Longtime and careful readers of the blog know that one of our biggest complaints is that there needs to be a total revamping of Florida's criminal code. Many third degree felonies should be misdemeanors (most simple drug possession cases, resisting arrest with or without violence) ; many misdemeanors should be civil infractions (disorderly intoxication; disorderly conduct; loitering and prowling; possession of marijuana; expectorating on the sidewalk). Circuit Court Judges should not be trying possession of cocaine and resisting without violence cases- they have better things to do (and when we think of it we will let you know).
This NY Times article cogently explains the problems associated with low monetary thresholds for felony theft. 45,000 Americans (or one week of deaths for Covid19 under the former president) are incarcerated for thefts under $10,000.00:
Treating what amounts to petty theft as a felony is draconian. In American society, it is difficult to recover from a felony conviction. It is hard to find work, hard to find housing, hard to rebuild a life. Incarceration is also expensive and ineffective. New York spends about $60,000 per prisoner per year, but there is little evidence the punishment deters the crime...
In a 2016 analysis, researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts looked at 30 states that increased felony theft thresholds between 2000 and 2012. Property theft rates fell nationwide during that period; the study found no evidence that the decline was any slower in those states. The analysis also found no relationship between the level of the threshold and the level of property crime. States that set thresholds at a relatively high level, like $2,000, did not experience more property crime than states that set thresholds at a relatively low level, like $500.
We don't get out of bed for less than $10,000.00. It is time to raise the levels of a felony for theft in Florida. Give the County Court judges some meaty cases for a change.