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July 27, 2007

Isn't going blind punishment enough?

As detailed in this AP story, this week a "Florida jail inmate was convicted of indecent exposure after a guard complained that he had masturbated in his cell."  Here are more details:

A jury took 45 minutes to convict Terry Lee Alexander, 20, of the misdemeanor on Wednesday.  The judge sentenced him to 60 days in the county jail.  He had faced up to a year.

In November, Broward County Deputy Coryus Veal, who was monitoring Alexander's cell from a centrally located control room, saw him masturbating while he was sitting on his bunk, alone in his cell.  She testified that she brought the charge against him the third time he masturbated in view of her.

Veal has brought similar charges against seven other inmates in six months. The sheriff's office encourages deputies to file criminal charges to discourage masturbating in the county's jails, said Elliot Cohen, an agency spokesman. He said privacy is one of the rights inmate give up in jail.

Kathleen McHugh, Alexander's attorney, said her client did nothing wrong. She said he was alone in his cell, which was not open to the public.  "I think the government's gone awry," McHugh said. "Has it been a slow year in crime that they've got to go prosecute masturbation in the Broward County Jail?"

For those interested in serious Friday debate, please discuss in the comments whether Mr. Alexander could make any reasonable constitutional arguments against his prosecution and sentencing.

For those interested in comical Friday fun, please discuss in the comments possible alternative titles for this post (I considered and rejected as too crude "What a jerk!" and "What ever happened to compassionate release for prisoners?").   Commentors can perhaps gain inspiration from this slang list, but please try to keep this blog family friendly.

July 27, 2007 at 08:44 AM | Permalink


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Hard Time.

Cruel and Unusual Self-Punishment.

Working the Jail Bird.

Posted by: steve | Jul 27, 2007 8:57:44 AM

The worse thing about this case is the obnoxious questioning of the jury by the defense attorney.

Posted by: | Jul 27, 2007 9:06:39 AM

Void for vaguesness (i.e., "vulgariity" & "obscenity" -- what's that?).

Procedural due process -- was he on notice not to raise anchor?

Posted by: KipEsquire | Jul 27, 2007 9:51:04 AM

We must give credit to the Texas prison guard bloggers at The Back Gate for declaring: "you'll get no jokes from us about the penal system, doing 'hard time,' Alexander behaving like a jerk, or how his lawyer failed to get him off."

Meanwhile, Gideon, from A Public Defender, declared in Grits' comments that the jury must have been a bunch of wankers.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jul 27, 2007 10:03:38 AM

Reason #405 Why Some People Will Do Anything to Get Out of Jury Duty

Honestly, I can think of few things that would feel more like a waste of time than taking a day to sit in a jury box to see evidence, hear testimony, and ultimately decide whether a prison inmate did or didn't masturbate in view of the guards.

Posted by: | Jul 27, 2007 10:32:08 AM

As always, an excellent use of prosecutorial resources.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 27, 2007 11:01:56 AM

Gee, I'm wondering what will happen to all those inmates doing serious time? The counselors encouraged the inmates to masturbate to relieved their stress.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 27, 2007 12:30:13 PM

No chance of early discharge here, eh?

Posted by: Alec | Jul 27, 2007 12:45:21 PM

Does the crime of indecent exposure include knowing that someone is watching? Can a blind person know this? Is a prisoner's jail cell his "home"? Do you get any privacy rights when you are in your home?

Posted by: William Jockusch | Jul 27, 2007 2:03:28 PM

Alec wrote: "No chance of early discharge here, eh?"

The clear winner.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 27, 2007 3:04:37 PM

Guard whips hardened criminal. Whips him good.

In California they would have to register for life.

Posted by: George | Jul 27, 2007 3:10:37 PM

Hardened criminal cannot outrun long arm of the law.

Posted by: | Jul 27, 2007 3:26:26 PM

The court pronounced a sentence of 60 days of blue balls.

Posted by: Bruce | Jul 27, 2007 3:40:35 PM


Also, one would presume that the usual course when an incarcerated person engages in a minor infraction of some rule unique to incarcerated status would be to revoke good time.

Why Broward County is against this is also odd. One would think that it would reduce tensions. And, isn't this equal protection for single people who can't have conjugal visits?

Posted by: ohwilleke | Jul 27, 2007 4:23:38 PM

So mant questions.

What about free expression? Is this a 1st amendment issue? Can't he masterbate in protest?

Any chance that the offended wallflower "guard-ess" might not have the cajones needed to do her job effectively?

Any chance this guy might be slightly mentally ill?

Did they call an expert at the trial? Is it too late to throw my name into the hat?

Posted by: BabbuLu | Jul 27, 2007 5:16:10 PM

Are they trying to take the hard out of hard time? Anyway I suggest the title "No getting off for this prisoner"

Posted by: Noman | Jul 28, 2007 1:16:43 PM

I bet someone told the prosecutor that he would be chicken if he didn't take it to trial, and the prosecutor didn't want to look like he choked.

Maybe we need to put this in the reporter's pocket part.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 28, 2007 9:39:36 PM

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