Miami-Dade prosecutors will not be advancing their case against one of their Broward counterparts, accused of shoplifting from an Aventura Publix.
Prosecutors dropped the case against Broward County Assistant State Attorney Stacey Honowitz, whose attorney said the incident stemmed from a misunderstanding.
The Sun Sentinel broke the story.
Honowitz has practiced law for more than three decades. She was charged after a shopping trip when she allegedly placed in her purse three beauty products valued at $42.93, then left the supermarket without paying. She was charged with misdemeanor petty theft.
But her attorney maintains a distracted Honowitz had made an honest mistake, and had inadvertently placed the items in her purse, instead of the cart containing the rest of her purchases.
“Does she run out of the store?” asked her attorney Jayne Weintraub. “No. She lollygags over to the customer service line and waits in line for the lottery ticket. This is not a thief that’s running out of the store and getting away with it.”
Weintraub said her client was out shopping with her elderly parents and 10-year-old daughter on the day of the incident, and was distracted.
“Stacey Honowitz never intentionally would steal anything, nor did she on that day in Publix,” she said.
Weintraub, a partner at Sale & Weintraub in Miami, told the Daily Business Review her client “regrets all the time and effort that has been spent on this investigation.”
According to Weintraub, the case against Honowitz was dropped following a thorough review of video footage documenting the Broward prosecutor’s time in Publix on the day in question. The attorney pointed out that her client was standing next to a Publix employee when she dropped the cosmetics into her purse. Weintraub maintained this was not the behavior of a willful criminal.
“[Honowitz] didn’t clandestinely hide anything that she was doing. She was on the phone, she was distracted … and when she went to pay, naturally she forgot to pay,” Weintraub said. “This was a terrible mistake — and I want to reiterate this was a terrible mistake — but this was not a crime. Stacey Honowitz would not commit a crime and did not commit a crime.”
Honowitz has been reinstated to her position, earning about $108,000, following a suspension, the Sun Sentinel reported. In addition to her career as a prosecutor, Honowitz is also a published author. She has spoken at length during public engagements and television appearances about her experience as a supervisor in the child abuse and sex crimes division of the State Attorney’s Office.