Overcriminalization: Jail Time for Charging a Cell Phone, Drying Clothes

Did you know that you could be put in jail for charging your cell phone? Or for hanging your clothes out to dry? These are just two examples of recent events illustrating the burden that overcriminalization puts on the poorest among us.

Late last month, a homeless Floridaman, 28-year-old Darren Kersey, was arrested for charging his cell phone at a public charging station. The charge? “Theft of city utilities.”

Sergeant Anthony Frangioni justified his action in the police report, stating that “theft of city utilities will not be tolerated during this bad economy.”

How much does this so-called theft cost? “Cell phone chargers…run about seven cents a month,” said a spokesperson for Tampa Electric Company.

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