This study, employing a series of newspaper articles, analizes and compares the modus operandi of the Florida Bar to that of organized crime. The articles are from the 1/7/98, and later electronic editions of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel.
The study concerns Broward County, Florida. Broward county (Fort Lauderdale) is the state's second largest county, bounded on the South by the state's largest county, Dade County (Miami), and on the North By Palm Beach county (Palm Beach). East-West, there is one county (Hendry County) in the center of the state between Broward County on the East coast of Florida and Lee County on the West coast.
As the articles bring out, the Florida Bar has a deal that organized crime could only dream of. For although the Bar embraces the same methods of intimidation and reward, blatant billing fraud, buying and selling politicians, suppressing competition, obtaining favored treatment, openly flouting society's moral, ethical and business conventions, suppressing criticism of their criminal behavior, etc., that organized crime employs, they don't even have to worry about the law (or their own ethical rules), because-- they, with their cronies on the bench-- are the law.
Thus, what we see in this series of articles is very likely only the tip of the iceberg, only the outward signs, the rough edges, of vastly more criminal activity operating just under the surface that the newspaper is afraid to go into. For, as these articles clearly do demonstrate, the opportunity for such criminal activity-- is all in place; and the ABUSES OF POWER that the Lee County legal establishment proved itself so capable of in my affairs, the Broward County legal establishment is almost certainly capable of as well.
Thus, it is likely many people may have been victims of this legal system.-- Someone who had to abandon their house because they couldn't get a septic tank permit from a governmental body they had criticized. Someone who had a land boundary dispute with a crony of one of these lawyers. Someone who lost their job because they accused one of these lawyers of fraudulent billing. Someone who had cocaine planted on them and was arrested because they accused the Sheriff of profiting from prostitution.
As well, we see here the Bar's idea of equal justice. Here a lawyer is caught red handed with his hands in the government till by newspaper reporters. What happens to him? Arrest? Jail? Fine? Exposed by the media? Of course not. He is politely asked to make up a nice excuse which is duly presented in the media as if it were the truth. And then the Governor appoints him to be sheriff. And then, nothing more is said about it in the newspaper.
However, this isn't the kind of justice someone is going to get who criticizes the crooked dealings of one of these lawyers. What they can expect is to be falsely accused, arrested, jailed, falsely quoted and smeared in the media; without the media making any attempt whatsoever to get their side of the story. And when they go to try to get the media to straighten it out, the media won't talk to them. That is the lesson from LEE COUNTY .
The fact is there is no recourse for those who run afoul of both these corrupt lawyers and the government people they are thick with; thus it is scarcely surprising some of them see no way to address the problem except to join militias, awaiting the day this government and legal system can be destroyed.
And the militias grow. According to Klanwatch (on the Web), Florida has more militias than any other state although it is only the fourth largest state. As I have often repeated throughout this Web site, we may some day pay a very high price for this kind of legal system if it doesn't change.
Throughout the newspaper article, it will be noted that no direct allegation of illegal or unethical dealings by lawyers or judges are made, either by the reporters themselves, or those they quote in the article. Thus the reporters are attempting to double insulate themselves and their paper from an action for libel in (1), not libeling anyone, and (2), even if something should be interpreted as libel, to have a complete defense-- the truth defense. For, telling the truth about someone, is a complete defense in an action for libel.
Unfortunately, there is no question that they need this double insulation, dealing with these powerful people, but my experience with the Lee County press fully confirms the problems presented here; that the requirement for this double insulation is forcing the press to back off from investigating and reporting what the public really needs to know.
For, the press needs to be able to dig into these matters and then call a spade a spade when it comes to government or lawyer's crooked dealing and they need to be able to depend on the integrity of the courts in invoking a truth defense if challenged; sadly, none of which the press could even begin to depend on in this county.
I suspect that aside from having honest judges and requiring these lawyers to follow the same laws and conventions everyone else must follow, one of the things that would bring a great change for the better would be to vastly reduce, simplify and convert to plain language the laws that these government entities must deal with.
For, if all of these laws were freely available to everyone in a plain language user friendly Web or CD database that was the final authority on the law regarding any particular subject, then politicians, citizens, builders, architects, road builders, lawyers, judges, all who must deal with it, would then have equal access to it without having to go through lawyers. Such a database could also be freely available in libraries, both on computers and book form for those who don't want to deal with computers. This would vastly reduce the necessity of having to have all these lawyers, perhaps reducing the need for their services by three quarters, cutting down on all their corruption commensurately.
In summary then, the Rx here is to have a legal system in which (1), the laws are simplified and put into plain language (2), lawyers respect the laws (3), lawyers respect society's rules and conventions, (4), everyone, including lawyers, get equal treatment before the courts (5), lawyers are expected to do a day's work for a day's pay (like all the other professions must do), without (6), insisting on muscling themselves into everyone else's business for personal gain, as they do now. A science based legal system can do it.
Lastly, nothing here is meant as criticism of the Sun-Sentinel or these reporters. Indeed, the Sun-Sentinel and these reporters deserve the highest praise for navigating these treacherous waters and if we are to ever rid our state of this kind of legal system, we would hope to see other newspapers in other counties in these waters as well. Indeed there may be such instances that I am not aware of; for I haven't made any concerted effort to locate or identify them.
The complete series of articles, each article in its entirety, is set forth in the table of contents below. The same article titles used by the Sun-Sentinel are used here.
My (Bob Allston) analysis is in the first article, which provides an overview of all the articles. I hope you find it informative.