Veteran Miami-Dade police officer Fernando Castillo was sent to prison after having sex with a 19-year-old drunken driver on the hood of her car. The Miami Herald says prosecutors called it a case of unlawful compensation: He got sex for not arresting her.
The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in the case, which could affect cases involving crooked public officials: Can the conviction stand if there was never an explicit agreement to trade sex for freedom? A Miami appeals court says no.
The Herald says that public-corruption prosecutors believe their hands would be tied if the high court agrees that evidence of a verbal discussion is needed in cases of unlawful compensation — the same charge in many cases involving bribery of public officials. Prosecutors say it’s tough enough to convict officials who tacitly receive and make payoffs with only winks and nods.
Prosecutors couldn’t charge Castillo with sexual assault because it was difficult to prove the act was not consensual, and the victim’s memory was hazy. The victim said she felt pressured to have sex with Castillo.
An appeals court voided the conviction, saying that, “in the absence of any spoken understanding, Castillo could simply have thought that [the woman] followed him voluntarily,” Consuelo Maingot, an assistant state attorney general, disagreed. She told the Supreme Court: “In this case, we needed to show the corrupt intent and that’s all in the mind of the officer,”