"Jerich's vandalism was not the only crime committed in this case," said Hoch. "State Attorney Dave Aronberg's inept handling of this case from day one is the reason Jerich was able to walk away today with only a slap on the wrist."
PBCHRC asked Aronberg to charge Jerich persuant to §806.135(1)(b), Florida Statutes, Destroying or demolishing a memorial or historic property. Under that law, any person who “willfully and maliciously” damages a memorial or other piece of historic property could be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
PBCHRC provided Aronberg with an annotated video of the dedication ceremony, highlighting how all of the elements of the law had been met.
Ignoring the requests of both the police department and PBCHRC, Aronberg only charged Jerich with criminal mischief and reckless dirving.
"Aronberg's charges were completely inappropriate," said Hoch. "This man did not use a can of paint to spray graffitii on a random street. He intentionally used his truck to literally leave marks of hate on a symbol of pride for the LGBTQ+ community."
"Had Aronberg charged Jerich under either of the two requested laws, Suskauer would have been required to consider enhanced penalties -- including a lengthy prison sentence," said Hoch. "Once again, State Attorney Dave Aronberg has failed the LGBTQ+ community."
I think the Judge's decision was appropriate given the circumstance. Given it was recently repainted, problem solved! I only wish the hundreds of historical statutes that were damaged or defaced that stood for hundreds of years could get the same attention.ReplyDelete