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July 6, 2015

Florida prosecutors (for suspect reasons?) seeking 2.5 years in prison for sex-on-beach guy

As previously discussed in prior posts linked below (starting with this one), a couple engaged in some consentual, but seemingly inappropriate, behavior on a public beach lead to a state criminal conviction and a seemingly extreme potentially mandatory imprisonment term for the fellow involved who had a criminal record.  This local article, headlined "Man convicted of sex on the beach in Bradenton Beach learns his punishment Monday," reports on where matters stand today on the morning of the (gentle?)man's scheduled sentencing:

The notorious Bradenton Beach sex-on-the-beach case is back in court Monday.

In a case that drew national and international attention, Jose Caballero, the man caught video having sex with a woman on Cortez Beach last July, will learn his punishment, after a jury found him and Elissa Alvarez guilty of two counts of two counts each of lewd and lascivious behavior. Prosecutors said soon after the verdicts were announced that they would not seek the maximum possible punishment: 15 years.

Alvarez, who didn't have a prior criminal record, in May was sentenced to time served since her arrest July 20, and required to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors said last month they will recommend that Caballero, who previously served 8 years in prison for cocaine trafficking, be sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. He is currently in the Manatee County jail awaiting sentencing.

The tougher punishment, they said, is warranted because of Caballero's behavior before he was arrested on the beach. "We had a real good tone of what to give Ms. Alvarez after the case was over in terms of the testimony that came out, which created a vast difference in the demeanor that Mr. Caballero reacted to the fellow beachgoers versus the demeanor of Ms. Alvarez and how she reacted," said Assistant State Attorney Anthony DaFonseca, after Alvarez was sentenced.

Though I can understand, somewhat, why Caballero's criminal history might prompt prosecutors to seek a somewhat tougher sentence than his co-defendant received, I do not quite understand how the female defendant's "good tone" and distinct reaction justifies such an extreme different in recommended sentences. Ultimately, because I know very little about Florida sentencing law, I am unable to say with certainty that there is something problematic about the Florida prosecutors' recommended sentence here. But I do know 30 months is prison would be a pretty steep price to pay for some sandy sex.

July 6, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Permalink


Al Capone was sent to prison for tax evasion, after they could not reach him for the St. Valentine's Day massacre. Could this crime, which is merely, disturbing the peace, be a pretext to get him off the street for publicly unknown crimes? If it is, would the lengthy sentence then be justified for Prof.Berman?

It would for incapacitation and utilitarian calculation reasons.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 6, 2015 12:13:24 PM

Tone? Sounds like some sort of sexual/gender stereotyping.

It's b.s. overall. It's sex on the beach, not anything to do with drugs or something. That is an offensively extreme punishment though as one person noted registering her as a sex offender on some level very well might be worse, especially given her lack of criminal history.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 6, 2015 12:25:00 PM

Registration as a sex offender is, cumulatively worse than any sentence they may receive, if registration were not part of the punishment. Because of this condition of the sentence and current Florida registration laws, Elissa Alvarez will never be able to live in over 90% of habitable residences, pay a fee for registration in many communities, never be able to attend the school her children attends (if she has children), and will always be considered an outcast in any community she is lucky enough to find residency in.

Yes, a 15-year prison sentence with no chance of parole, but no requirement to register, is probably better than this. Cabellero will most probably receive a sentence of incarceration, as males are far more punshed than females when both are of equal culpability, but sex offender registration will prove to be their life-ending consequences.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jul 6, 2015 12:59:38 PM

Do we really want our tax dollars to be used paying to keep a guy who had sex on a beach, in jail for 30 months? And then there's more tax dollars going to supervision of both the guy and the girl on the sex offender registry, for life.
Can think of plenty of better ways I'd like my tax dollars spent.

Posted by: kat | Jul 6, 2015 1:01:25 PM

The person can leave the state and find somewhere in the country where he or she will get basic protections, live and work, get married and live with a spouse etc. in ways one simply cannot do (putting aside threats of rape etc. in prison) confined for 15 years in a small cell. Even if there are only "10%" habitable residences.

Why this need to exaggerate? Yes, it is crystal clear registry is horrible. But, no, it is not WORSE than being in a small cage for 15 years.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 6, 2015 2:10:08 PM

So Joe, where is this place in this country where a registered sex offender can live, work, get married, etc.? Can't seem to find any states on the registry where a person who has served their time can get a break. Not fair that once you've done your time in a cell, you get out and still are punished with a registry. Just not right.

Posted by: kat | Jul 6, 2015 3:47:08 PM


All Florida registrants remain on the registry until they are deceased for one year, even if they move out of state. The only change that is made is the address is listed "out of state" or gives their actual out of state registration. Even if they move to a new state that has a registration time period limit and expire from that new state's registration list, they will remain on Florida's list, which effectively brands them EVEN if they have no requirement to register where they are at.

(WHY are registrants listed when they are deceased? Ostensibly to give their victims "closure" so they don't wonder what happened to them. This is way beyond the purpose of the registry, and certainly well beyond the intended scope when Smith v. Doe was decided at SCOTUS.)

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jul 7, 2015 8:47:55 AM

So, even when you're DEAD you remain on the registry! And is the address for the DEAD listed as "out of state"? This whole SOR gets more and more bizarre.

Posted by: kat | Jul 7, 2015 2:49:18 PM

Joe | Jul 6, 2015 2:10:08 PM: Are you listed on a Sex Offender Registry (SOR)? I am just wondering where you are coming from.

Eric may or may not have exaggerated that 15 years in prison is an acceptable tradeoff versus a lifetime of SOR listing. That would be very subjective. Some number of years in prison is certainly worthy of a tradeoff. For me, I spent very little time in jail, not even a few months, and I have been listed on the SOR for about 2 decades now. In retrospect, I certainly would have traded 3 years in prison for no listing and possibly up to 5 years.

And that is with the knowledge that I have today that I became very successful and I could limit the effects of the SOR listing to very little if I wanted. But, the SOR listing does still affect me today and it made me a truly terrible U.S. citizen. It affects me in ways that are unacceptable. So I will continue to retaliate for it constantly. And if it ever has any tangible, significant effect on me in the future, someone is going to pay dearly. I won't accept being arrested even. Or anything similar to that level. So, it's a lifelong risk.

And I would lend very little credence to a person being able to get off of an SOR. A person might be able to get off after a few decades (or not) and then a criminal regime can simply put them back on later. Or, and I've seen this happen directly, a person can accept a plea bargain that includes 10 years listing on an SOR and the criminal regime can later just change that duration to life. That is how these criminal regimes operate.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jul 8, 2015 9:17:52 AM

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