Friday, June 22, 2012

Laws Unenforced Aren't Laws At All

I grew up in Georgia so we were all warned about it. If a happy couple you knew chose to perform this act on each other - Lewinsky - the police had the right to come bust down the door and arrest them! There were always those urban tales about that exact thing happening in "the next county over" or "out near Dahlonega somewhere." It was a silly law that remained on the books for years after I left Georgia. The legislature finally purged it from the statutes with a smirk and a bang of the old gavel.
Outdated silly law, really. Everyone who was even just a little bit adventurous in that way, was breaking it, after all.
A law unenforced is no law at all.
Arcane laws invented by prudes who don't want adults enjoying themselves in the privacy of the bedroom; guess what, that's apparently the way officialdom in this state feels about our open records laws anymore.
"Public reckerds? Ahm sorreee, ah don't thank we do that eenneemore!
Florida Statute 119 and all its subsections, sometimes referred to as "Government in the Sunshine," is a piece of legislation designed to force government to maintain and keep public records for public review at any reasonable time and under reasonable conditions. Of course there are exemptions but, if the officials decide to apply exemptions of those laws - and there are more and more of these, these days - the officials must reply with the nature of the exemptions, the reason for denying a member of the public from reviewing that record.
The previous post gives the nature of my complaint the events leading up to it and so on. Here's the link to that complaint. It is a serious complaint. It says that the Supervisor of Elections in one of our most populous counties, denied a member of the public the right to review document in a timely fashion and provided no excuse. Essentially told the member of the public to, uh, well, see the first paragraph on this page and use your imagination. Yes, like that.
The complaint was reviewed by the sheriffs department of Hillsborough County from 4:00 p.m. June 21, 2012 to 4:20 p.m., June 21, 2012 before a detective informed that a supervisor had told him, the department wasn't going to pursue the matter; even to fill out a police report, even to give it a case number. You can see this document is very specific and the issues involved are not easy to grasp for anyone, immediately; at least someone who is not familiar with the exigencies of our voting systems.
I mean, wowzers! That fast?
The sheriff's department didn't want to look into it because - and I quote - "one elected official investigating another elected official just isn't done in Hillsborough."
That's it? 
That's it.
What about the Florida Department of Law Enforcement? I am hoping they will look at it. They'll get to it. It's been sent on up the chain of command, said the detective I spoke to.
And there it sits. Let's remember the FDLE took ten months to investigate the deleted emails of the governor and, in an amazing turn of events, ruled that "oopsie daisy" was as good an excuse as they were going to get from the governor and that's okay by them.
Ten months.
Back to the original point. And you know this where ever you are. There are laws on the books in your state, in your county, that given the present circumstance just don't apply anymore and so every so often officialdom comes along and wipes them off the books.
In the corporate dark ages, unless we fight for these public records laws, bitch and howl when they are blatantly, cynically, sneeringly violated by our public officials, they will go the way of those arcane laws as well.

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