A Florida couple has been made an example of. An example of what will and will not be tolerated on Florida beaches.
Monday, a jury deliberated for only 15 minutes to find 40-year-old Jose Caballero and 20-year-old Elissa Alvarez guilty on two counts each of lewd and lascivious behavior for having been caught having sex on Bradenton Beach on July 20th of last year. The trial lasted a mere day and a half and included a video of the event. The couple was allegedly seen during this sexual liaison by a 3-year-old as well. This video was used against them in court.
What this video showed was Elissa ‘moving’ on top of Jose ‘in a sexual manner.’
The defense, attorney Ronald Kurpiers, tried to use the fact that no genitalia was seen in the video to prove that saying the couple were having sex was speculating.
“You folks cannot speculate,” he said to the jury. “And in order to say they had intercourse, you would have to speculate.”
The defense also went so far as to say that she was dancing on him or ‘nudging’ him to wake him up. The prosecution, headed by Assistant State Attorney Anthony Dafonseca, were beside themselves with the attempt to insult the intelligence of both the jury and the court, saying during closing arguments, “She wasn't dancing.” It's insulting your intelligence to say that she was dancing.”
What some are seeing as a bit more controversial, however, is the fact that Dafonseca is pursuing harsher charges for Jose than for Elissa, all based on the fact that he’s a prior felon – having served almost 8 years for trafficking in cocaine. He had been out of prison less than three years.

Some of this may be due to them not accepting the offer the state had set forth.

“We gave them a reasonable offer, what we felt was reasonable, and they decided it wasn't something they wanted to accept responsibility for. Despite the video, despite all the witnesses.” Dafonseca said.

He added that it was ‘important that the community knew what wouldn't be tolerated on public beaches.’

“We're dealing with basically tourists [that witnessed the events], that came from Brandon and Riverview and West Virginia, and they're here on the beaches of Manatee County, our public beaches,” he said. “So you want to make sure that this isn't something that just goes by the wayside. And that it is well-known to the community, what will be tolerated and what won't be.”

“Did they try to cuddle, or do it discreetly? Did they go in the water, where people couldn't see?” Ed Brodsky, state attorney for the 16th judicial district posed to the jury. “Did Ms. Alvarez try to drape a towel over herself, or anything? They didn't care.”

Family members are upset at just how much attention this case is getting and the fact that it’s a clear example of making an example out of people that may not be so deserving of it.

Jose’s mother, as might be expected, said, “He's a great person. There are other things out there we need to worry about, and they're still loose, people who have done worse stuff.”

Elissa’s father, Carlos Alvarez, said, “She's an 18-year-old woman, with a 40-year-old man. I always say women can be better than men … but they fall in love, and they make a lot of mistakes.”

They face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and they will have to register as sex offenders. A sentencing date has not been announced thus far.