The United States has been widely criticized for sentences that continue to rise across the federal and state criminal codes. Politicians love to increase sentences to advance their public persona as “tough-on-crime” leaders. Now, Canada has granted a Florida mother asylum from the United States over what the immigration court viewed as an excessive sentence. Denise Harvey, 47, was convicted of five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor in 2008. The minor was the 16-year-old friend of her son. She and her family fled to Canada to avoid 30 years in jail for the sexual relationship.
Harvey was still on bail when she fled Florida where prosecutors insisted that a 30 year sentence was just. She was later arrested in Saskatchewan in April 2011.
She can now apply for Canadian citizenship.
The decision is highly unusual but offers a glimpse into the growing divide between the United States and other countries on sentencing. This was a despicable act but this was a consensual relationship with a boy who was two years away from the age of consent. Florida law states:
794.05 Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors.–
(1) A person 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this section, “sexual activity” means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
The 30 year sentence in Florida is wildly out of sync with other states and countries. It is notable that this case follows another case before the Florida Supreme Court where prosecutors secured an 80 year sentence for a man who fired a gun four times in the air — or 20 years per bullet. The justices expressed doubt that they could do anything about the outrageously excessive sentence. It appears that Canada did not feel so constrained in the face of such sentencings.
Source: Daily Mail