Five years ago, in June of 2012, an inmate of the Dade Correctional Institute was locked in a shower stall by prison guards as a form of punishment. The guards then turned the water temperature up to 180 degrees, which is hot enough to cook pasta. The man, who suffered from schizophrenia, screamed and kicked at the door, pleading to be let out, according to the Miami New Times. As a result, the inmate was killed after two hours of torture. Recently, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle decided not to press charges against the four prison guards who carried out the deed, despite ample evidence and witness accounts backing up the details of the event. According to Rundle’s office press release, “The shower was itself neither dangerous nor unsafe. The evidence does not show that Rainey’s well-being was grossly disregarded by the correctional staff.’’ According to inmates, the showers had routinely been used by guards to punish inmates for various reasons. The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for the necessity of a federal investigation into the matter.
Florida Criminal Charges For Torture
There is no specific statute that outlines the definition or penalties of torture in the state of Florida. A torture suspect may be charged with any number of crimes, including the following:
- Aggravated assault: Third to second degree felony, depending on circumstances and victim’s profession;
- Kidnapping and inflicting bodily harm upon or terrorizing the victim: 1st degree felony;
- False imprisonment: Third to first degree felony, depending on circumstances and age of victim;
- Female genital mutilation: Third to first degree felony, depending on circumstances and age of victim;
- Murder of the first degree: Life felony;
- Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult: First degree felony;
- Aggravated child abuse: First degree felony;
- Sexual battery of a child under the age of 12: Life felony.
A third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. A second degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. A first degree felony is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. A life or capital felony is punishable by the death sentence or life in prison. Whether death occurs or not, charges for torturing a victim can easily result in life in prison if you are found guilty.
Federal Torture Charges
Torture that is performed outside of the United States is defined by 18 U.S. Code § 2340 as an act that is intended to inflict unlawful severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon a person within control or custody of the perpetrator. A violation of this federal legal code is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. However, if death results, the punishment can be increased to life in prison or the death penalty.
Contact a West Palm Beach Attorney Today
If you are facing torture charges, do not hesitate to contact the Skier Law Firm today at (561) 220-3355. We are prepared to help you immediately.