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Woman facing jail for selling ceviche through Facebook group is overreacting, says prosecutor

By midian182
Nov 10, 2016
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  1. A California woman who hit the headlines earlier this week after claiming she faced up to two years in jail for selling ceviche on Facebook has been accused of blowing things out of proportion.

    37-year-old Single mother of six Mariza Ruelas was caught selling her homemade food through a Facebook group made up of amateur chefs in her community. Members of “209 Food Spot,” named after Stockton’s area code, used the social network to swap recipes, organize potlucks, and occasionally sell dishes to each other.

    What Ruelas didn’t know was that San Joaquin County investigators had been tracking the group's activities for more than a year by posing as members. After the law enforcement officials asked to buy food such as ceviche and chicken-stuffed avocados, Ruelas and five other members were charged with two misdemeanor counts of operating a food facility and engaging in business without a permit.

    The six members were offered a plea deal that would see each person complete 80 hours of community service and pay a $253 fine if they plead guilty. Ruelas was the only one not to accept, saying she didn’t want a misdemeanor on her record. She also claims to have been offered twice the community service time that was issued to other group members, and three years probation instead of one, though prosecutors deny this.

    San Joaquin’s chief deputy DA Sherri Adams said the case is about health and safety. "If one person gets salmonella or E. coli and they die, then we’d be the first person they’d contact to say, ‘Why didn’t we do anything about this?’ she told the Los Angeles Times.

    Ruelas said she faced up to two years in jail for selling the food, but Adams claims she is “making more of this than it is,” and would likely face “no more than 10 days in county jail” if convicted.

    “I’m not exaggerating anything. I didn’t make more of it. I didn’t want to do this. I don’t deal with cameras too well,” Ruelas told TIME. “If it’s gotten this big, then people care.”

    Ruelas’ case is now heading for trial.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,673   +778

    While the risk of eating raw fish is certainly not to be ignored, if it's property prepared and the appropriate precautions are taken, how would this be any more dangerous than raw oysters or other shell fish? Seems that there must be more to the story than we are hearing .....
     
  3. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Maniac Posts: 318   +115

    They spent more than a year posing as members of the Facebook group? What a great use of resources.
     
    mizkitty, TheDreams, SalaSSin and 4 others like this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,498   +2,051

    Fugu anyone?..
     
    mosu likes this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,553   +2,359

    This is how utterly retarded many of our regulations are. If she were to give the food away or cook it for a friend, no biggie. If she is compensated for either, suddenly she's committed a crime.

    That law enforcement inserted agents into a cooking club (not to be confused with satanic cults) tells you all you need to know.

    "Would you like fries with that?"

    "You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one [...]"
     
    lipe123 and cliffordcooley like this.
  6. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,904   +529

    it's not retarded. nobody is above the law. they sold food, the end.
     
  7. fktech

    fktech TS Booster Posts: 118   +35

    Facebook - what a complete waste of time. I suppose that if you have no "real" friends and are a shut in them maybe. No offense intended towards shut ins.
     
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,553   +2,359

    I'm going to dissect this for you.

    First of all, yes. There are people who are above the law. One of them is Hillary Clinton.

    Second, I didn't say she didn't break the law. I said the law was moronic, which it is.
     
    lipe123 and cliffordcooley like this.
  9. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,510   +501

    This. In order to sell food, you have to get a permit and abide by the regulations, and it's not only effective to raw fish plates, whatever that is not well prepared or done under the wrong conditions can give you food poisoning, reason why food vendors need to be regulated. Yes, I do believe they are escalating this out of proportions, it should have been a smack, go get a permit and don't do it again instead of offering jail time and getting a record, unless this is not the first time.
     
    psycros likes this.
  10. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Guru Posts: 752   +273

    It sounds like they are giving her a smack on the wrist for not having a permit and selling food. And then It sounds like she is being dramatic and exaggerating the charges.
     
    dms96960 and Puiu like this.
  11. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,510   +501

    Facing jail time and/or getting a record is certainly not a smack on the wrist and something not to exaggerate about.
     
    Teko03 and cliffordcooley like this.
  12. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,904   +529

    Please man, think before you talk or you'll just embarrass yourself by making stupid comments. You have no evidence that Hillary did anything wrong and yet you voted for Trump, someone who openly admitted that he doesn't pay his taxes. Just how many billions of dollars did he make on the backs of the working class that voted for him? You are just someone who's either ignorant or just has double standards.

    On the 8th of November, Trump won by using the fear in people's hearts. It's weird seeing so many americans not having any cojones to face the future with the rest of the world. ^_^
     
    wiyosaya likes this.
  13. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 336   +132

    First off: not really sure what this story has to do with tech, beyond the fact they were using Facebook to organize themselves

    Second: just because it is a law doesn't mean it is a good or fair one. 'Black & White' laws rarely are.
    Forcing sellers operating with the goal of making a living-profit off of their food to adhere to permitting and health regulations is a good thing. But I think you would be hard press to prove that they were depending on those food sales for an income - or even to supplement their income.

    Some ingredients are really expensive. Not everyone is skilled in making every dish - making recipe sharing not always a viable alternative to food sharing. Why should it be against the law to ask to be compensated for the cost of the ingredients in a dish I made?
     
  14. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,553   +2,359

    Ladies and gentlemen, the classic liberal/progressive response. No argument, no position, just name calling. His one trick is the ability to recite CNN/MSNBC/Fox talking points like a well-trained parrot:

    This is the adversary, folks. Even if you are a nihilist, don't let it be said God is without a sense of humor.
     
    psycros, lipe123 and cliffordcooley like this.
  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,038   +269

    Picking on satanic cults? With Trump as president, it will likely become easier for them to sue you for defamation. They will beg to differ with you - http://nypost.com/2016/08/03/satanic-temple-wants-an-after-school-club-in-elementary-schools/

    and

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/satanic-temple-of-seattle-proposes-after-school-satan-club/


    Still in that Hillary Clinton is evil alternate reality? A republican, James Comey, said that any reasonable prosecutor would not have charged her, so I guess Comey is complicit with Clinton now even though she trashed him as a choice for FBI Director? We will see whether Trump prosecutes Clinton. If he does, I guess we will have another four years, at least, of nothing meaningful being done in guberment at the federal level. Its too bad Obama decided to give a pass to the treasonous pair of W and Cheney.

    Yes, the law is stupid as I see it, too. It is also stupid that you cannot use your own kitchen as a place to prepare food for sale without submitting to health department inspections.

    My guess is that the whole thing revolves around how much food you prepare as preparing enough food for sale likely means that you have more mess to clean up, and since you have more mess to clean up the risk of contamination of the other food you prepare is higher. Its plain and simple.

    While I like to believe that all people are inherently good and treat others with respect, modern society has proven that there are people out there, Trump included (unless, of course, you have been charmed into the deer in headlights haze by his forked-tongue), who will take advantage of others at every opportunity they get. Until such people learn to value the lives and treat them with respect, which, by the way, means not taking advantage of them, then LAW, like it or not, will be required. What was that you quoted from St. Thomas about obeying the law of the land? Or was St. Thomas now pressured to write that by an oppressive guberment?
     
  16. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,553   +2,359

    I'm all out of crackers, @wiyosaya. Maybe Cranky will humor you today.
     
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,555   +2,898

    I doesn't have anything to do with whether or not she is breaking the law. She didn't pay the organization that benefits from selling the license. That's what this is all about. If they can't sell a license you can't sell anything either. That's how silly this is. It has nothing to do with health issues. If it had anything to do with health issues, they would have had charges other than simply not having a license to operate.

    Having a license to operate doesn't prevent anything. It only gives an organization job security, by enforcing the sale of such license. That is pretty much the case with any license. Which became big business this last century. People can be qualified without having to pay a monthly/yearly fee for permission. I can also promise you, if anything did happen to go wrong (license or no license), they would pay for their misdeeds. So I say again, "Having a license to operate doesn't prevent anything".
     
    davislane1 likes this.
  18. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 658   +174

    I come from a country where the laws are reasonable. If you want to do a food cart selling hot dogs for example (which I did in college) you take the thing to the local authority they give it a look over and give you the okay. Done.

    No ridiculous permit fees, no constant health inspections etc etc.

    These guys where doing it for fun, not even as an proper income and suddenly the law needs to get involved?! Huge waste of tax dollars!
    Buyer/eater beware.

    Constantly needing the law to bubble wrap the big bad world out there for uneducated ignorant people is not a sustainable future.
     
    cliffordcooley and davislane1 like this.
  19. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,904   +529

    I'm glad that there are still people who actually understand how these things work. Whether or not the food was safe or not doesn't matter at all.
     
  20. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,904   +529

    Inspections are generally done on-site without warning in most countries, including yours. Yes, getting the OK to sell should be easy as long as you follow proper procedures, although it does vary from country to country..
     
  21. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 658   +174

    You know what if your livelihood consists of selling food to people, don't you think the seller has some incentive to ensure that their customers don't get sick or die from the product their lives depend on?!
    This is like putting "warning this knife is sharp" warning labels on sharp knives. Of course the person preparing the food will take extra precautions to ensure that what they make shouldn't cause people to get sick.

    And if it happens they will lose all their customers and the problem will sort itself out.
     
  22. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    Speaking generally, yes, you'd think so but that's not always the case. No doubt you've heard of restaurants that have been temporarily closed down due to health violations and these restaurants are staffed with "professionals" who should know better.
     
  23. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 658   +174

    Which just goes to show that the current rules and permits and inspections really doesn't do much to prevent anything and its a giant waste of tax money.
    Just have fines for when something actually goes wrong.
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  24. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,555   +2,898

    I love that thought.

    Which is no different than drivers license. It's ridiculous! Just fine people when they are found to be in violation. Which by the way is unavoidable at times. So allow them time to correct their violations, before fining them on first offense at least. Having to get or keep a valid license, serves only one purpose. The purpose of filling someones pocket book.
     
  25. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 658   +174

    Well you'd need to eat a LOT of very poisonous food to actually die from it, with a car you can kill someone very easily.
    Slight difference of severity, if they wanted to reform traffic in a positive way remove the retarded speed limiting signs on highways and freeways and stop using the stupid excuse that its for "safety" reasons
     

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