Pompano Beach, Florida – According to the Miami Herald, Stephen Knapp, 37, and Richard Lewis, 43 were arrested last week for allegedly stealing jewelry from a Broward elderly couple. The Broward Sheriff’s Office claims that the duo operated a home cleaning service called “Mister Maid” which gave them access to the inside of the elderly couple’s home. After stealing jewelry from their clients, Knapp and Lewis allegedly pawned the items to support their addiction to Roxicodone pain pills.
For those who are unaware, Roxicodone is an extremely addictive narcotic pain medication. It works by dulling the pain perception center in the brain. Roxicodone is also one of the main narcotics behind the pain pill epidemic in South Florida.
Given the fact that these two provided their fingerprints when pawning the stolen property, the likelihood of beating their criminal cases may be slim. Because their victims are senior citizens, the duo is also subject to enhanced penalties for elderly exploitation.
It is no secret that mental health disorders exist symbiotically with substance abuse problems. Before deciding on any legal strategy, it may be worthwhile to subject Knapp and Lewis to mental health evaluations.
Even though their underlying motivation may be based on drug addiction, their case will not qualify for drug court because they are accused of stealing. Moreover, the fact that their case is enhanced by the elderly nature of the alleged victims, drug court would not accept their case.
However, in the unlikely event that the victims are sympathetic to the duo, and do not demand hefty prison sentences, it may be possible to ask the judge for a mitigated sentence based on the need to treat a true mental health disorder that is driving drug addiction and the criminal conduct that transpired in this case. Of course, Knapp and Lewis would have to take responsibility for their actions early in the progression of the case. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the judge will mitigate any mandatory prison sentence.
However, when going to trial is not an option, the next best thing is to attack the sentence. By building a case based on mitigation, Knapp and Lewis may be able to minimize or avoid a potential prison sentence.