Civil Liberties

Man Convicted of Sex on the Beach Likely to Get 15 Years

Excessive PDA, excessive sentencing



Sex on the beach: It's a delicious beverage, and also a crime. A Florida man convicted of having it (sex, not the drink), is expected to get 15 years in prison, while his girlfriend will serve jail time. Both must register as sex offenders.

The man, Jose Caballero, faces a harsher sentence because he is a repeat offender subject to mandatory minimum sentencing: he was previously convicted of trafficking cocaine and spent eight years in prison. His next stay in prison will likely be twice as long, however, for the comparatively less serious crime of getting intimate with his girlfriend on a public beach in Bradenton, Florida.

According to The Miami Herald, the couple were noticed by a 3-year-old girl. Exactly what the girl saw is unclear; it's not even obvious that the two were actually having sex, according to video footage of the encounter:

Family members who witnessed the act and a Bradenton Beach police officer, as well as Caballero, testified in the case. The defense argued that the two weren't actually having sex, but that Alvarez had been dancing on Caballero or "nudging" him to wake him up.

"She wasn't dancing," [Assistant State Attorney Anthony] Dafonseca said during closing arguments. "It's insulting your intelligence to say that she was dancing."

[Defense attorney Ronald] Kurpiers said since the witnesses had not seen genitals or penetration, and neither was visible in the video, either, that saying the two had sex was speculation.

"You folks cannot speculate," Kurpiers told the jury. "And in order to say they had intercourse, you would have to speculate."

Brodsky said they weren't calling it the crime of the century, but it was still a violation of Florida law.

"Did they try to cuddle, or do it discreetly? Did they go in the water, where people couldn't see?" Brodsky asked the jury. "Did Ms. Alvarez try to drape a towel over herself, or anything? They didn't care."

Excessive PDA? Maybe. Felony carrying a 15-year sentence? No way in hell. They should have gotten off (pardon the pun) with a warning or a fine, but discretion is impossible when judges are bound to follow insanely harsh sentencing laws.