Three Strange Criminal Law Stories From Florida

As a follower of and writer about the criminal law, this author often reports on strange criminal law stories from the State of Florida. Here are a few of my favorite vintage stories I would like to share with a wider world.

Orange County. Florida: Veteran’s Day weekend, 2010, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department became a national laughingstock when it was reported that sheriff deputies and members of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation carried out a series of warrantless raids against local Orlando barbershops that made history for arresting 35 people on misdemeanor charges of “barbering without a license,” after having spent several months investigating the matter. A records check revealed that in the last ten years only three people in the entire state of Florida had been sent to jail on such charges. In the instant cases, many of the warrantless sweeps entailed officers swarming the barbershops that had children inside and putting the barbers in handcuffs and “perp walking” them to police vehicles. At least one felony arrest was made when one of the raids netted a barber with an unlicensed handgun. We learn further that all the barbershops were in the African American and Hispanic neighborhoods.

This startling report makes one wonder whether those neighborhoods are known for being hotbeds of “criminal barbering?”

New Port Richey, Florida: This strange story is also from 2010. As many of you know, “Four Loko” is a caffeinated alcoholic drink. A New Port Richey man drank four bottles and then went on a naked rampage. Police report that the 21-year-old man ran barefooted out of the back of his home to a house a few blocks away, smashed a sliding glass door and ransacked the home. He next took off his clothes, defecated on the floor and ripped the oven door off its hinges, according to Pasco County deputies. At another house a woman arrived home to find the naked man smeared with blood, sleeping on her couch. She called 911. According to a report, when deputies arrived, the man allegedly said: “Why am I being arrested? I didn’t steal anything.” He was charged with two counts of burglary.

The headline to this little story could have read: “Loko Gone Loco.” It is probably best to stay away from this dangerous product.

Hernando County Jail, Florida: 2011. Strange things happen in jail. A jail inmate in Hernando County didn’t have enough honeybuns to pay off a gambling debt and was paid off with a punch in the face. The inmate admitted he lost a football bet with a fellow prisoner. The loser of the bet said he went to bet winner’s cell to give him the bear claws he owed him, but he was short four honeybuns. The bet winner was not happy about being stiffed on the bet and punched the loser so hard that he had to be hospitalized. Yes, the winner of the bet and the puncher. was arrested on a battery charge.

If this had been casino gambling the bet loser could have wagered: I’ll see your one bear claw and raise you four honeybuns…