10 years ago I posted my first blog on here. 1,322 posts later we’re still going strong. Not as strong as I used to- I post much less frequently nowadays between keeping busy with the job and growing kids that have gotten involved in all kinds of activity. Thanks to everyone that has sent me post ideas over the years, I wish I could have written a post for all of them. WordPress tells me I’ve had over 285,000 page views and over 180,000 unique visitors, which is kind of crazy.
I thought the anniversary might be a good time for a little trip down memory lane.
One of my favorite subjects was the shark trial, where a man claimed self-defense for taking a shark: “The Shark Trial Recap“
Self-defense has been one of the more interesting repeat topics we’ve discussed on crimcourts, probably in part due to timing. I started writing this not too long after the Stand Your Ground Law has been enacted, and the Florida courts have been a trying ground for that policy. Also, being Florida, we’ve seen self-defense claimed for Bears, the aforementioned shark, and even an iguana.
Sometimes I like to think it would be fun to do videos, but I really don’t have the time. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to spend on the blog, as it has been fun, but I’ll keep posting whenever I can find time so follow me here and on Twitter.
This video of an Alligator being carried into a Key Like Pie store, in addition to being the most Florida thing ever, when viral when it was shared a few months ago. Sweetie is a rescue Gator that lives at Jungle Adventures park… when she’s not visiting schools or hanging out at the Key Like Pie store. You can read more about the background of “Sweetie” the Alligator in this story by Craig Pittman.
You might have seen the video going around of the guy who jumped into the giant Native Fish Tank at the Fort Myers Bass Pro Shops. If you haven’t been, Bass Pro has a huge tank with fish from Florida- it’s a centerpiece of the store. It made all the local news, and got shared all over on social media, and everybody had a good laugh about it. Now, local crimestoppers is claiming they have identified the man, and that he is wanted for felony charges!
That’s the kind of overblown hooey that frustrates people about cops.
Apparently, LCSO is claiming that it cost Bass Pro $3000 to ‘decontaminate’ the tank, and that makes him a felon. I call garbage- both on the cost and the felony.
They are alleging that the cost makes it a felony criminal mischief. Unfortunately, whoever is alleging that has not read the criminal mischief statute. To qualify, an individual must “willfully and maliciously” damage property. I have been out there to check it, but it certainly doesn’t look like any damage was done. On top of that, for it to be willful, he’d have to know that jumping in the tank would cause a $3000 disinfecting bill, which of course he didn’t, because it’s ridiculous. This might be some trespass of property, but to charge this kid with a felony is willful and malicious prosecution, and the authorities should be ashamed.
Here’s the story and video on the news:
The News-Press indicates some high school kids got in trouble for doing that in 2011… it doesn’t indicate that they gave a bunch of kids felonies, though:
Maryland Police Issued a Warning to people to wear pants when they check the mail
My legal advice: please wear pants
The Taneytown police department in Maryland was apparently having a lot of complaints about people checking their mail without pants on. It was enough of an issue that they had to announce a ‘final warning’ to residents to remind citizens not to check their mail whilst disrobed below the belt.
Funny sure, but there is a legitimate legal question there… is pantless mail-checking against the law. It just so happens that I have dealt with this specific matter before, so I may be the authority on it, at least in Florida. We had a case come in when I was a prosecutor; a man charged with indecent exposure for checking the mail sans pantaloons. My supervisor thought it was a good file, but I wasn’t so sure. We had an intern working at the office at the time, and I tasked him with the legal research. As I suspected, mere nudity did not rise to the level of indecent without some sort of lasciviousness. So, in Florida at least, pantless mail-checking is not criminal, without something else.
However, I recommend wearing pants when you go out for a couple of reasons. One, a less-informed law enforcement officer may think it is indecent, and you could go to jail until the legalities are sorted out. Also, I saw a guy get charged with indecent exposure for skinny dipping, because somebody said he was waving his winky at them. There’s room for dangerous misinterpretation if you are not wearing pants, so I’d advise everyone, if at all possible, to wear pants when they check their mail.
It should go without saying that you should not pretend to have a potentially deadly disease, and it’s even more appalling that somebody would do so in the midst of a public health emergency. But leave it to by claiming to have the corona virus. The bus was evacuated, and when police were called, Landeau admitted that he doesn’t have the COVID-19, the diseased caused by the corona virus. He has been charged with disorderly conduct and creating a false public alarm. Fortunately, it did appear to be a false alarm.
Don’t be David Landeau. Everybody is stressed out with the virus going around, so let’s focus on helping our fellow man for a while, not adding to the stress.
The men were charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking, drug possession and possession of paraphernalia. Notably, officers recovered some 1.36 kilograms of GHB, often called the “Date Rape Drug”. Only in Florida…
Clearly… not the most successful criminals out there. The drug trafficking charges alone carry sentences of up to 30 years in prison, and have associated mandatory minimum sentences. Not only is it not a good idea to carry your contraband in a bag that alerts to it’s illegal content… it’s probably not a good idea to be flying down the highway going nearly 100 mph, as these guys were when they got pulled over.
A North Fort Myers man was arrested and charged with attacking a police dog, according to NBC-2. I have to say the NBC headline (and mine) are a little misleading… the allegation isn’t that he attacked the police dog per se, but that he forcefully grabbed it. This was after the police had let the dog loose on him, and the dog had bitten his shoulder: sounds like he was trying to stop the dog from attacking him. He had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries, including the hole in his shoulder and the deputy punching him to let get him to let go of the dog.
It is a felony to injure a police animal, but a misdemeanor to strike one. This guy, Robert Dean Lawrence, was only charged with the misdemeanor for his actions toward the K-9, “Koa”. However, he’s got bigger problems, as the deputies were after him in the first place for a felony battery charge. He faces charges for felony domestic battery by strangulation, striking a police dog and resisting arrest.
The scene: Cowboy Up Saloon, Fort Myers, Florida. Police are seeking information on a man who was caught on camera punching a Dancin’ Santa that was on display at the popular Cowboy Up Saloon downtown in the Fort Myers River District. A man standing at the bar suddenly turns, punches the Santa display to the ground, knocking off its head. The footage is shocking, except its just a robot, so nobody gets hurt!
One of the officers working at the Charlotte County Jail spotted a pickup truck floating in the pond in front of the jail Tuesday night. He approached a man standing there watching it, but the man was uncooperative and walked awawy. Deputies were afraid that someone might have been in the truck, and jumped in the pond, but it had sunk too deep for them to reach. A dive team was called, the truck fished out, and fortunately there was nobody inside.
Deputies located the man who walked away, Tristin Murphy. Murphy denied any knowledge of the truck, but was arrested for Littering of Over 500 Pounds of Hazardous Material. I think they will have a proof problem charging him with dumping just because he was watching it sink, unless they can find some more evidence to link him to the truck. (It’s unclear if the truck was his, maybe there was an envelope with his name on it.) And while the truck contains oil, gas, and other fluids… I’m not sure if it meets the statutory definition of ‘Hazardous Waste‘. While it looks bad, the dude has some defenses an attorney can work with. Either way, he is facing a felony littering charge, which could potentially impair his ability to serve in the army and get his fingerprints sent to Washington, provided Officer Obie took the 27 glossy colored photographs to convict him.
Finally, I couldn’t help but notice that CCSO describes the pond as a ‘catfish pond,’ which begs the question… how is the fishing? Do the inmates get to give it a whirl? Do they stock it. The pond outside the Lee County airport reportedly has excellent fishing, but you don’t have to take my word for it.