroy someones property.

15 years for shoplifting while hungry

October 5, 2009

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.

Taser kills man, police serving warrant for pot use

September 28, 2009

genthumbMANATEE COUNTY (Bay News 9) — A Bradenton man died early Monday morning after being Tasered by Bradenton police.

The incident occurred about 12:18 a.m. when officers initiated a traffic stop (he was riding a bicycle) in the 700 block of 27th Street East.

Police said, Derrick Humbert, 35, refused to stop and fled on foot, running through yards of homes.

One of the officers Tasered Humbert and the officers placed him in custody. Humbert was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital for medical clearance prior to being taken to jail, but he died while being treated.

Police said they later learned Humbert had an outstanding arrest warrant for possession of marijuana.

The police department is investigating the incident and awaiting autopsy results. They said no more details will be released until the investigation is complete.

Police chief said: “Over six feet tall and over 200 pounds, so, it would have been safer in this particular case to use the Taser,” said Lewis. According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Humbert was actually only 5’5″ tall.

It’s amazing to me that we can fight the death penalty with such vigor, but shrug off these death penalty for victimless crime arrests by Leo.  Oba Chandler still sits on FL death row after raping and tying up three women and drowning them in Tampa Bay. Over 1000 people over the last 30 years have had their death sentences commuted by higher courts and all of them were convicted of some heinous murder, but Leos can kill someone for pot smoking?  State law allows the use of a taser if there is physical resistance or an attempt to escape.

Duel Standards?

September 18, 2009

(I purposely misspelled duel. A play on words, get it, duel and dual), otherwise known as a “malapropism.”

Two Leo not in uniform cases raise some questions. Locally, two recent arrests raise some interesting questions involving police officers. The first, a federal ICE officer was driving down a street, off duty in shorts and t-shirt, and saw two 9 year old boys pointing what he said were guns at his car. He stopped the car and went to talk to the boys who were playing with toy guns. The mom came out and the Leo was said to have gotten testy with her, but he did identify himself as a Leo and said he showed her his ID. The dad came out and told him to get off his property and the Leo then said that the dad grabbed a bat and threatened to beat him with the bat if he didn’t leave, no violence occurred. The local police arrived and arrested the dad for attempted battery on a Leo, a felony.

The other case, a mom was picking her daughter up from elementary school and drove into a private home driveway to turn around. The mom was confronted by an angry 51 year old woman running at her car, allegedly pointing a gun at her and her daughter. The daughter was so afraid, that she bounded into the back seat floor for cover. When the local police arrived, it was discovered that the 51 year old homeowner was a police officer from another agency, but said she was holding a cell phone and not a gun. Other witnesses said that she was brandishing a gun, threatening the driver. The police officer was arrested for felony aggravated assault with a firearm. This Leo was fired by the agency because she took the fifth with her boss. Typically, Leos aren’t allowed to remain silent with personnel matters, that is why most Leos when accused of crimes, resign or are fired if they won’t testify to internal affairs.

The chief of police of the agency who arrested the dad told reporters who questioned the arrest that even though the ICE officer was in shorts and t-shirt that “police officers are always on duty.” So, the reasoning goes that in the second case when the mom driving the car sues the agency of this police officer for violating her civil rights, the agency and the union can’t cry “but our officer was at home, out of uniform and not on duty.”

I don’t agree with threatening anyone with a weapon even at your own home unless you are in fear of your family’s safety. In most cases, the best weapon that you can use is a camera. In neither case was the homeowner in fear of his/her life or even destruction of their property. In the first case, if the dad had just said thanks for coming by and took the two boys and the wife inside that would have been the extent of it. In the second case, it seems that the 51 year old female Leo was having a very bad day and possibly not controlling her hormones.

But in both cases, if the citizens had had cameras and audio recording, justice would come to light. When police officers are confronted with misconduct, they normally don’t come completely clean. I’m not saying that they always lie about these types of situations, but I’ve heard the cell-phone excuse so many times as I want to hurl.

Dash board cameras for your car have become incredibly inexpensive. I have one that you can’t even tell is a camera, less than 2 inches long and is voice activated. It was less than $100. In the first case, if the dad had grabbed his video recording device, he would have gotten rid of the Leo a lot faster than grabbing a bat. Don’t resort to violence when you can resort to recording.

In the second case, if the mom had her dash cam going, there wouldn’t have been a question about the gun brandishing, she would have been a You-tube celebrity and the police agency would just give her money to not sue.

Raided and arrested for allowing dog to die at home

September 14, 2009

A judge will actually sign a break down the door search warrant for this?

Swamped under

September 10, 2009

Dr. Susan MacManus was commissioned to do a poll in our county. The poll asked various questions about what residents and voters felt about various topics. Obviously, the number one overriding issue was the economy and jobs. But was interesting to me is that crime was 3rd from the bottom at 3% and nearly 50% of respondents said that they absolutely did not favor a temporary tax increase for a new jail even though the current facility is at capacity.

During a recession as severe as this one, you might expect that violent crime would go through the roof. More people without money means more robbing, stealing, and gun play because people are frustrated over their situations. However, this isn’t happening. Overall crime in Charlotte County was down 27.4 percent. Its unemployment rate is 12.1 percent.

What is happening, however, is that our jail is filled with non-violent, victimless crime “offenders” who either can not extricate themselves from the “system” or have just said the heck with it at least I can get medical care and food here at the jail. We have turned our local jail into a debtor’s prison. Something the House of Burgesses did away with in 1619.

The system is not going to get any more money to build more jail space, so they have to deal with it.  This is what should be done.

What the State Attorney should do immediately is inform law enforcement that he will not prosecute <20 grams of marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia arrests. These are both minor misdemeanors and this would certainly lighten the load on the court and the jail.

Shoplifting prosecutions under $100 should be suspended and a seminar should be done with store managers to educate them how to deal with this issue internally.

Also something has to be done with the innumerable arrests for no or suspended DL’s. I haven’t got an answer for this yet, but the fine, suspend, arrest, fine, arrest for contempt, fine and no collections on these “crimes” is idiotic.

More work for less clerks

September 3, 2009

HERNANDO COUNTYTwo Hernando County men are facing charges after deputies said they rode their bicycles while drunk.

According to Bay News 9‘s partner paper, the St. Petersburg Times, Robert Steudl decided to ride a bicycle home from the Pickled Parrot bar early Tuesday morning after he decided he was too drunk to drive.

Deputies thought otherwise. Steudl was arrested for driving under the influence while on a bike, after deputies said they found him riding in the middle of a westbound lane on Spring Hill Drive. A car had to swerve to avoid hitting him, deputies said.

Three hours earlier, a second man was also arrested after a deputy noticed a line of cars driving very slowly on Forest Oaks Boulevard.

The deputy realized the cars were moving slowly because Oswaldo Davila was riding in the middle of the westbound lane with no lights or reflective equipment, the Times reports.

The arrest is Davila’s second for riding his bicycle while drunk.

Florida law considers a bicycle to be a motor vehicle.

You can be arrested for DUI in FL for riding a bicycle while intoxicated, but only if you are riding the bike on a road. If you are riding the bike on a sidewalk (which is legal in FL), you can’t be convicted of DUI. So if you are drunk, go ahead and ride your bike home, but ride on the sidewalk. If you see a pedestrian, stop until they walk past you because you do have to yield for peds.

You can also walk home if you are intoxicated because we don’t have a public intoxication law in FL. We have disorderly intoxication, so you have to be intoxicated and disorderly. As long as you are just weaving down the sidewalk, you shouldn’t get arrested, but make sure you have your fly zipped up and don’t urinate in the open because you can get arrested for that.

Female arrested for a victimless crime that a man can do legally

August 24, 2009

I’ve always wondered about this. Since I was very little and now I am very old, I’ve wondered about this. Men can walk around, pretty much anywhere, without a shirt. But women can be arrested for doing the same thing. What’s up with that? I think this stems from the Puritanical notion that Men get erections watching women without shirts, but women do not get erections from watching Men without shirts. To tell you the truth, not now, but in days past, I did get erections from looking at certain women with their shirts off.  But I’m not sure that having an erection is a crime. If you are a female, showing your breasts is a crime, and if a man shows his erection it is a crime, but having an erection while inside the pants looking at certain women without shirts is not a crime, but the woman without the shirt is a crime. This victimless crime stuff is fun, isn’t it?

90 days in za coola for breath mints

August 18, 2009
Breath mints

Breath mints

Crack cocaine

Crack cocaine

KISSIMMEE, FL — A Central Florida man is suing the city of Kissimmee after being thrown in jail over a very costly misunderstanding.

Donald May had breath mints in his mouth during a traffic stop for an expired tag last year.

However, the officer that pulled May over thought the mints in his mouth were actually crack.

The officer claims he field-tested the evidence and results came back positive for drugs.

May was arrested and claims he wasn’t allowed out of jail until tests proved the mints were not drugs.

During the three months he was behind bars, Kissimmee police had May’s car towed and auctioned it off.

May was also evicted from his apartment and lost his job.

Now May is suing the city for false arrest and false imprisonment.  He also wants compensation for his lost job and apartment.

Viewing the pictures breath mints v. crack, I can understand the confusion of the Leos. The mints and the crack look so much alike that they can be confident that they did the right thing by ruining this man’s life.