Eric Shaw was arrested recently for battery on a person over 65. The Palm Beach Post reports that Shaw, age 73, grabbed and shook another member of his condo association.
Shaw faces a felony conviction and up to five years in prison. What is interesting, however, is that if the exact same thing had happened just 5 years ago, Shaw would have been charged with a misdemeanor and would be facing only one year in the county jail.
The reason for the drastic difference in penalty is the age of the alleged victim, who was 69 years old. In Florida, the law punishes defendants more severely when the victim is over the age of 65.
Assuming this is Shaw’s first offense, he will likely not actually spend any more time in jail. If I represented him, I would probably be seeking a diversion which would allow him to get his charges dropped if he did some anger management classes and stayed out of trouble. It’s hard to say whether the prosecutor will offer such a deal here without knowing more about the case. But that resolution seems reasonable.
Hopefully, Shaw finds himself a good lawyer.