9/28/2005As Chicago Retreats, Florida Makes Jaywalking a Felony
Chicago, Illinois drops plan for crossing guard-issued jaywalking tickets as Orange County, Florida makes jaywalking moms into felons.
As ridicule and public protest forced Chicago, Illinois Mayor Richard M. Daley to drop a jaywalking ticket crackdown yesterday, Orange County, Florida prosecutors are advancing a plan to levy felony charges against mothers who make unauthorized street crossings.
Daley's short-lived proposal would have allowed crossing guards to issue jaywalking tickets worth up to $500. Daley dropped the plan the day before pedestrians had prepared to rally in protest of the crackdown. A number of Aldermen had also come out strongly opposed to the ticketing plan.
In Florida, Orange County prosecutors are asking local police to arrest mothers seen crossing the street with children outside of a crosswalk. Prosecutors believe they can charge offenders with felony child neglect.
Florida law (827.03) states that child neglect charges, "may be based on repeated conduct or on a single incident or omission that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death, to a child." The maximum punishment for the offense is a $5000 fine and five years in prison.
"Going in between roadways at night time, especially, in dark clothing with their hands full and having your children -- that raises it to a different level," State Attorney's Office representative Randy Means told WESH-TV News. "That's a very serious charge and that could be charged as a felony."