Monday, July 30, 2007

Where Else but Florida?

If you think a sign like this is unnecessary, you've obviously never visited Florida.

We haven't been on the "kick Florida out of the Union" tip in a while, but I figured this story needed to be drawn to your attention.

The sheriff and chief jailer in Broward County, Florida, is bringing criminal charges against county jail inmates for--I swear to god I am not making this up--masturbating. Yes. In addition to making baby Jeebus cry, masturbating in the Broward County Jail can now buy you another sixty days in lockdown. Seriously.
[Sheriff Ken] Jenne, as sheriff and chief jailer in Broward County, has launched a crackdown on self-abusing miscreants. It's no longer enough to warn hairy-palmed drooling deviants that self-indulgence risks stunted growth, blindness, sallow skin, slackened jaws, amnesia, shrunken testicles, impotence and, for Catholics in particular, eternal damnation. Jenne wants jail time.

And, late Wednesday afternoon, in a triumph of creative law enforcement, masturbation in the county jail became a criminal pleasure. Good for another 60 days behind bars.

Sheriff Jenne, with help from the office of State Attorney Mike Satz, who has taken on additional duties as Broward's dean of boys, notched a law enforcement triumph when a county court jury convicted Terry Lee Alexander, 20, of going at it in his cell last November.

At the time of the offense, Alexander was punished with 30 days without TV, music, exercise time and other jail house perks. But obviously self-abuse demands a criminal charge and a full-blown jury trial, and two prosecutors, and a court-appointed taxpayer-paid defense lawyer and six jurors (and an alternate), and a judge, and a court reporter, and a couple bailiffs, and a pretrial deposition, and a daylong trial.

Not that any of the time and expense of a trial would have any actual effect on the life of the defendant. Alexander was already looking at 10 years for a robbery conviction. But the trial was clearly intended to send a message from the sheriff and state attorney to other sex fiends lurking in their lock-up.

The sheriff's critics, of course, might find the prosecution of a masturbation case curious given the burst of violent crimes that has beset the county lately. They might also point out that Sheriff Jenne, who's feeling the heat of a federal criminal investigation himself, may come to appreciate the sexual needs of a lonely inmate.

And there's also the lingering issue of what seems to be a spectacular case of selective prosecution. The prosecution's only witness, jailer Coryus Veal, testified Wednesday afternoon, ``They had warned me about what goes on there.''

Indeed, "they" were right.

Deputy Veal initiated criminal charges against eight inmates (Four, so far, have taken plea deals while three others await trial.) for what may be the most flouted violation in the history of jails, boarding schools, seminaries and military barracks. And who knows what goes on underneath those flowing black judicial robes.

Technically, Alexander faced charges of indecent exposure, with lots of lewd, lascivious, wicked, deviant, etc. tacked on. He also faced the prosecution's tortured contention that his jail cell qualified as a "public place."

In the course of the one-day trial, prosecutor Cynthia Lauriston and Veal managed to describe Alexander's offense in startling detail, eight times, once with Lauriston approximating the action with arm motions. It was hard to imagine the original act could have had a much more lascivious effect than the lurid stuff those poor women had to utter, over and over, in Courtroom 417 Wednesday.
God damn, that's stupid. How much you wanna bet Sheriff Jenne votes Republican? Although I think I would have paid to see a goddam DA pantomime jerking off in a courtroom.

Found over at Racy Mind.

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