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Bill aims to give police moral powers
http://www.news-journalonline.com/ ^ | 3 17 05 | JIM HAUG and VIRGINIA SMITH

Posted on 03/17/2005 7:24:16 AM PST by freepatriot32

Spring Breakers are not easily offended, but even they will admit some behavior crosses the line. "We saw two people actually having sex in the sand," said Nat Gale from Hartford, Conn. "Their friends were all around them. Everyone was trying not to look but they were looking."

Because nobody complained to authorities, it's questionable whether the couple could have been convicted of committing a lewd and lascivious act. Florida courts have ruled that an unsuspecting member of the public must be offended before somebody can be convicted of the crime.

State Sen. Mike Fasano and State Rep. John Legg, both Republicans from New Port Richey, want to broaden the law by letting law enforcement officers decide whether an act is offensive. Their bill has the support of the Florida Sheriffs' Association.

Some officers complain they have become powerless to enforce prostitution and indecency statutes, especially when they occur in nonpublic places such as strip clubs.

The legislation was motivated by two officers who witnessed a couple have sex at an adult movie theater. A prosecutor dismissed indecency charges against the couple because no one besides the police had complained.

Legg said his bill is intended to clear up "ambiguity in the law."

But James Benjamin, a Broward County defense attorney and member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association, called the bill "blatantly unconstitutional."

"You cannot allow the police to become the arbitrator of morality," Benjamin said.

He said the courts created the higher threshold after police raided a swingers' party. Naked people were having sex, but it was consensual and no money was exchanged. Because it was in a private home, prosecutors could not argue that the rights of the public were being violated.

When Benjamin first raised the objections of free speech and privacy, members of the House Criminal Justice committee said they worried that the bill would enable police to arrest teens for "dirty dancing."

On Wednesday, the Committee passed an amended version that said, "Lewdness is to be determined by what a reasonable member of the public might find substantially offensive."

Luke Lirot, a defense lawyer from Pasco County who represents strip clubs, said the bill is still problematic because moral standards will differ between a "Muslim police officer" and a "police officer who goes to nudist resorts on the weekends, of which there are many."

Opinions also may vary between a husband and wife. Norm and Wanda Gagnon, visiting Daytona Beach from Rollinsford, N.H., strolled Monday into a crowd of frolicking breakers near the Seabreeze Avenue beach ramp.

They agreed that sex on the beach and topless women were indecent, but differed on thongs and sexy swimwear. "Depends who the thong's on," said Norm Gagnon.

"I think it's cheapening" to women, said Wanda Gagnon. But then, she said, "you're asking a man versus a woman."

Daytona Beach Police Sgt. Al Tolley said existing laws have been sufficient for his department to deal with lewd behavior in public places. In the case of the couple having sex on the beach, he said they could have been charged for being in the public view. The law would have a greater impact in places like strip clubs.

"If the law were changed, there might be requests for more police investigations," Tolley said.

Breakers said they don't complain about obscenity because they come to Daytona Beach with certain expectations.

"You want to go somewhere there's a lot of stuff going on," said Bryan Arruda, of Moorestown, N.J. "I wouldn't want to be in, like, Melbourne."

At the pool deck of the Desert Inn, Dequan James, 18, of Pistcataway, N.J., stood with Mardi Gras beads around his neck, preparing to negotiate. His friends stood by with video cameras. Though it was only 3 p.m., many students were drunk and becoming bold. The flashing and favors, James explained, work both ways.

"When the girls have beads they ask you to show your stuff," he said. Asked whether he was nervous that police might take him away for exposing himself, James shrugged. "I don't worry about it. That's the tradition, isn't it?"

jim.haug@news-jrnl.com

virginia.smith@news-jrnl.com


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: aims; bill; donutwatch; floriduh; give; govwatch; leo; libertarians; moral; police; powers; springbreak; to
this is one of the worst ideas ive come across in a long time this is almost the dictionary definition of police state i think the church should have teach morals and the cops should stick to collecting bribe money from drug dealers and gangbangers
1 posted on 03/17/2005 7:24:17 AM PST by freepatriot32
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To: Annie03; Baby Bear; BJClinton; BlackbirdSST; Blue Jays; BroncosFan; Capitalism2003; dAnconia; ...
Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here.
2 posted on 03/17/2005 7:24:54 AM PST by freepatriot32 (Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, a pantomime horse in which both men are playing the rear end. M.Steyn)
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To: freepatriot32

Perhaps there are too many taboos on sex and not enough on murder.


3 posted on 03/17/2005 7:34:21 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: freepatriot32

Oh, the humanity! Imagine a world where the police can stop two people from screwing on a public beach! Next thing you know, these fascists will be opening up a concentration camp in Daytona! I'm moving to Canada.


4 posted on 03/17/2005 7:36:09 AM PST by beeler (Shoot first, ask questions later.)
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To: freepatriot32
For all the assumed adult beliefs of conservatives, anybody who thinks that cops shouldn't arrest people for f*#@ing on a public beach, needs to quit watching all the teeny bopper skin flicks and GROW UP
I remember an awful lot of people getting peaved about the janet jackson/justin timberlake fiasco.
I'd say shagging on a public beach with thousands of people around is wrong.
and the difference between an adult and a liberal democrat child, is that an adult stands for what is right.
5 posted on 03/17/2005 7:46:19 AM PST by mountn man
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To: mountn man

I agree, people complaining about government legislating morality are almost always the ones that force them to by not using common sense and recognizing considerations for the "rights" of those around them.


6 posted on 03/17/2005 7:55:59 AM PST by deepFR
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To: deepFR

But under the existing laws, police can already arrest people having sex in public...IF someone is offended/complains. That seems like the right approach.


7 posted on 03/17/2005 9:24:50 AM PST by ellery (Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: ellery
/Sarcasm

In the News today:
An unidentified man robbed the 1st national bank of $1 million in cash...

As the criminal escaped, police were in a quandary, and confused..
It seems no one had actually complained, so they were unsure whether they could arrest him..

In the ensuing confusion the robber made a clean getaway..

/Sarcasm

8 posted on 03/17/2005 9:30:15 AM PST by Drammach (Freedom; not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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To: Drammach
motivated by two officers who witnessed a couple have sex at an adult movie theater.

That movie must've sucked...

9 posted on 03/17/2005 9:50:16 AM PST by Gilbo_3 (Patience is a virtue, but it aint one of mine !!!)
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To: freepatriot32

"State Sen. Mike Fasano and State Rep. John Legg, both Republicans from New Port Richey, want to broaden the law by letting law enforcement officers decide whether an act is offensive. Their bill has the support of the Florida Sheriffs' Association."

They call themselves Conservatives? Who sets morals? God or Government?


"Some officers complain they have become powerless to enforce prostitution and indecency statutes, especially when they occur in nonpublic places such as strip clubs."

Good! Maybe these officers should spend their time on CRIME!


10 posted on 03/17/2005 10:14:55 AM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/foundingoftheunitedstates.htm)
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To: mountn man

If a couple boinks on the beach and nobody complains, is it an offense?

What the police are worried about is people telling them, RIGHTLY, to keep their noses out of places they should not be.

Cops want to be obeyed. It is a sickness. The world would be much better when more people tell cops to shove it.


11 posted on 03/17/2005 10:46:01 AM PST by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending.)
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To: eno_
There is this thing you obviously aren't familiar with, its called moral clarity. Its when something is wrong, and you do something about it, whether or not someone complains or not.

I'm not for cops with attitudes, just because they're cops. But I'm even less for people with attitudes against cops, just because they're cops. The police are here to enforce laws. Laws are needed because some people feel the need to infringe on other people.

We have things happening in the world that aren't right. This country has the moral clarity that most of the rest of the world doesn't have. People resent this country because of our moral clarity.

Having moral clarity and acting on it, despite what others think, they call that INTEGRITY

12 posted on 03/17/2005 11:33:33 AM PST by mountn man
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To: freepatriot32
State Sen. Mike Fasano and State Rep. John Legg, both Republicans from New Port Richey, want to broaden the law by letting law enforcement officers decide whether an act is offensive.

I believe the police in Saudi Arabia and Yemen already have this power. Maybe these "Republicans" are trying to bring back the best attribrutes of the Taliban by giving men with guns the power to enforce morality as they see it.

13 posted on 03/17/2005 11:45:52 AM PST by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: freepatriot32
Naked people were having sex, but it was consensual and no money was exchanged.

The Horror!

Because it was in a private home, prosecutors could not argue that the rights of the public were being violated.

Dang, what a shame.

14 posted on 03/17/2005 11:49:31 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: beeler

"Oh, the humanity! Imagine a world where the police can stop two people from screwing on a public beach!"

It was a bad example for the writer to use as there are already laws on the books that prohibit that. In the case cited in the article no none complained. If there is not a complaint how can the police respond in the first place?


15 posted on 03/17/2005 11:53:42 AM PST by Rebelbase (Member, National Rightwing Blogger Mafia.)
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To: Rebelbase
Police respond and act on issues where no complaint is lodged all the time. If you get pulled over for speeding do you think it's because someone complained? I don't see what you're trying to say.
16 posted on 03/17/2005 12:00:34 PM PST by beeler (Shoot first, ask questions later.)
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To: freepatriot32

Sounds like a perfect setup for police to openly (rather than subtly as is now the case) extort contributions for their "charitable" outfits.


17 posted on 03/17/2005 12:01:12 PM PST by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: beeler

How can the police charge you with public sex acts if they didn't see you and no one complained?


18 posted on 03/17/2005 12:05:52 PM PST by Rebelbase (Member, National Rightwing Blogger Mafia.)
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To: freepatriot32

A much needed small step in the right direction toward decency.


19 posted on 03/17/2005 12:07:45 PM PST by balch3
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To: beeler
....at risk of being called a 'statist' by our freedom defending friends, I'll take a raincheck on coming upon such a scene while trying to have a nice day at the beach..........

.....I dunno, maybe I should just change the channel.

20 posted on 03/17/2005 12:13:58 PM PST by He Rides A White Horse (unite)
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To: beeler
If you get pulled over for speeding do you think it's because someone complained?

In that case the chief complained about not having enough money for toys.

Speeding, by the way, is NOT a crime. Not even a misdemeanor. Speeding is a civil infraction. Why, you may ask? So the cops can pull money out of your pocket WITHOUT a complaint being filed.

Or do you actually WANT cops deciding when something is a crime?

Do you GET IT? The Founders built a system that was explicitly sceptical of the government gettting anything right. How many cops per citizen were there at the founding?

21 posted on 03/17/2005 12:14:32 PM PST by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending.)
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To: mountn man

Obviously everyone on that beach thought otherwise. Everyone! 100% of them. And the cops can't take a hint? They now want to decide when to act, without the basis of a complaint?

It goes back to wanting to always be obeyed. And that is a sickness.


22 posted on 03/17/2005 12:17:56 PM PST by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending.)
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To: eno_
Do you GET IT? The Founders built a system that was explicitly sceptical of the government gettting anything right.

Give it a rest eno...........really there is no prudishness involved here. Some people like the beach and don't need to witness this sort of thing...........as the old saying goes, "get a room".

23 posted on 03/17/2005 12:18:09 PM PST by He Rides A White Horse (unite)
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To: He Rides A White Horse

And you know that, how? The remarkable thing about this is that nobody complained. Clearly, they didn't think it was a police matter. At which point the cops should STFU and go get a donut.


24 posted on 03/17/2005 12:25:43 PM PST by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending.)
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To: eno_

How many people were screwing on public beaches in broad daylight during the time of the founding? If a locality decides it's a crime to screw in public places, then so be it.


25 posted on 03/17/2005 12:32:25 PM PST by beeler (Shoot first, ask questions later.)
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To: eno_
Obviously everyone on that beach thought otherwise. Everyone! 100% of them. And the cops can't take a hint? They now want to decide when to act, without the basis of a complaint? It goes back to wanting to always be obeyed. And that is a sickness.

Let me take a wild guess here. Your under 25 years old. If not you live in some trailer park or flea bag condo/ apartment somewhere.

A little free advise. You obviously have a stick up your rectum about cops. Its not about whether they were invited. They were enforcing a law .

You need to grow up.

26 posted on 03/17/2005 12:33:19 PM PST by mountn man
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To: beeler
The legislation was motivated by two officers who witnessed a couple have sex at an adult movie theater.

I thought seeing that was why people went to adult movie theaters.

27 posted on 03/17/2005 1:18:40 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Conservatives wish to preserve existing evils. Liberals want to replace them with new ones)
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To: mountn man

FYI, I live in an architect designed 4 bedroom custom on six acres inside of route 495, in the lovely state of taxachusetts, where paid details suck money out of my pocket. Nonetheless I could buy and sell your daughter.

Remember: Envy is a cardinal sin. Perhaps we ought to make it an arrestable offense.


28 posted on 03/17/2005 1:22:14 PM PST by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending.)
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To: beeler
Oh, the humanity! Imagine a world where the police can stop two people from screwing on a public beach!

You don't have to imagine it.

Daytona Beach Police Sgt. Al Tolley said existing laws have been sufficient for his department to deal with lewd behavior in public places.

29 posted on 03/17/2005 1:23:21 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Conservatives wish to preserve existing evils. Liberals want to replace them with new ones)
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To: Oztrich Boy

Regardless of what inspired the legislation, it would still prevent your kids from accidentally walking up on idiot college students screwing each other on a public beach in Florida. But hey, if you don't think that's a bad thing, you can always move to France.


30 posted on 03/17/2005 1:23:23 PM PST by beeler (Shoot first, ask questions later.)
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To: beeler
How many people were screwing on public beaches in broad daylight during the time of the founding?

As many as, I suppose, wanted to. And NOBODY FREAKIN GOT THEIR PANTIES TWISTED. Where do you suppose the natives got it on? At the Red Roof Inn?

31 posted on 03/17/2005 1:24:13 PM PST by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending.)
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To: mountn man

The Taliban has the moral clarity that most of the rest of the world doesn't have. People resent the Taliban because of their moral clarity.


32 posted on 03/17/2005 1:27:14 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Conservatives wish to preserve existing evils. Liberals want to replace them with new ones)
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To: eno_
I have a very hard time imagining acts of public sex were common or even considered at the time of the Founding. As far as the natives go, they weren't called savages for nuthin'.
33 posted on 03/17/2005 1:27:25 PM PST by beeler (Shoot first, ask questions later.)
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To: beeler
I have a very hard time imagining acts of public sex were common or even considered at the time of the Founding.

Ha! Go to one of those 18 c. re-creation things with the olde houses and etc. You would probably prefer to Do It outdoors.

34 posted on 03/17/2005 1:34:06 PM PST by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending.)
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To: freepatriot32
If you want "morality police", go move to Iran or Saudi Arabia.

This is dangerious move because mortality laws such as this are not concrete and can be easily abuse.

35 posted on 03/17/2005 1:40:26 PM PST by Paul C. Jesup
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To: mountn man
The police are here to enforce laws.

But they are not here to make or define laws, which seems to be then intent of this bill.

36 posted on 03/18/2005 5:46:09 AM PST by murdoog
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To: mountn man
There is this thing you obviously aren't familiar with, its called moral clarity. Its when something is wrong, and you do something about it, whether or not someone complains or not.

The only proper role for government in a free society is to protect the rights of the citizens. Even if someone commits an act that is morally wrong, the government should not punish them for that act unless it harms the person or property of another.

37 posted on 03/18/2005 7:03:48 AM PST by Modernman ("They're not people, they're hippies!"- Cartman)
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To: beeler
Regardless of what inspired the legislation, it would still prevent your kids from accidentally walking up on idiot college students screwing each other on a public beach in Florida.

There were already laws on the books that would have allowed the police to arrest that couple if someone complained. If no one complains, that means no law has been broken.

38 posted on 03/18/2005 7:08:23 AM PST by Modernman ("They're not people, they're hippies!"- Cartman)
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To: beeler
Police respond and act on issues where no complaint is lodged all the time. If you get pulled over for speeding do you think it's because someone complained? I don't see what you're trying to say.

Traffic court is an entirely different world. You are presumed guilty there. Not a good comparison.

39 posted on 03/18/2005 7:16:00 AM PST by Teacher317
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To: freepatriot32
Some officers complain they have become powerless to enforce prostitution and indecency statutes, especially when they occur in nonpublic places such as strip clubs.
"Indecency" in a nonpublic place falls under the MYOB category.

-Eric

40 posted on 03/18/2005 7:18:10 AM PST by E Rocc
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To: balch3
A much needed small step in the right direction toward decency.

-Eric

41 posted on 03/18/2005 7:23:01 AM PST by E Rocc
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To: E Rocc
"Indecency" in a nonpublic place falls under the MYOB category.

BTTT.

Nobody is forced to go to a strip club or swinger party. If what goes on in such nonpublic settings isn't your thing, spend your time elsewhere.

42 posted on 03/18/2005 7:40:00 AM PST by Modernman ("They're not people, they're hippies!"- Cartman)
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To: Modernman
Uh, again, I support local legislation that would prohibit people from screwing on public beaches so that children won't accidentally walk up and inadvertently view the spectacle. Do we really have to insist that someone complains about public sex acts before the cops put a stop to it?
43 posted on 03/18/2005 8:25:48 PM PST by beeler (Shoot first, ask questions later.)
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To: Teacher317

Maybe not a perfect comparison, but the idea can be applied to any situation. Take prostitution or drug dealing for example.


44 posted on 03/18/2005 8:29:31 PM PST by beeler (Shoot first, ask questions later.)
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To: traviskicks
"Who sets morals? God or Government?"

Most of them, rather than having been set from the top down, are probably set through evolution...they just evolve, I think.

45 posted on 03/18/2005 8:33:13 PM PST by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: beeler
Daytona Beach Police Sgt. Al Tolley said existing laws have been sufficient for his department to deal with lewd behavior in public places. In the case of the couple having sex on the beach, he said they could have been charged for being in the public view. The law would have a greater impact in places like strip clubs.

Again the laws are there for public places. The religious police now want to be permitted to control private behavioure in non-public places.

46 posted on 03/19/2005 8:30:18 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Conservatives wish to preserve existing evils. Liberals want to replace them with new ones)
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To: Oztrich Boy
Of course, I agree that the laws should be limited to public places, but some of our more capital "L"ibertarian friends would insist that anything should go in any instance.
47 posted on 03/20/2005 4:46:50 PM PST by beeler (Shoot first, ask questions later.)
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To: Oztrich Boy; All
Death at 'immoral' picnic in the park=(shite aka iran style moral police)
48 posted on 03/24/2005 8:42:35 AM PST by freepatriot32 (Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, a pantomime horse in which both men are playing the rear end. M.Steyn)
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