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Restrained

An interesting South Florida legal decision-

When a teenager in a North Dade library was arrested after failing to obey an officer's order to leave, he ran off -- with the officer's handcuffs around his left wrist. Only one charge eventually stuck, leading to a conviction: theft of the cuffs.

Forget it, an appeals court ruled this week. The 15-year-old, identified in papers only as J.B. because he's a juvenile, appeared to have no choice in taking the cuffs, the court said.

''We are sure that J.B. would have gladly relinquished any dominion, control or possessory rights to the handcuffs if he only had the key to release them,'' the judges said.

JB wasn't likely to acquire the key. Somehow I think "Please can I get the key before I run away?" wouldn't have worked.

What was JB being arrested for in the first place?

According to court documents, on Dec. 5, 2007, J.B. was writing an essay on a computer at the North Dade Regional Library when an off-duty Miami-Dade police officer, Zeldrina Beecham, heard him and another boy making noise. Earlier, Beecham had ordered J.B. to stay away from the library.

''Now you're under arrest,'' she told the boy, according to one of his attorneys, Harvey Sepler, an appeals specialist with the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office.

Beecham was handcuffing J.B. when he elbowed her and ran, with the cuff on his left wrist. Another officer found the boy later that night at his grandmother's house, and added battery, resisting arrest and theft charges to the original charge of trespass.

Something is missing from this story. Why would the police officer order him away from the library? Of course it could also be a member of law enforcement was on a power trip. That's been known to happen down here, and happened to me personally once. If you think my view of the Catholic church is jaundiced, don't get me started on South Florida police or the judicial system down here.

Something is missing from this tale. Could be some Oregano, who knows. Back to the original judge's decision.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Johnson later dismissed all the other charges but ruled him guilty of theft and sentenced him to time in a day treatment program.
Why were the other charges dismissed? JB did elbow the officer. Something is funny about this story. Does the Judge have some connection to the people who run the day treatment program?

The State Attorney's office and Miami-Dade police won't comment. An attorney for JB did however.

''Did they really expect him to go back to the police and return the handcuffs, or to return them in the mail?,'' Sepler said. ``He couldn't get them off his arm.''
I'm not so sure of that. JB was arrested at his grandmother's house, it seems reasonable to me he could have said. "Grandma, can you go to Wal-Mart and buy me a hacksaw?"

Don't you just love the Sunshine State?


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Comments (5)

If he'd gone to his local a... (Below threshold)
Rance:

If he'd gone to his local adult toy store (those are still legal in Florida, aren't they), they probably would have unlocked him.

If some prick cop tried to ... (Below threshold)
914:

If some prick cop tried to put cuffs on Me for no reason i'd elbow His/Her ass too.

By the way..lol with the hacksaw thingy..bolt cutters work better.

I think I'll stay out of Fl... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I think I'll stay out of Florida.

Why were the other... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Why were the other charges dismissed?

Likely because the officer was acting outside her authority and was in the act of committing a false arrest. Maybe Florida is different, but where I live it takes a judge to issue an order baring someone from public property, such as a Library. Yes, a cop or librarian can kick you out for the day, but that's a different degree than ordering you to never return. With Beech's earlier ordered for J.B. to stay away from the library being illegal, there was no justification for her to arrest J.B. for making noise. I expect the charges were dropped under threat of a false arrest lawsuit.

J.B. was wrong to resist arrest, even a false arrest, but he's a 15 year-old kid acting out of fear, and I suspect the judge found that J.B. had no prior record. Likely J.B. spent some time in custody and that seems sufficient to teach J.B. never to resist arrest again. Hopefully, Beech also learned the limitations of her authority.

Cop's just pissed that her ... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Cop's just pissed that her name is Zeldrina. I'd be pissed, too, but that's no excuse to take it out on the kid.




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