What is the appropriate penalty for having sex on the beach? This is a story about how that offense, like so many others, allows a penalty far longer than is just.
Were I a cop who stumbled on a couple hooking up beneath a blanket at night I'd look away. Confronted with people going at it during daylight hours in view of passersby, I'd think, "The abrasiveness of sand dissuades most people from doing this and the best outcome would be for Fark.com to mock their breach of community standards, but I suppose I'm obligated to make them stop and issue a ticket."As a prosecutor, I'd seek a sentence of community service plus one weekend of house arrest with the Jimmy Buffett song "Who's the Blond Stranger?" played on repeat over and over and over. A person never forgets that.
But it turns out that actual Florida lawmakers and prosecutors are wildly less forgiving of sex on the beach. "A jury Monday found a couple guilty of having sex on Bradenton Beach after only 15 minutes of deliberation," The Miami Herald reports. "The convictions carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years."
Both will also be placed on the state's sex-offender registry.
Hester Prynne got three hours on the scaffold and a scarlet 'A' sewn into her dress and generations of high school students felt deep in their guts that the Puritans wronged the woman. In a porn-soaked era this couple faces sanctions orders of magnitude more harsh. Why does the law even allow 15 years as a possibility? Granted, their sex on the beach was flagrant. They reportedly had intercourse in broad daylight, took a nap, and then did it again in view of a family. The accounts in the press make it sound like others on the beach saw neither genitals nor penetration but could definitely tell what the couple was doing.