The “courtesy” cup

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.


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