A man has been found guilty of one count of aggravated stalking and several counts of misdemeanor violation of injunction for allegedly following, harassing, and sending over 700 emails to Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
The accused allegedly contact Sarnoff to represent him in an action against a police union. As a sitting city commissioner, Sarnoff allegedly refused to assist the man as such representation would have been a conflict of interest.
According to Sarnoff and other state witnesses, the man then began a nearly year-long campaign of harassing Sarnoff through emails, by following him, and by making threats over the phone.
Sarnoff obtained a permanent injunction against the accused, but the accused allegedly continued to stalk and harass Sarnoff.
Back in 2012, the man was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking, harassing phone calls (a misdemeanor), and violation of an injunction.
The accused exercised his right to a jury trial but was found guilty. When he is sentenced later this month, he faces approximately 11 years in Florida state prison.
Aggravated stalking is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in state prison.
Stalking - normally a misdemeanor - becomes “aggravated” when you commit the crime of stalking against somebody who has an injunction (restraining order) against you, when you stalk somebody while making a credible threat of violence toward them, or stalk somebody under the age of 16.
A person who “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks” another commits the crime of stalking.
Aggravated stalking cannot be sealed if a withhold of adjudication is imposed. It is also considered a violent crime and can be the basis of many “career criminal” enhancements if you are arrested for future crimes.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense lawyer serving clients charged with stalking and aggravated stalking in Miami-Dade and Broward.