A local judge decided to suspend the sentence for a man convicted of exposing himself in public, urinating on a police car, and then destroying $1,400+ of government property.
Way back in March of 2017, 23-year-old Juan Espinoza-Cortez was arrested and charged with intoxicated endangerment and indecent exposure after exposing his genitals to Ocean City police officers and proceeding to urinate on their police cruiser.
But that isn't how the police encounter started. Officers first encountered Mr. Espinoza-Cortez earlier in the day. They saw that he was intoxicated but determined he did not need police assistance at the time. Apparently, they were wrong.
Just 20 minutes later, Ocean City police officers noticed Espinoza-Cortez running across Coastal Highway, violently waving his arms at oncoming traffic and shouting at each car that passed. Eventually, an officer positioned his police cruiser in a nearby parking lot and the intoxicated man started stumbling towards him.
Mid-stumble, Espinoza-Cortez had decided to expose his genitals and begin urinating on the sidewalk. When he finally reached the police car, he grabbed onto the fender and finished his "business." Despite being instructed by an Ocean City Police Officer not
to relieve himself on police property, Espinoza-Cortez would not stop.
Sorry, bro, I just can’t help it," he explained to the officers, "You know how it is.”
When police apprehended Espinoza-Cortez and booked him into jail, he began shouting expletives and destroyed government property. First, he destroyed a police security camera (valued at $1,400) and then he began repeatedly punching the ceiling light, causing the light fixture to break. At that point, police tacked on an additional malicious destruction of property charges.
Amazingly, when the case made it to trial, the sympathetic Judge seemed "know how it is." While Juan Espinoza-Cortez was sentenced to 90 days in jail for his crime spree, all but one of those days ended up being suspended.
So for his drunkenly running through the streets, exposing himself to the public, urinating on a police cruiser, and causing more than $1,400 in damage to public property, Juan Espinoza-Cortez served just one day behind bars.
Perhaps there was some other extenuating circumstances that led the Judge to go easy on him, but if Ocean City has any hope of restoring it's family vacation destination image, they are going to crack down on these indecent exposure cases. That will likely be the only way they can dissuade tourists from treating the town like their own private bathroom when they visit. Forcing Juan Espinoza-Cortez to spend one day in jail isn't going to scare anyone into keeping their pants up.
But maybe the fact that we even need to threaten people with jail time to make them keep their pants up shows just how hard it is going to be for Ocean City to clean up its image.
I usually travel to Ocean City with my family every summer and after my son is born this winter, I will still likely bring him to the beach next season. But I know many repeat and first-time visitors this year who said they won't be back. Sooner or later, the town is going to have to do something.