Oh Florida, here we go again. Generally it’s the average Joes and Janes making the news for crazy allegations, now it’s the cops. 32-year-old Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Ted Arboleda is accused of foregoing a legitimate arrest of a woman in exchange for her offer of oral sex. Arboleda is said to have made routine contact with the woman at a local gas station where he found her to be without a valid driver’s license, in possession of marijuana, and in possession of an unlabeled bottle of prescription medication, all while on felony probation. According to news reports, initially the woman tried to bargain with the good deputy with cash in exchange for him to look the other way, though that wasn’t convincing. Allegedly, in the course of the course of the skillful negotiation it was decided that not only would Arboleda not arrest the woman, he would drive her home where the oral sex is alleged to have occurred. According to news reports, Arboleda told the woman this was his first time in this kind of rodeo and that he ultimately, “could not believe he agreed” to what he’d done and told her not to tell anyone.
Yes, Ted. Good strategy. Tell the lady with the drug problem who just agreed to tune you up (allegedly) to keep quiet. No doubt she is the one you can rely upon to keep your dirty little secret. In all seriousness, Ted Arboleda is entitled to the same deference anyone else is when accused of a criminal offense. He is entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty, just as his accuser was when she was initially charged with her crimes. The reality of this situation is that it could come down to a he said she said incident, unless there is video footage, reliable eyewitness testimony, some type of GPS tracking system on his car, or Deputy Arboleda ignorantly elected to talk to the police. If none of that exists, if it comes down to his word against hers, chances are his word will prevail and I believe that’s how many criminal attorneys would handle this case, at least in part.
1. Deputy Ted Arboleda was a public servant.
2. Deputy Ted Arboleda agreed to accept or accepted money or some other benefit from the unknown woman.
3. The money or other benefit was something of value or advantage to Deputy Ted Arboleda and was not authorized by law.
4. The agreement to accept or acceptance was corruptly made for the past, present, or future performance, nonperformance or violation of any act or omission of Deputy Ted Arboleda that the unknown woman believed to be within the official discretion of Deputy Ted Arboleda.
Per Florida Statute § 838.014(6), “public servant” means, “any officer or employee of a state, county, municipal, or special district agency or entity.” No doubt about it, Deputy Arboleda is a public servant as defined by Florida law as he is a sheriff’s deputy. Florida Statute 838.014(1) defines “benefit” as a gain or advantage, or anything regarded by the person to be benefited as a gain or advantage, including the doing of an act beneficial to any person in whose welfare he or she is interested, including any commission, gift, gratuity, property, commercial interest, or any other thing of economic value not authorized by law.”
It may sound wild, but it wouldn’t be out of the question for an attorney to argue that Deputy Arboleda recognized that his contact with the woman was in violation of her 4th Amendment right and that his receipt of the oral sex wasn’t conditioned upon his election to not arrest her. An argument with less likelihood of success could be the argument over whether he actually received a “benefit” as defined under the law. Was oral sex from this woman some kind of advantage to him? Did he gain anything from the oral sex? At the end of the day, criminal defense lawyers are forced to play their game of poker with the hand their client deals them. Most of the time it’s bad, sometimes it’s good. Either way, creativity must often come in to play while advocating for your client.
If you’ve been charged with a crime in the Tampa Bay area, contact Jason Mayberry at 813-444-7435 or at 727-771-3847 for a free consultation.