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.

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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.

An Open Letter to Mayor Jacobs

Honorable Mayor Jacobs,

I appreciate the position you are in as Mayor of a county when a natural disaster is about to occur. There are many people who are going to be hurting and in need. Your instinct is to protect as many people as possible and take whatever measures you deem necessary to save lives and protect property. I get it.

With that being said, my constitutionally protected rights are not subject to an executive order from the Mayor. The curfew you imposed is unlawful and never needs to be invoked again. You are the Mayor, not Queen, and do not decree when I can and cannot leave my house. Because of rain and wind you feel the need to circumscribe my constitutionally protected rights? You took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of Florida and the Constitution of the United States of America. Abiding by that oath is the most important thing you do. Making an executive decision which affects the lives of many law abiding citizens and the police who have to enforce this unconstitutional behavior is wrong on many levels:

You violate my inalienable rights because of water and wind.
You put police officers in the position of having to arrest people who are simply outside of their homes.
You make criminals out of usually law abiding people who have things they need to do even if a hurricane is coming.
You violate your oath to office by taking a stand against the Constitution.
You condemn people to suffer with no lawful alternative.

Our rights are inalienable. They come from our creator. Government does not give us our rights., nor can they restrict them. That duty is left to the people thru the jury system and due process. An executive order is not a lawful command for the public. It is a directive to others in government on how they should act. It is a direction given within the confines of the law so our government acts in unity.  To portray an executive order as a lawful entity which is enforceable on the people of this county is wrong. This line of reasoning is un-American.

Curfews have been struck down many times for their violations of the 1st Amendment. Your application of a curfew also has 1st Amendment implications. The right of the people to peaceably assemble is a right protected by the 1st Amendment and one that your decree violates. It is never in the best interest of the people to have their rights violated. Governments are instituted among men to secure our rights, not to circumscribe them.

I am hoping you had the best of intentions when it came to the curfew. Other counties do it. It is not unheard of. What I am asking you is that you never do it again. That you come out publicly and renounce the act and promise never to do it again. You see, I and many others will not stand for this precedent to be set in this county. We will not accept executive orders as law. We will never accept any infringements of our rights no matter the situation. I hope you understand that this is being done to make our county as free and prosperous as we can. You may have good intentions but others after you can use this precedence to further erode our rights. It will not be tolerated.

Other municipalities have been sued for cases similar to this and have lost. Let’s make this easy and say it will never happen again.

A Concerned Orange County Citizen,

Frank Caprio