How To Stop Prosecutors From Using Leverage To Enhance Battery Penalties In Florida

What happens if someone is arrested for a felony battery on a law enforcement officer after being accused of a simple misdemeanor battery? Despite the fact that one charge is a felony punishable under Florida law for up to five years, sometimes it’s just the simple battery that could ruin one’s life. Incident to an instant investigation of a very recent simple battery an officer claims that he was struck by the Defendant.

Ali Batters the Beatles

Ali Batters the Beatles

So how could anything be worse than the underlying felony of battery on a law enforcement officer in cases in Clearwater, Florida? Well, if the defendant was accused by the original victim of inappropriately touching her crotch area as she walked along a sidewalk – which is bad enough. But the victim claims the defendant after leaving her alone for a minute or two then continued following her until touching her a second time in the crotch area thru her clothes. In this case if the facts are believed by prosecutors to be provable at trial they could file two criminal counts for each of the inappropriate touchings. In fact the crimes prosecutors would look at based on the totality of the victim’s allegations include aggravated stalking, false imprisonment, sexual assault as well as lewd and lascivious conduct. Any of which would be much more difficult to successfully defend than the allegation of any simple battery on which the defendant was arrested. In fact the allegations alone could ruin the defendant’s life no matter how the case would be resolved.

When there is any allegation of a crime of a sexual nature, prosecutors may elect to increase their leverage in the case by filing additional felony counts. There’s little to stop them from merely limiting themselves to the charges officer’s initially filed when making the arrest. In fact there’s ample opportunity, motive and incentives for prosecutors to leverage the initial simple battery charge by filing additional charges. Here the charges they would likely consider include but are not limited to stalking, false imprisonment, sexual assault and lewd and lascivious conduct.

Although facts may be found and summoned to dispute the victim’s testimony, the later battery on a law enforcement charge from the officer’s case makes disproving the earlier simple battery much more difficult. This is true because successful prosecutors will file the case on one charging document, known in Florida as an information, so that at trial the entire story from both events could be tied together as one narrative for the jury.

If alcohol consumption was a contributing factor, it’s important to note that alcohol is not an effective defense to a criminal Battery charge. And even if the defendant would have been a candidate to have the charges dismissed based on pretrial intervention, the sexual nature of the original simple battery arrest would force the State Attorney’s Office to decline the PTI application. In fact even achieving a withholding of adjudication would be unlikely.

Clearly, the best course of action would be to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation of the sexual assault as well as the battery on a law enforcement officer to determine if the witnesses are reliable, persuasive and honest. The investigation would include finding other witnesses or video evidence that undermines the simple battery charge as well as any of the felony charges the state of Florida could use as leverage to force a change of plea to guilty.

HOW DAY LIGHT SAVINGS TIME ACTUALLY REDUCES VIOLENT CRIME

That hour you lost in sleep last night might just be worth it, because a study establishes that the extra hour of daylight results in a reduction in violent crime. In fact the crime reduction during that hour of light rather than darkness is significant especially for major violent crimes such as robbery, murder and rape.



Haold Lloyd dangles from a clock high above a street stopping time itself even as daylight savings time fights crime by making criminals less likely to act.
Harold Lloyd Fights Daylight Savings Time

For example, during that well lit extra hour of sunshine there’s a reduction in robbery by 51%, murder by 48% and sexual battery by 56%. Could it be that just like us, criminals miss the extra hour of sleep and so slough off their important work habits during during that lonely hour? No, say our hard-hearted scientist, it’s simply that criminals are more likely to do their work at night while cloaked in darkness.

According to the study Under the Cover of Darkness: Using Daylight Savings Time to measure how ambient light influences criminal behavior, which ferreted out other variables, it is the light itself that reduces the crime rate. Light increases the likelihood of being caught thereby increasing the expected cost of the crime. The study further shows that Daylight Savings saves over half a billion dollars a year in social costs due to reduced crime. And it suggests that it would be a wise investment to improve night time lighting with more street lights.

Since Florida is known as the Sunshine State one would think crime would not even exist here in Tampa Bay. Nor would one readily believe that beach blanket crime could occur on our sunny beaches during tourist season, yet it does and in broad daylight too. Perhaps the problem is that the street lights are turned off during the day.

Anyway, soon we’ll recover our lost sleep. Till then my recommendation for our somnolent Congress is to take that hour away on Monday rather than ruining the weekends by stealing the hour on Sunday. Perhaps the findings of another crime study finding that more iphone muggings occur on Mondays than any other day of the week will help our cause. By reducing the number of hours on Monday crime would be reduced as well.