And you’ll be shaking your head when you see the ‘recommended’ sentences for that crime.
In Florida, a vandal paid a visit to a local Mosque, was charged with criminal mischief, and plead guilty.
If he knew what his sentence was to be, he might have thought twice about pleading guilty.
Here is the dumbass as he was caught on the mosque’s ‘candid camera’.
Michael Wolfe, 37, plead guilty to “criminal mischief at a place of worship” after he smashed windows and lights with a machete at a Central Florida mosque in January 2016. The sentence contained a “hate crime enhancement” and Wolfe received 15 years in prison and 15 years of probation. He was also sentenced as a “habitual offender.”
As a final twist of the knife, he left bacon behind at the Mosque.
Normally, what would the sentencing guidelines look like?
Criminal Mischief is, for all intents and purposes, “vandalism”. In Florida, this property crime may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the extent of damage, the nature of the property involved, and whether the accused person has prior convictions for the same offense.
…a person commits the offense of criminal mischief if he or she willfully and maliciously injures or damages, by any means, any real or personal property belonging to another, including, but not limited to, the placement of graffiti thereon, or other acts of vandalism thereto…
…Felony criminal mischief charges may also be brought if the property involved is a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, or any religious article contained therein. However, the damages under this scenario must exceed $200.00. If not, the person will be prosecuted for a misdemeanor (assuming, of course, that the state can prove its case). The same principles apply if the property involved is a sexually violent predator detention or commitment facility.
Source: HG Legal Resources
Let’s stop there for a second. In some instances, those who vandalize a religious building can theoretically walk away without any hard time at all.
Continuing from the same source:
If the act constituting criminal mischief involves, specifically, the placement graffiti, then the court is required to impose certain fine amounts in addition to any other penalty. For a first offense, the fine amount is not less than $250.00, for a second offense, the fine amount is not less than $500.00, and for a third or subsequent offense, the fine amount is not less than $1,000.00. Also, the accused person will be required to “perform at least 40 hours of community service and, if possible, perform at least 100 hours of community service than involves the removal of graffiti”. Payment of restitution to the property owner, to cover the cost of the damages, will be imposed in all cases.
So, do you have a sense of scale yet?
For a crime of this nature, we go from possibly no prison at all, maybe a fine up to $1000.00 — and that even includes targeting a religious building. By its nature, vandalism of ANY religious building should have the assumption of ‘hate’ toward that particular institution baked in, don’t you think?
But this guy got 15 years, plus 15 probation. That’s thirty years involvement with the justice system. Over a single act of vandalism!
Want another Floridian reference point?
Florida prosecutes manslaughter as a second degree felony, which may result in a term of imprisonment for up to fifteen years, a fine of an amount up to $10,000, or both. There is a mandatory minimum of 9 ¼ years if convicted.
The MAXIMUM sentence for killing a guy under manslaughter charges is ALSO 15 years. But some sentences will be only 2/3 that duration.
How did this vandal’s sentence get ramped up to 15 years?