« "Who Are Woman Sex Offenders and Why Are They Treated Like Men?" | Main | Effective review of effective(?) use of sentencing mitigation videos ... and concerns about equity »

May 23, 2015

You be the prosecutor: what sentence will you recommend for convicted "sex on beach" couple?

Regular readers may recall this post from earlier this month, titled "Imprisonment for 15 years for sex on the beach?!?! Really?!?!," which covered the possibility of one member of an indecent couple in Florida facing a mandatory 15-year prison sentence for shoreline dirty dancing with his girlfriend.  But this follow-up post reported that State Attorney Ed Brodsky indicated that "he will not seek the maximum possible punishment — 15 years in prison — for the couple convicted of having sex in public on Bradenton Beach."  Now this news update on the notable case indicates that sentencing is likely to be scheduled in the coming weeks and includes this partial preview:

Jose Caballero, 40, and Elissa Alvarez, 20, were convicted May 4 on two counts each of lewd and lascivious behavior for having sex on Cortez Beach on July 20, 2014. The convictions carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and require both to register as sex offenders....

The State Attorney's Office has said it will not seek the maximum penalty for either defendant, but is looking into jail time for both of them. [Assistant state attorney prosecutor Anthony] Dafonseca said they'd seek a harsher punishment against Caballero, who has served prison time for cocaine trafficking.

The defendants were represented by attorney Ronald Kurpiers, but Alvarez will be represented at sentencing by Greg Hagopian, according to Dafonseca. Hagopian said he didn't want to discuss the reason for Alvarez's switch. She had no criminal record before her conviction.

A few people filed letters on behalf of the defendants, saying the judge should take it easy on Alvarez and Caballero and not make them register as sex offenders. "You are likening these two individuals to deplorable people who have actually taken advantage of or violated children," read a letter signed by Femi Olukoya. "This state needs to grow up and that can start with you," read another letter.

The jury found the couple guilty after a 1 1/2 day trial and only 15 minutes deliberation. One of the witnesses took video of the two in July, showing Alvarez moving on Caballero in a sexual manner in broad daylight.

Unsuprisingly, prior posts about this case generated a lot of notable commentary, and now I am eager to focus discussion on how folks think the state prosecutors here ought to exercise their sentencing discretion. Specifically, I would really like folks to put themselves in the shoes of the Florida prosecutors and state, with some specificity, exactly what sentence they think should be recommended to the sentencing judge in this unusual criminal case.

Prior related post:

May 23, 2015 at 10:33 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference You be the prosecutor: what sentence will you recommend for convicted "sex on beach" couple?:


How about if you just give me a "sex on the beach" cocktail?


Personally, I think jail time is stupid here. If it wasn't the first offense of this act, I might think about it, but probation with some sort of community service would be my choice. The woman has no criminal conviction, so that is definitely enough for her. Jail time here is inane. The guy has time for drug trafficking, but this has basically nothing to do with that. I'm somewhat sympathetic to a greater demand that he would not break any law given his past criminal history. So, maybe something like 30 days or something on principle plus probation/community service.

Posted by: Joe | May 23, 2015 12:07:55 PM

Yeah, my recommended sentence is a fine. For the man, it'll probably be a probation/parole violation but even that shouldn't involve any significant revocation of a sentence (maybe a month)

Posted by: Erik M | May 23, 2015 12:49:34 PM

As prosecutor, one priority is to not look stupid in the paper.

For the lady, a $100 fine and fees, ending up at $300. Plus, she should write 500 times, I will not have sex in front of children.

For the guy, not clear. Is he a mass murdering kingpin? If yes, execute him.

If no. Same as the lady.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 23, 2015 3:53:16 PM

As prosecutor, one priority is to not look stupid in the paper.

For the lady, a $100 fine and fees, ending up at $300. Plus, she should write 500 times, I will not have sex in front of children.

For the guy, not clear. Is he a mass murdering kingpin? If yes, execute him.

If no. Same as the lady.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 23, 2015 3:53:16 PM

As prosecutor, one priority is to not look stupid in the paper.

For the lady, a $100 fine and fees, ending up at $300. Plus, she should write 500 times, I will not have sex in front of children.

For the guy, not clear. Is he a mass murdering kingpin? If yes, execute him.

If no. Same as the lady.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 23, 2015 3:53:17 PM

If I could dictate a sentence based on my own policy preferences and without suffering any political ramifications it'd be an admonishment not to do it again (on the beach, anyway). The only goal that's worth serving in this case is deterrence (not because there's anything wrong with any particular person having sex on a beach, but because a pandemic of beach-sex has deleterious effects on the charm and character of a seaside community). The publicity the case has generated will advance that goal adequately --- even factoring in the various stories that would result from this sentence about how the defendants walked away with a the slightest slap on the wrist --- so no need to impose any more punishment.

If I were the prosecutor, and so had to take into account both politics and community mores, I'd recommend between 1 and 3 days in jail (depending on my sense of what the community wanted), 20 hours of community service, and the minimum required sex-offender-registration period. I'd only recommend the jail time because there was evidence that a child saw.

Posted by: MP | May 23, 2015 4:15:22 PM

Registration as sex offenders will already be way too much punishment.

Posted by: Anon | May 23, 2015 7:55:33 PM

Registration as sex offenders not seem necessarily obligatory here.

Posted by: Joe | May 23, 2015 8:29:34 PM

MP: The vast majority of people in the world live in one room. So three year olds see plenty of sex. I am not aware of any deleterious effects on the billions of children n those circumstances.

You have you nose upturned as a rich guy who can have sex in privacy. Stop such a stuck up snob.

Also three year olds are pretty sexual. Indeed, the fetus is sexual. I have direct recall from that age of wanting Gina Lollobrigida on the screen, so badly. I did not know for what, but I knew what I wanted by that age.

Here, for you verification:


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 23, 2015 11:41:32 PM

Sex on the beach, if in fact they were actually having sex, requires a "No, you can't do that here, get a room" and that's all. If they continue the behavior, then maybe stronger consequences, a fine, community service, picking up trash on the beach etc. This craziness of throwing everyone in jail or prison, subjecting them to the scarlet letter of Sex Offender, and putting them on the unconstitutional SOR because they've made a human error is just plain nuts. And, the fact that the guy has a prison record, that has nothing to do with anything, he's already served his time hasn't he? Maybe this is a parole violation, but that's about it. Personally, I'd rather have my tax dollars paying to keep the violent murderers in prison, rather than for this kind of BS.

Posted by: kat | May 24, 2015 9:42:54 AM

Right on Supremacy Claus. The ignorance of the people is harming the country. Do no harm or damage to the people is what our forefathers required. Violence such as murder, goes before the court system. Our administration is causing more harm and damage to the people by not following the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Posted by: LC in Texas | May 24, 2015 11:56:52 AM

I would sentence her to 6 months alone with me in the back country.

He would be sentenced to find 2 more females every bit as capable the original.

Hey, its memorial day weekend we need to gave a little fun.

Ok that done. They need to be put on probration 6 months, no sex registry, attend personel developement and culture classes. Upon completion, their files are destroyed.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | May 24, 2015 12:24:24 PM

Do I understand you correctly, LC? This is yet another problem that traces directly to the Obama Administration's failures? Are y'all a right-wing nut by any chance? Or are we talking about some other "administration" that causes rude morons to misbehave at the beach?

Kat said it well. I'd only add that the fear of lengthy prison terms, being placed on sex registries and the grim experience of being cornered and menaced by our humorless, brutish legal system is punishment enough. I say let 'em go with a warning.

It becomes clearer every day America's hardly progressed even a single step forward on the sanctimonious-asshole continuum since the Pilgrims first stepped foot on the continent.

Posted by: John K | May 24, 2015 12:47:46 PM

John. Whom do you think the stupid police, the stupid prosecutor, and the stupid judge voted for in our last two presidential elections? These are all tax sucking, rent seeking worthless make work government workers. They most likely voted for the Tax Sucking, Rent Seeking, Worthless Government Worker in Chief, Harvard Law indoctrinated, lawyer dumbass, affirmative action baby, and Idiot in Chief. He is completely out of his league in this job. He lost Iraq. Smooth Iranian rug dealers took him to the cleaners. Our economy is still on a respirator with 0% interest rates, soon going negative. He is an aggressive business and job killer, where doing nothing would have solved our problems. He is a witch hunter of the productive male, a male running dog of the vile feminist lawyer.

I spoke to his Harvard Law professor. It claimed, they scored exams blindly, and he was brilliant. I spoke to classmates, a lazy, shiftless know nothing, just anointed by the left wing profs. He delegated everything on the law review, God forbid he should look up a citation or two. He was voted into Office for the appearance of piety, another affirmative vote.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 24, 2015 1:49:12 PM

How do you expect this admin to follow the bill of rights or constitution, when none of them know squat about the contents.

I agree, uf the feds dine nothing, the country would be better off.

Its just more chicken shit piled on top of the same.

Most talk like they have a paper @sshole. All so concerned about staying under the radar so ghey can get re elected next term.

Country would benefit if they handed out 12 ga vasectomies when they trade pork for their own pet project that gets them election money.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | May 24, 2015 4:23:32 PM

personnel development and culture classes? For having sex on the beach?

Guess there are worse ways to waste time. Not too many, but whatever.

Posted by: Joe | May 24, 2015 5:15:10 PM

I found the one useful sentence in this article.

"One of the witnesses took video of the two in July, showing Alvarez moving on Caballero in a sexual manner in broad daylight."

Video recording, another major factor in our falling crime rate.

Or did Alvarez have a high serum lead level? Did the defense even bother to have a little blood drawn. Lawyer dumbasses. Lead a missed mitigating factor, since it is elevated in prisoners, compared to that of the population. That was the fact I found that persuaded me this theory represents one of many valid factors.

Is lead listed in Mr. Levine's list of 10,000 mitigating factors, or was it 171 at $125, for less than a dollar per factor?


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 25, 2015 12:20:13 AM

Let's be blunt. A non-paroleable sentence of ten years hard time would be HARSHER than mandatory lifetime sex offender registration in Florida. Restrictions are harsher than parole, as well as the punishment, as violation of registry provisions are NEW felonies, while violation of parole would only put someone back in the klink.

The bottom line: The major X-factor is registration. Anything that doesn't involve registration should be considered harsh enough.

Posted by: Eric Knight | May 25, 2015 4:34:27 PM

OOPS...I meant to say 10 years hard time is MORE LENIENT than sex offender registration in Floride. My bad.

Posted by: Eric Knight | May 25, 2015 4:35:29 PM

The woman has just been sentenced to time served, plus she'll have to register as a sex offender. In my opinion, she got off too easily. These two offenders are poster children for the ilk of humanity who believe the rules of civil society do not apply to them. They take delight in making public nuisances out of themselves, and the rest of us be damned. Their numbers and acts are growing. I applaud their prosecution but do not like the light sentence. What warped human beings believe that having sex on a public beach is acceptable?

Posted by: TomB | May 29, 2015 7:13:31 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB