Our Constitutional Rights Under Attack in Orlando- Again!

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.


Tyranny in Orlando

On December 6th a grave injustice was perpetrated by our own government against two men exercising their right to free speech. Mark Schmidter and Julian Heicklen were arrested for trespassing on the sidewalk in front of the Orange County Courthouse thus violating an administrative order by Judge Belvin Perry. Their crime? Passing out a handout from the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) helping to educate potential jurors to their duties as a juror. Both men had been previously arrested for this “crime”. I know personally that Mark Schmidter served over 100 days in jail for his last interaction with Belvin Perry. I applaud both gentlemen for putting their personal liberty aside and doing what is right. They knew they were going to get arrested. This is most likely just the start of an agenda to expose this kind of blatant disregard for our rights and to further the cause of FIJA though I have not confirmed that with either of the men. I do know that Mark is a thorn in the side of the court system here in Orange County and has taken them to task on a couple different occasions.

In honor of these two men’s struggle, I wish to help the cause they are fighting for and tell the story of FIJA and why it is so important. Many people say “well what can one person do to make a difference?” Being an informed juror is one of the answers to that question.

As articulated in Article 3, the 6th and 7th Amendments of the Constitution everybody has the right to a trial by jury in any significant court proceeding. Significant describes any criminal case and any civil case whose value exceeds $20. This supports the idea that we the people are in control of justice. Congressmen and government can pass whatever laws they want. It is juries that determine the guilt or innocence of the people who go to trial.

FIJA describes the role of a jury as follows:

“The primary function of the independent juror is not, as many think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by government.

The Constitution guarantees you the right to a trial by jury. This means that government must bring its case before a jury of The People if government wants to deprive any person of life, liberty or property. Jurors can say no to government tyranny by refusing to convict.”

FIJA works to:

  • Inform potential jurors of their traditional, legal authority to refuse to enforce unjust laws
  • Inform potential jurors that they cannot be required to check their consciences at the courthouse door
  • Inform potential jurors that they cannot be punished for their verdicts
  • Inform everyone that juror veto- jury nullification- is a peaceful way to protect human rights against corrupt politicians and government tyranny.

Jury nullification is nothing new. In response to the 18th Amendment, jury nullification became a tool to stop the tyranny of the federal government. People who were plainly guilty of selling alcohol in defiance of the 18th were regularly not convicted by juries for their flouting of the law. There was nothing that government could do. Jury nullification played a big part in the passage of the 21st Amendment which repealed the 18th Amendment.

Another case of jury nullification crushing government tyranny was the people’s opposition to the Fugitive Slave laws passed by Congress. In two separate cases, the Shadrach Rescue Trials and the Jerry Rescue trials, abolitionists who were brought to trial for rescuing slaves and helping them to escape their owners were acquitted by juries. They clearly had broken the “law”‘ but jurors decided that the laws were unjust and refused to convict.

Here in Florida we just passed a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana to be distributed to patients. Many others, including myself, want to stop putting people in cages for using a plant. Jury nullification could do exactly that. Ant crime that lacks a victim is not a crime. Government trying to protect people from themselves is just another way that government controls our lives.

We the people wield significant power to curb government tyranny. No matter what laws are on the books it takes a jury to send a person to prison or to take their property. It is up to we the people to take our rightful place in this republic and reject government tyranny. Jury nullification is a major avenue to do just that. FIJA could use your support. Let’s not make Mark Schmidter and Julian Heicklen’s sacrifice be in vain. Get educated and get active. Liberty will not defend itself and needs true Americans to step up and support it. Do it for the people alive today and the unborn millions who depend on us to pass on the freedoms that were bequeathed to us. Patriots Awake!

Charter Amendment 2 : Just say NO Orange County

We are about to do a bad thing here in Orange County. We have those that have proposed that we the people begin to give up control over the Sheriff of our County by allowing his free constitutional status to be abrogated by making them a charter officer.

The proposed Charter Amendment

Changing County Constitutional Officers to Charter
Officers and Providing for Nonpartisan Elections and
Term Limits Amending the Orange County Charter to make the
Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of
Elections, Clerk of Circuit Court, and Comptroller into
nonpartisan, elected charter officers subject to term limits
of four consecutive 4-year terms, abolishing their status
as constitutional officers, and specifying they are not
subject to county commission or mayoral authority and
shall have all rights and privileges of corresponding
constitutional officers, except as expressly provided by
charter. No financial impact.

No financial impact. Plenty of impact as to the direction of government here in Orange County. I will discuss the position of Sheriff and why it is bad to take away his constitutional status. As you read, you can see how bringing the Tax collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, Clerk of the County Court and especially Comptroller who dispenses all of the monies for county activities under one big umbrella consolidates power which is not good for the citizens of Orange County. I will focus on the Sheriff because that position is the most important to protecting our rights here in Orange County.

Please understand that the idea of a Sheriff is a very old idea. Once is was a tool of oppression but when it came under the control of the people it became a force for good. The direction that is being advocated with this charter amendment is detrimental to the long term security and freedom we enjoy as Floridians living in Orange County. The Sheriff is elected and works directly for the people. He is the highest law of the county. He answers directly to the people. We need to keep it that way.

The history of the Sheriff is many centuries old. The first written record of the Sheriff dates back to the reign of King Alfred in the 9th century. The King restructured the kingdom into “shires” and appointed “reeves” to administer his will on his subjects. These shire reeves eventually became to be known as the Sheriff.

It is interesting to note that when King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, the document which introduced many concepts that were incorporated into the United States Constitution over 500 years later, that the “Sheriff” is mentioned 27 times (out of 63 clauses) in the document, and the powers of the crown to use him against the people was curtailed and defined.

When the idea of the Sheriff was brought to our shores in America, it was a lot closer to today’s idea of the Sheriff. Gone was the allegiance to the power of the state (or monarchy) but instead the allegiance was to the people who elected them. Thomas Jefferson described a Sheriff as ” the most important executive offices of the country”. High praise from a respected man.

The Sheriff in no uncertain terms is the highest law enforcement authority in his/her county. The Sheriff is elected by the people and charged to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and that of their own state. That is their duty and they are responsible directly to the people to perform that duty. The are the law of the county.

The Sheriff’s responsibility is to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens from wherever that encroachment occurs. Most people rightly attribute crime fighting to the Sheriff. That is a major responsibility. But the Sheriff’s responsibility does not end there. If ever a citizen of a county has their constitutional rights violated by any representative of the government, the first line of defense to this intrusion if the Sheriff. If an arrest is to be made in a county, the Sheriff has the right to be informed before the arrest is made in his/her county. The Sheriff should determine that the arrest is proper, and was properly adjudicated through the courts. Our federal government is having a much higher tendency to skip due process and render judgements which are unconstitutional.

In New Mexico, Sheriff Scott London of Eddy County notified the IRS that the sale of county resident Kent Carter’s property was canceled until he received due process of law and his appeal was heard. Yes, he successfully told the IRS “no”! Sheriff Richard Mack of  Graham County Arizona was instrumental in the ruling Printz vs. United States in which parts of the Brady Bill were ruled unconstitutional. In Indiana, a farmer who produced raw milk was harassed by the FDA. They conducted warrantless searches of his property and even subpoenaed him to produce production records until Sheriff Brad Rogers interposed after inspecting the farm. He wrote the FDA a letter that stated they needed a signed court order and to get his permission before they visited the farm again. After that, a court date was cancelled and the farmer received no more inspections by the FDA. These are just a few cases that the Sheriff was involved in upholding their constituent’s rights.

The proposal to the Charter will be represented as a term limits amendment. The idea that moving the officers under a charter will be downplayed. “Nothing will change” they will say. “This will make the offices more accountable” they will say. It is true not much would change initially. But this move has a purpose. The charter can be changed and the roles of these officers circumscribed however the charter dictates. This is a move for future mischief. We the people directly control these offices. That is a check and balance built into our system. Don’t destroy another protection of the people by allowing this to pass.

Think of it like this. Do we want to move toward a Sheriff of Nottingham which performed the wishes of the Crown and oppressed the people or Sheriff Mack who successfully fought the government to protect the rights of his constituents? We can stop it easily by voting no on Charter Amendment 2.

Don’t fall for the gimmicks. Vote NO on Charter Amendment 2. Say no to big government control now and for the future.

Constitutional Cappuccino Podcast- Juries in America

What can you do about the overreach of government here in America? One answer is to participate and support the jury system here in America. The Constitution of the United States of America supports common law. If you are interested in liberty so should you. I hope you enjoy the podcast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCQEKM6_O6o