A Florida man is facing up to 30 years in prison for pouring water on his older brother during a fight over a slice of key lime pie.
David Sherman Powelson, 64, was arrested last week and charged with one count of first-degree felony aggravated battery on a person 65 or older, even though he is less than a year younger than his 65-year-old brother. The incident took place on February 15 when the police received a 911 call about a physical domestic dispute between Powelson and his brother.
According to the affidavit obtained by Law & Crime, Powelson was infuriated that his brother had eaten a key lime pie that had been in the refrigerator for several days, and he poured two large glasses of water on him to cool him down. The victim then became upset, leading to an argument that escalated into Powelson emptying two glasses of water on his brother, who feared that his brother’s aggressive behavior could lead to physical harm or even death.
Despite the fact that the victim suffered no physical harm, Powelson was still transported to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Jail and booked, facing a possible minimum term of imprisonment of three years and a maximum of up to 30 years in state prison, with a fine of up to $10,000.
Some legal experts have criticized the charge, saying that it is an example of over-criminalization and that the punishment is disproportionate to the crime. Powelson’s defense attorney, Robert Harris, also argued that the charge was excessive, stating that “Pouring water on somebody over a piece of pie, it just doesn’t make any sense.”
The case has attracted national attention, with many criticizing the criminal justice system for punishing Powelson so severely for such a minor offense. Some have argued that the case is indicative of the larger problem of over-criminalization in America, where even the most minor infractions can lead to severe penalties.
Others have noted that the charge is particularly harsh given that the victim suffered no physical harm, and that the punishment seems to be disproportionate to the crime. Critics of the charge have also pointed out that the incident was a family dispute that could have been resolved without involving the criminal justice system.
As the case moves forward, many are calling for a review of Florida’s laws to ensure that they are not overly harsh and do not criminalize minor offenses. Some legal experts have also called for more discretion on the part of prosecutors and judges to avoid situations where people are punished severely for minor infractions.