Wednesday, January 13, 2016

SABPD Unaware of "Petition Clause" in First Amendment? --- Deposition in State v. Wm. Rosenstock

Our law enforcement officers need training on First Amendment rights. 

To right of sign, left to right: St. Augustine Beach Civic Association President WILLIAM JONES with St. Augustine Beach Commissioner and former Mayor (2014-2015) ANDREA SAMUELS et ux ROBERT SAMUELS have a lot of explaining to do in bullying First Amendment protected activity.

Our law enforcement officers need training on First Amendment rights.

Learned counsel for St. Augustine Beach resident William Rosenstock, former chair of the St. Augustine Beach Code Enforcement Board, has filed a motion to dismiss misguided misdemeanor criminal charges of "stalking" filed against him by State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA and St. Augustine Beach Commander JAMES ED PARKER at the behest of the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association, President WILLIAM JONES and then Mayor ANDREA SAMUELS August 12, 2015.  

The January 4, 2016 County Court motion filed by attorney Thomas Elijah Cushman alleges that the statute, F.S. 784.048, and Florida case law, Curry v. State, 811 So. 2d 376 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002) and progeny exempts First Amendment protected activity, whether picketing or other forms of petitioning for a redress of grievances such as reporting concerns to government officials, which was the gravamen of the criminal complaint (along with merely looking at a farmer's market barbecue vendor and annoying him, but never speaking to him, touching or interacting with him in any way).

St. Augustine Beach Police Commander JAMES ED PARKER admitted in his December 2015 deposition in a criminal case that he was unaware that citizens had a constitutional right to petition their governments for a redress of grievances.

Q What do you say about the first -- the portion of the stalking law that says, "This does not apply to [constitutionally] protected  speech"?
A Well, I -- that's why I took it to the state attorney's office. I felt like it did interfere with that. That's why I took it to them for them to make the decision. They made the decision. That's what we went with.
Q Well, are you familiar with the portion of the First Amendment that says, "A right to petition your government for redress of grievances"?
A No, I'm not.
St. Augustine Beach Police Commander JAMES ED PARKER deposition take by Mr. Rosenstock's attorney, on Thomas Elijah Cushman, December 18, 2015 (page 26, lines 10-21).

Background: St. Augustine Beach Civic Association (SABCA) President WILLIAM JONES procured criminal charges against Mr. William Rosenstock on August 12, 2015.  JONES dislikes Mr. Rosenstock and allegedly tore up a picket sign concerning beach parking (a sworn criminal case filed by SABPD but inexplicably dropped by State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA due to apparent favoritism to SABCA, a de facto political action committee under heavy-handed suzerainty of JONES and ROBERT and ANDREA SAMUELS).

Those apparently retaliatory "stalking" charges were brought eight (8) days after Mr. Rosenstock, nine (9) other citizens (including me, Ed Slavin) convinced St. Johns County Commissioners to unanimously vote 5-0 on August 4, 2015 to abolish the "First Amendment" box cabining free speech activities to a small area near the toilets, disappointing SABCA and the same day that Mr. Rosenstock thanked County Commissioners in a letter printed in The St. Augustine Record.

This would not be the first time in St. Johns County that someone was retaliated against for First Amendment protected activity -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote on June 11, 1964 to Reform Rabbi Israel "Sy" Dressner that this was the "most lawless" community in America.  Local law enforcement must stop breaking the law.

St. Johns County Sheriff's Department civil process server and SABCA President WILLIAM JONES, who procured the charges, wore his St. Johns County Sheriff's Department uniform shirt to his deposition in the Rosenstock case.  It was JONES falsely claimed to St. Johns County Commissioners that there were "hundreds of documented complaints" of persons engaged in First Amendment protected activity.  JONES lied.  There was only one (1) document (from  BILL JONES himself), responding o an August 10, 2015 e-mail from then St. Augustine Beach Clerk Cathy Benson, in response to my records request 2015-267:

From: Cathy Benson
To: ''
Sent: Mon, Aug 10, 2015 3:42 pm
Subject: Re: Request No. 2015-267: SABCA President William Jones evidence of "hundreds of documented complaints"

Mr. Slavin,
I do not have “hundreds of document complaints” about the First Amendment Activity or about Mr. Rosenstock. The closest I could find is the email below, which is not exactly what you are looking for. If you need any information about the issue below, I suggest you contact the Police Dept. as I have nothing else to provide.

Cathy Benson, MMC
City Clerk
City of St. Augustine Beach
2200 A1A South
St. Augustine Beach, FL 32080

PLEASE NOTE:  Under Florida law, most communications to and from the City are public records. Your e-mails, including your e-mail address, may be subject to  public disclosure.

From: William Jones []
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 11:00 PM
To: Gary Larson; Cathy Benson; Robert Hardwick; Comm Samuels
Subject: Bill Rosenstock Complaint of 6-17

Dear Mr. Larson,

I have become aware of a complaint made by Mr. William Rosenstock that includes a request to revoke our permit for the Music by the Sea (MBTS) concert series.  After reviewing a copy of Mr. Rosenstock's letter and associated photographs I felt it necessary to contact you as the information supplied by Mr. Rosenstock is inaccurate. 

First there is no sale of automobiles taking place at MBTS.  Dave Hinton is the owner of Longstreet Auto is a longtime sponsor of our series.  Mr. Hinton and his wife have attended weekly for years.  The Hinton's can be found enjoying the concert in same are of the sand each week.  Mr. Hinton has never attempted to do business at our events. Longstreet Auto is recognized before our event along with our other sponsors for their significant financial contribution that helps keep MBTS alive and free to our tourists and local patrons.   Mr. Hinton does have signage on the vehicle he drives.  This is not illegal and is common place in small business.  Temporary banners for all of our sponsors are displayed during our event and they are removed immediately after the concert.  This practice is not unlike other events that are held at Pier Park by other groups.

Mr. Rosenstock did indeed hear WSOS air personality Sam Moscato interviewing Mr. Hinton prior to our concert last week.  According to Mr. Moscato, Mr. Hinton and station owner Kevin Geddings there was an invite to listeners to come to Pier Park for the free concert.  There were also multiple mentions of the great selection of pre-owned cars & trucks at the Longstreet Auto location on US 1 South.  Mr. Rosenstock has again either exaggerated / altered facts to further his attempt to aggravate myself and the Civic Association.  Or perhaps Mr. Rosenstock is just confused.  I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt but it's difficult to do so as this is just another incident in what seems to be a pattern.  I would encourage you to reach out to Mr. Geddings at WSOS as he was in studio performing the duties of engineer and heard every word of the live interviews called in last Wednesday.

As always we invite you or any other official from either the City or County to pay us a visit.  We regret that Mr. Rosenstock continues to show what I feel in an unhealthy interest or obsession in the Civic Association. Other groups hold events at Pier Park and other facilities but Mr. Rosenstock only seems focused on our events.   I am quite frankly concerned for my safety and that of my family.  There have been a couple of  early mornings recently where I stopped at our office at Pier Park to do some work.  When leaving Mr. Rosenstock was standing nearby just staring at me.   I am also concerned about what seems to be Mr. Rosenstock's goal of shutting down the concert series.  I am copying Chief Hardwick and our attorney Steve Alexander on this most recent attempt of what I feel is the targeting and harassment of an organization I dearly love.

I wish to convey sincere thanks for all the City does to support MBTS.  I also apologize for the expense and waste of taxpayer dollars that continues to add up as Mr. Rosenstock asks local government and its personnel to divert attention from the real business at hand.  Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information from us

Bill Jones

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