Seems that Judge Frederick J. Lauten is no fan of the Constitution and is not a supporter of justice. On 30 December 2016, he issued an “Amended Administrative Order Governing Expressive Conduct Toward Summoned Jurors. Orange and Osceola Counties” which forbids anyone from informing potential jurors about their rights and duties as jurors. This supercedes a previous order by Judge Belvin Perry.
In an effort to “to do everything necessary to promote the prompt and efficient administration of justice” Judge Lauten seeks to “minimize activities which unreasonably disrupt, interrupt, and interfere with the fair and orderly conduct of jury trials, and the orderly and peaceable conduct of court business in a neutral forum free of actual or perceived partiality“. He further characterizes pamphlets which inform the jurors of their responsibilities as jurors as a possible violation of 918.12 of the Florida statutes- jury tampering. His line of reasoning conflates an informed juror with an attempt to tamper with a juror. Why would a judge take such an extreme stance? How can someone who is informed as to their duties and rights of a juror somehow been tampered with? Sounds to me like he prefers ignorant jurors who will perform as he wants them to perform, not as a sovereign entity that truly determines justice.
How can informing jurors of their rights and responsibilities be considered tampering? Juries are the people’s way to combat government tyranny. It is a right guaranteed to ALL Americans that whenever a criminal case or a civil case in excess of $20 is to be tried that the person has a right to trial by jury. This right is protected by the 6th and 7th Amendments to the United States Constitution. He states that “Such occurrences severely impact the court’s ability to conduct the efficient, prompt, and proper administration of justice“. How?
Juries are a huge check and balance to our justice system. The proper role of a jury is to protect people from tyrannical abuses of power by government. This is why we are guaranteed a trial by jury. The jury further is the only body who can rightfully judge a person on their guilt or innocence. Judges were never tasked with determining guilt or innocence. How can a person who works for and is paid by the system be truly impartial? The role of the judge is that of a referee in the court room insuring that justice is served, not being the instrument of said justice. This is an idea that used to be known by most but along with other civic ideas it has been flushed down the memory hole.
One of the truly egregious ideas that makes itself known in this order is the idea that someone on court “property” is somehow not protected by our Bill of Rights. “The term “courthouse complex” and any restrictions on expressive conduct contained herein shall apply to the Orange County Courthouse complex grounds, which includes the adjacent courthouse parking garage, the courthouse courtyard, and all other grounds surrounding the courthouse, from the intersection of Orange Avenue and Livingston Street, to the intersection of Livingston Street and Magnolia Avenue, to the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and Amelia Street, to the intersection of Amelia Street and Orange Avenue, to the intersection of Orange Avenue and Livingston Street. The public sidewalks that comprise the boundaries of this designated perimeter are excluded from this designation of the courthouse complex grounds.” (emphasis mine) So on “public” property it is ok to exercise your 1st Amendment rights but for some reason when one steps onto the “courthouse complex” one loses their 1st Amendment rights? And this guy is a judge?!
I wrote an article a few weeks ago detailing the arrest of Mark Schmidter and Julian Heicklen for passing out literature from the Fully Informed Jury Association. Seems that Judge Lauten is in line with Belvin Perry and is fine with restricting our rights and keeping potential jurors ignorant of why they are there and what their true duties are. He is part of the problem and needs to be opposed. The whole idea of keeping people ignorant and restricting our rights through administrative order is also repugnant. He is a judge who supposedly interested in justice. His actions and reasoning speak to another agenda however.