Florida May Restore Rule Of Law
According to activists and researchers around the state who exposed widespread criminal activity at all levels of government, Florida’s judges now seem to be making an honest effort to comply with State and Federal laws. The controversy surrounding their mandatory loyalty oaths to the Constitutions of Florida and these United States has been catapulted into the spotlight after documents revealed that many high-level officials were aware of the violations. Investigators say it’s more than just judges—even current candidates don’t have valid oaths.
TALLAHASSEE — Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis of Florida’s Supreme Court announced late last month that he will require senior judges to swear a loyalty oath at the beginning of each term from now on — a positive sign according to experts. The announcement came on the heels of a twoyear push by Florida legal researcher Bob Hurt and others to force the state government to obey the law. While the findings in his book are allegedly causing panic amongst upper levels of government, activists hope to use the exposure as an opportunity to restore the rule of law in Florida and possibly elsewhere.
“May our Heavenly Father bless every grain of your goodness and give you courage to aspire to greatness in making ours the best state in America, THE state where all judges respect and obey the law,” Hurt wrote in a letter to the Chief Justice Lewis thanking him for the recent announcement. “Now, what shall we do about the fact that all the judges are still felony impostors in spite of having sworn new oaths?”
Investigators who uncovered the felonies said the crimes could carry up to 10 year sentences according to the law, but such a move would bring the state government to a standstill absent a deal. But according to some of the dedicated activists who pushed the issue into the spotlight, most officials now seem to be making a sincere attempt to obey the law and rectify the situation so such severe penalties may not be necessary.
“How do we solve this dilemma outside federal court?” Hurt wondered. “How about a deal with the legislature to do an emergency re-election of everybody now in office, or better yet how about negotiating with the People of Florida for all elected and appointed officials to accept a misdemeanor conviction voluntarily, spend 2 weeks incognito in jail sometime during the next year listening to prisoners and counseling them about their rights, and pay $1000 fine — Nothing would show good faith better than a little jail time.” While Hurt believes this is the best solution, some activists hope to see all of the penalties enforced uniformly, insisting that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Others just want to see the state government move into compliance and are more than willing to waive any jail time if guilty individuals cooperate.
Public records obtained from the Office of State Court Administrators show that the judiciary has been aware of the problem since at least last year — along with the criminal penalties for the violations. Gary Phillips, the chief of personnel services for the state’s courts, requested that all judges make sure to sign the oaths and have them notarized back in October of 2007. He also noted that the law provides “criminal penalties” upon any governing authority for “knowingly permitting an employee to continue employment after failing to execute an oath of loyalty.” According to the memo, “the law also requires discharge of employees in addition to prohibiting payment to employees and officers who refuse or fail to execute the oath.” Hurt discovered that the first Jeb Bush administration removed the required notarization from election forms in the year 2000, but even though they have since been corrected, researchers say this doesn’t solve the problem.
On top of the violations involving judges’ oaths, legal researcher Tayra Antolick, a paralegal in Florida, discovered that “no one on Florida ballots has qualified to have his/her name printed on them because the Loyalty Oath the Secretary of State is distributing to the Supervisors of Election is not compliant with the criminal code requirements where the oath is found.”
In 2006 Antolick filed an action with the Florida Supreme Court, seeking an order to force the Secretary of State to disqualify all candidates because of their defective candidate oaths.
Referencing the Florida criminal code’s chapter on criminal anarchy and treason, Antolick also discussed law suits she has filed against 13 Florida officials including Charlie Crist. She also said that the current Secretary of State for Florida has knowledge of the law that contains the correct wording for the oaths — yet the oath listed on the Web site is still the wrong one.
Even the Attorney General says the text of the oath can not be altered and is mandatory, but a conversation with Deputy Counsel Sharon Larson at the Secretary of State’s office revealed that in 1996 “somebody” without legislative authority decided to change the oath, according to Antolick. She also said that attorney Gary Holland at the Secretary of State’s office told her the current oath would not be corrected because it states that the candidates are receiving public funds.
“The executive branch of government does not have the power and authority to change the text of any statute at any time,” she said. “Even if the statute does not make sense for qualifying those running for public office, ‘Somebody’ in the Sec. of State’s office exercised power and authority not delegated to the executive branch.”
She said that the Secretary of State could have “dropped a hint” to the Legislature back in 2006 to lawfully change the text, but he didn’t.
“If they do this type of change behind closed doors with a criminal code, who is to say that they would not do the same with any other law that affects our rights to life, liberty, and property?”
All “unlawfully elected officials,” as Antolick calls them, have been receiving public funds. She says this translates to an illegal misappropriation of public funds.
“We should not be nonchalant about one branch of government exercising power and authority not lawfully delegated to it,” she explained.
Though a former judge in Duval County expressed concern about the potential repercussions of these issues reaching the public; Hurt, Antolick and others across the state disagree.
“I consider this a huge win for the People of Florida,” explained Hurt in comments about the two year campaign and the results it produced. “For many years the attorneys, judges, and others in government have suffered confusion and misunderstanding about the loyalty oath laws. Now the confusion has begun to dissipate, and the Chief Justice leads the way for others in government to follow to ensure that all public employees have loyalty oaths sworn and notarized prior to starting their jobs.”
Hurt claimed jokingly that he wouldn’t let his grandmother govern him without swearing a loyalty oath. “Judges have to swear at least 6 oaths before We People allow them to serve us,” he explained. “That’s because we simply don’t trust anybody to govern us, particularly as a judge, unless they have firmly convinced us that they will support the Constitutions. Remember that judges have an army of Sheriffs and deputies to enforce their orders at gun point, and a renegade judge who abuses people by denying their constitutional rights commits treason and works to overthrow the government of the US and Florida. In fact, you could say he already has committed armed rebellion against the government when he denies a litigant’s due process rights or issues an unlawful order. Judges find it so easy to become tyrants that we have to make sure they will obey those loyalty oaths because they are the ultimate guarantors of respect for our constitutional rights.”
Despite the spectacular success, the project has not yet come to an end according to Hurt. “We still have a glaring problem and no easy, lawful solution in sight,” he said. “All the people elected and appointed between 2000 and last fall do not have valid loyalty oath — as a result, all of those people function as impostors because they never qualified for office and therefore they do not actually hold the office. This amounts to a full-scale destruction of the Florida republic. It also means that all judicial acts constitute nullities, and that gives a path of remedy to all people abused by bad judicial rulings, bad sheriff actions, bad County Commission actions, and bad legislative Acts. Even Governor Crist’s gubernatorial Acts have no legal force or effect,” Hurt alleges. “I have to work to bring this reality to the attention of the public so they can demand a negotiated solution or the discharge of all elected and appointed officers.” Under the law, he claims, all of them are “imposters” committing a third degree felony.
“Even though all of them, particularly the judges, should have known and obeyed the law,” Hurt said, “most of the elected and appointed officials are just hapless, feckless victims of their ignorance coupled with trusting administrators to tell them what to do. In this case, the administrators went terribly wrong and constructively led those officials to violate loyalty oath laws. We need to have a little mercy on them and not send them all to jail where they might send us if we committed felony crimes. Also, it is impractical and costly to call in the federal marshals to force new elections. They would merely appoint the same people to continue running the government unless public outrage and massive political activism pressured them to replace the old leaders.”
The main problem, according to Hurt, boils down to a lack of proper written procedures. “As CEO of a computer test products company in the 90’s I learned that defective products come from defective designs and defective procedures,” Hurt said. “The Governor, Supreme Court, OSCA, and Chief Judges throughout the state do not have a practical, written policy and procedure to guide them in verifying the credentials required by law in order for people to become judges, sheriffs, state attorneys, and so on. Each manager of personnel or human resources in the government should have a written checklist that requires them to lay eyes and hands on certified copies of all the credential documents needed to qualify for office, and then refuse to authorize pay for any employee who does not have all of them in place. That should apply from the governor to the man who mows the grass at the governor’s mansion – in short, everybody who works in any form or fashion for government.”
Hurt writes almost daily to his “Lawmen” mailing list that has hundreds of readers in Florida and elsewhere in the USA, and he welcomes new subscribers. You may subscribe by sending email to email@example.com.
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