In East Naples, Florida, on the Tamiami Trail portion of US 41:
police arrested a local man who refused to pay for his soft drink at McDonald’s.
Due to his preexisting record (combined with Florida’s version of the three-strikes law) his misdemeanor charge was upgraded to a felony, and what started as a $1 menu item could cost him up to 5 years incarceration.
All I know about this case is in the link posted above, but I have a feeling that some of the following might be true:
- he comes in frequently?
- he had no money?
- workers were fed up with him?
- whoever called the cops didn’t know about the three-strikes provisions?
- he has a history of mental illness or mental imbalance?
- Florida taxpayers don’t want to pay thousands of dollars to convict and incarcerate anyone over a $1 charge?
- the difference between plain water and Water+Soft Drink Syrup is probably about $0.05, or less than the cost of the cup?
A judge with common sense might throw this out of court, but in some cases the three-strikes laws tie the hands of the judiciary.