A man convicted of having sex on a Florida beach is facing 15 years in prison and his girlfriend, convicted of the same, will do some jail time. Both will be on the sex offender registry for life.
...Assistant State Attorney Anthony Dafonseca said they will pursue a harsher sentence for [the man] than [the woman], since [she] has no prior record and [the man] has been to prison for almost eight years for a cocaine trafficking conviction.
The state will ask for jail time for [the woman] and prison time for [the man]. Dafonseca said due to [the man] being out of prison less than three years before committing another felony, he's looking at serving the maximum time of 15 years.
"We gave them a reasonable offer, what we felt was reasonable, and they decided it wasn't something they wanted to accept responsibility for," Dafonseca said. "Despite the video, despite all the witnesses."
The prosecutor's reasonable offer was rescinded when the couple decided to see whether a jury would interpret the video and hear the witnesses differently. If it was reasonable to offer them a lesser sentence, how does a decision to go to trial make the lesser sentence less reasonable?
If the prosecutor thought the initial offer was reasonable, the actual sentence is, by his own judgment, unreasonable. After all, the crime has not become any worse between the offer and the decision to go to trial.
To accept responsibility for a crime is to plead guilty. It is not a crime to go to trial. The prosecutor is punishing the couple for choosing to make the justice system work the way it is supposed to work.
It is clear that the initial sentence was for sex on the beach and the eventual sentence is for making the prosecutor prove his case.
The judge has little to no discretion, in this world of mandatory sentences.
Ed Brodsky, elected state attorney for the 16th judicial district, joined Defonseca in prosecuting the case. When asked why the case was an important one to the state attorney, Dafonseca said it was important that the community knew what wouldn't be tolerated on public beaches.
Because no one knew that openly having sex on the beach was a bad idea until this case.
"We're dealing with basically tourists, that came from Brandon and Riverview and West Virginia, and they're here on the beaches of Manatee County, our public beaches," Dafonseca said, referring to the witnesses. "So you want to make sure that this isn't something that just goes by the wayside. And that it is well known to the community, what will be tolerated and what won't be."
Kicking people off the beach when they misbehave is so old fashioned. Today, everything deserves prison.
Publicity like this--15 years in prison for canoodling--could scare away more Florida tourists than seeing suggestive behavior on the beach ever could, especially in the state with a reputation for wild spring breaks for college kids.