June 24, 2017
Chief Justice Jorge Labarga
Florida Supreme Court
500 South Duval Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1925
RE: Law & Justice…and do they ever meet?
When it comes to reading the Constitution, the one drawn up in the taverns of Philadelphia during the hellacious summer of 1787 – Doubtless a precursor of the scourge of Global Warming or perhaps Climate Destruction or whatever du jour malady will soon be upon us – not being a lawyer has certain advantages. That is to say I can appreciate the History, the language, and the connection to the Natural law, a gift that is ours from birth, “a gift from beyond the stars”.
I don’t know if this note constitutes judicial notice but I think I have your attention.
I was cited for a parking violation on January 24, 2017. The specific offense was blocking access to a handicapped space. At this point a combination of Samuel Beckett and Mel Brooks enter the tale. Since I have a duly authorized handicapped card, one that was properly displayed when I parked in the designated handicapped spot, I wondered to whom could I be denying access. Denying access to myself? To someone who wanted to steal my car? I searched in vain for the injured party.
I got my handicapped sticker the old fashioned way: I earned it. 3 titanium joints, 4 strokes, breast cancer, congestive heart failure, a hole the size of a shot glass on the top of my head, a scar that scares vampires on the back of my head, a scleral buckle on my left eye to keep it in, A-Fib, and COPD…. I will not be competing in the senior citizen anaconda wrestling contests, the ones that lighten the Medicare lists while getting senior citizens some much needed outside activities.
On June 13, 2017, I was operated on at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. The probe, to which was attached a laser beam and, thankfully, a miniature TV camera, was inserted through my penis, into my bladder, through my ureter, and into my damaged kidney. Not halfway through the procedure the anesthesiologist noticed that my heart was heading towards an off sides penalty. I woke up in ICU where I was destined to have the worst night ever in a hospital. When I was discharged it was with several powerful painkillers, some diuretics, some blood thinners and some unknown kidney drugs. 2 days later I called my attorney and suggested a continuance of my June 21st traffic court date. He called me back and said continuances are not granted in traffic court.
2 matters leap to mind:
#1 – 1/24/17 to 6/21/17, my hearing date, does serious damage to the speedy trial doctrine, no? Keep in mind that I was not accused of a felony.
#2 – I was therefore unable to assist counsel in the presentation of my defense because everything hurt. Not quite like Ricky Ray Rector but at least in the same area code. The highlight of our trip to the court room, a court room just east of Alligator Alley, was the 3-emergency pit pee stops. Seeing as how I neglected to bring a back-up pair of trousers I used 2 johns and one large bush lest I appear in court wearing slacks with publicly announced micturition stains.
The story gets better as the hits kept coming and coming.
The professional and courteous hearing officer announced that the officer who issued the summons need not be present. Somewhere, “in the sacred chords of memory” I remember that someone wrote “to be confronted with the witnesses against him”. I thought that became double-helixed into the warp and woof of our basic freedoms. Those are the freedoms that Judges can neither modify nor amend. They can only confirm. I guess that only counts in Big Boy court.
The hearing office explained the appeals process very clearly. She explained to me that I should take pictures to present during the appellate process. My wit was sufficiently dimmed – better living through chemistry – that I did not ask how I could take pictures of something that wasn’t there. How about a picture of one hand clapping? “A man upon oath holds his soul in his hands as if it were water. He opens his fingers at his peril.” Suppose I swore that my car was in Allen, Texas the day the [alleged] transgression took place? Why is the word of the mysterious traffic enforcer – I say “mysterious” because I did not have the opportunity to cross examine him. He could be a unicorn rancher in the Bermuda Triangle or have a Sasquatch grandparent. He might even believe in Global Warming – worth more than mine?
The hearing officer then presented me with a payment plan to ease the burden of my fine. Since the amount of the payments was greater than the amount of the fine the difference is implied interest with said interest not being disclosed as such. That clearly places it under the Truth in Lending law – a Federal law, I might add. There is ample precedent saying that the remedy for failing to disclose interest charged is the cancellation of the debt.
Speaking of debt, that is where all my capital is. I say this because I cannot afford to appeal. It leaves me with a Hobson’s Choice.
[By the by, should any matters concerning Uber or Lyft come before your tribunal Hobson of Hobson’s Choice may be useful in buttressing your decision, either way.]
N.B. that I began this note by contrasting law and justice. I think I have raised serious issues here. I remember, “with advantages”, Rumpole of TV fame. He said the 2 great English institutions, the ones that deserve to last, are the English breakfast and the presumption of innocence.
I can still get the former. The latter is in mortal peril. Can I use the terms, hackneyed as their promiscuous use makes them, “chilling effect” and “slippery slope”?
It is a small thing, “no bigger than a man’s fist on the horizon”, but one worthy of your attention.
The last time I appealed a lower court decision I wound up in the Supreme Court of the United States. Since the vote was unanimous it fell to the senior Justice to write the opinion. Thus, I became Thurgood Marshall’s last decision. The next day he resigned. I like to think I was the man responsible for Justice Clarence Thomas. At least there was some compensation for my efforts.
The courtesy of a prompt reply would be greatly appreciated.
PS – At least 3 separate Constitutional issues, no? Plus, one in common law and Federal law, yes? Or will it be “He arado en el mar” yet again?