The idea that somehow or other that I created this mess by my prior actions, some as far back as 1999, is ludicrous and preposterous.
The town had 16 years to file any claim against me for my actions from April 1999 until March of 2013 yet failed to do so. They failed to file any action against me save an ill-gotten funding of a case that was immediately thrown out as being lacking in substance and four disorderly conduct arrests. At best, for the Trial Court’s Ruling to have been correct, a Civil Rights action or some action by the Appellees (the Town, Helen, Pam and Tracy) against Appellants (Karin and I) must have been litigated. It never was.
My reading of the Trial Court’s ruling suggests that it was my fault, my actions pre 2004, that the town attacked my Civil Rights in 2014 and 2015. Such an idea is not supported by any law or case law that I can find. A Private Citizen or even a couple of Private Citizens cannot, by sheer common sense, attack a town’s Civil Rights. If we had done any crime, broke any law, the town would have had a basis to fie against us.
First off the town has no civil rights; the town’s job is to enforce Civil Rights. Second the other appellees (Town and its sycophants) have no civil rights when they operate in their public capacities. They, like us, must bring legal action to uphold what rights they have. They have not sought such legal rights nor have they ever claimed any such rights.
The town had ample time to claim a First Amendment or other claim against me; four arrests, 19 pro se legal actions and three Baker Act involuntary confinements. Yet they failed to do so in any way, shape or form. Without a FORMAL claim against me the Trial Court’s ruling becomes suspect, I believe.
The Trial Court apparently found that my prior pre 2005 actions, some of which were blatantly misstated by the Trial Court, constituted harassment by me of the Town and its co-Appellees.
At best it could be said that both parties (Appellants and Appellees) harassed each other although Appellees chose to do so out of the Sunshine with no public discussion. They just did it using taxpayer funds and their cloak of legitimacy.
But a harassment charge in this case has been found insufficient according to the State’s Attorney finding.
While Freedom of Speech and Freedom to redress a government for grievances is not harassment, trying to silence such is a Constitutional violation, I believe. The attempts to silence me from “complaining about the town and its officers and agents”, is the violation.
I am sorry to say, their attempts to silence me were fruitful. I buckled under their pressure to silence me. Likewise Karin was very distraught at the actions of the town to “get us” often crying and shaking uncontrollably. She was placed on medication by her physician.
The White Springs Journal utilized both Free Speech and Freedom to Redress as its founding premises. Again, if such were a violation of the Town and its co-Appellee’s rights, the Town and Helen, Pam and Tracy had the financial wherewithal and the free legal representation to call such a violation into question.
Yet they did not so move in 16 years. They brought no case against me or Karin to silence us, instead they used the threat of being thrown in Prison, not jail but prison, to silence the blog, stifle my Part One Section 24 Rights of the Florida Constitution and keep me from redressing my government for grievances.
And they did so using their public office and authority and TAXPAYER MONEY. I don’t believe a citizen can harass a government body without somehow or other of breaking the law. Yet no CRIMINAL OR CIVIL charge was forthcoming even though they had a Police Department willing to claim such a charge. The town often “jumped through hoops” including a $10,000 bounty to find me in violation of some, or any, law.
We know now that the actions of Appellees (the Town) to bring a charge of Cyber-stalking against Karin or I was ruled not viable by the State’s Attorney Office. We also know that the “harassing the witnesses” complaint in the State Criminal suit carried no weight with the State Attorney because the PTI was deemed completed shortly after the events in question.
We committed no crime and violated no constitutional provision that I know of. To complain about corruption of Appellees during their public duties is what it means to be an American. And I used that knowledge that I was committing no crime as a proof source for my actions, my completely and very legal actions.
Whether they had limited immunity or not is a case to be argued by legal minds. Whether I broke a law, whether Karin broke a law, is clearly demonstrative: We broke none.
Two police agencies, the Town and the Sherriff’s office both, tried to prove we broke a law. The State’s Attorney, no friend of ours, so found twice in no uncertain terms that we did not. Yet the trial court, at the request of the Appellees, found that our supposed harassment of the town by doing our completely legal actions to be viewed as a crime as it allowed a “tit for tat” mitigation of this Civil Rights action.
What is our right, to complain about the town and its actions and to publish such and act on such, is not criminal. It did not call for our rights to be taken so cavalierly or at all by the Government which allegedly serves us. It seems to me that they serve themselves and not the citizens.
The Trial Judge said that the History of the conflict with the Town and its agents made it okay, or mitigated if you will, in our case, “They have the right to respond” according to this trial judge. I don’t believe the government has such a right outside of a filed court case.
Let’s take two cases of the “HISTORY” highlighted by the trial judge.
In 1999 the town’s agent, Mrs. Shirley Heath, filed an injunction, a restraining order, against me. This is the famous “stick a fork in you; you’re done” letter. The local Circuit Court judge threw the restraining order out summarily for lack of basis. The town, meaning the taxpayers, paid for the prosecution.
In another case cited by the Federal Trial Judge that it was apparently not kosher to visit a series of houses to distribute a flyer. This was in 2002. How was a citizen to know that Mr. McKire’s wife was ill at the time? And I never went to his door but simply “left the flyer in his gate.” There are no witnesses that have or can say otherwise either in 2002 or today. Yet the Trial Judge deemed the erstwhile visit to the gate vitally important. The trial judge mentioned no laws that I or Karin broke or misapplied yet found the History to be determinative.
I believe the case falls directly in the sphere of Bennett v. Hendrix, 423 F.3d 1247, 1255 (11th Cir. 2005). The trial court barely looked at that case.
1. We stated a claim of retaliation by the town of our right to complain. Our speech is protected by the Constitution but apparently not from the town or the lower court.
2. Appellee’s retaliatory actions directly and positively impacted our Free Speech rights.
3. And, there was a causality of their actions and our silencing the Blog.
As to the second, (response of retaliatory actions) we clearly state that a person of “ordinary firmness”, us, Karin and I, were intimidated and cowered by Appellee’s actions of retaliation trying to arrest us for exercising our Free Speech and our right to Redress our government for grievances.
Karin and I are somewhat impervious to most town actions to subvert the law. 16 years of dealing with the corruption that is White Springs clearly shows that. BUT we didn’t want to go to Prison which is what the town wanted. Only the State Attorney, again no friend of ours, kept us out of Prison. It didn’t keep us from having to silence the Blog however or from allowing us to Petitioning our government for a redress of grievances.
We, Karin and I, did no legal wrong yet the Trial Judge said in listing of our alleged misdeeds, completely legal deeds, that the deeds were unacceptable actions and required a “tit for tat” response by the court to indemnify the “put upon Town and its officers and agents.”
I strongly disagree.