First Florida Conviction Railroads Used Car Salesman

It was an unhappy Thanksgiving for Panagiotis Frangiskakis. He runs a used car business in Lake Worth, on land that used to belong to a cab company, which included a small tower. Frangiskakis rented out office and tower space to people who ran two Haitian FM pirate stations from the premises.
Investigations into those stations began in February. In June, the stations were raided and Frangiskakis was charged with unlawful transmission – a state felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Note Frangiskakis did not actually broadcast himself: he was just the landlord. The authorities never figured out who actually ran the stations.
Frangiskakis ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, “attempted unlawful transmission,” in November. He did so, according to his lawyer, “just to get it behind him.” In exchange he received a sentence including a year’s probation and 25 hours of community service. The court also ordered him to destroy his tower and make two charitable contributions totaling $2,850 – the amount he made in rent from the pirates.
Frangiskakis is not the first person to be charged under Florida’s anti-pirate law, but he’s the first to be convicted and sentenced. This guilty plea is a disingenuous victory. Sometimes the pursuit of law-and-order runs roughshod over common sense and long-established jurisdictional precedent.
Then there is jackass prosecutor Timothy Beckwith: “the concerns about pirated signals” include their magical ability to “affect radio signals used by law enforcement during hostage negotiations.” Excuse me? Where the f*ck did that come from?