December 11, 2008

Normally, The Words "Woman" + "Prison"+"Cellmate" Would Help My Healing Hand Heal Faster

But not in this case, especially since the woman involved doesn't look anywhere as Foxy Brownish as the babes in those prison movies I watched in high school college last night.

The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that she is indeed "cohabitating" - with her cellmate.

Two members of the three-judge panel concurred and ordered her alimony payments stopped. A third dissented, writing Craissati's involuntary assignment to a cellmate is not cohabitation. "I would affirm the trial court's reasoning that this is an absurd result," wrote Judge Larry Klein.

The couple divorced in 2001. In 2005, Patricia Craissati was sentenced to nine years in prison for a DUI accident which severely injured two men. She is at Hillsborough Correctional Institution on the west coast.

Her attorney, Steven Cripps, said when he first heard of the ex-husband's argument that she was cohabitating with a cellmate he said: "Are you kidding me? You are going to take advantage of this situation and do this?"

Cripps says she's been receiving just over $2,000 a month in alimony while in prison. He said he will ask for a rehearing before the appeals court.

"It goes to show the most winnable case is losable and the most losable case is winnable," said the attorney of 29 years.

Andrew Craissati, a self-employed investment banker from West Palm Beach, said an uninformed person might consider his actions mean, but that there are many factors people don't know about. For one, he has had to pay as her house has sat empty because she did not want to rent it out. He called his victory "bittersweet."

"Everything about this case is just so sad," Craissati said.

His attorney, Lewis Kapner, said the ruling is grounded in the general language of the couple's agreement - cohabitation simply defined as living with another person for more than three months.


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