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Enforcement Issues (Again)


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#1 Andrew Marshall

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 02:42 AM

In Dave Bricker’s post, “Marina Management Overstepping its Bounds” [http://dinnerkey.com...p?showtopic=81] – he describes seeking safe harbor from Hurricane Charlie behind the spoil islands under threat of being cited for a violation. A quote from that post follows:

QUOTE
If the City would like us to remain where we are until they can find a more convenient time to charge us with an infraction, there are a number of us who are willing to stay and see the matter through proper channels.


Since then there has been repeated harrassment and intimidation over seeking safe harbor. This culminated and/or contributed to the death and John Nye during Katrina. On his way out to his boat that fateful day, John stopped by my boat secured in the protection of a spoil island. I recomended that he pull his boat in behind the island, and he replied, "Nah, I don't want to deal with City harassment."

After Katrina I decided to stay behind the island as the result of health issues consequent to being run over by a City employee in a motor vehicle (its easier for me to get to shore). Since that time I was cited twice, and arrested once. The charges are basically all for obstructing navigation and being illegally moored. As usual the City ignored due process as well as state and federal law. Now its going to be put to the test in court. The funny part is, if I go to jail, as an imprisoned criminal I'm entitled to medical care. As an injured City employee I'm not.

I'll keep dinnerkey posted as time allows, but tell me someone, isn't being cited three times under three nearly identical boating laws a little redundant (particularly as criminal public records violations and numerous other criminal abuses of office go unoticed)?

#2 Andrew Marshall

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 02:44 AM

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#3 Andrew Marshall

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 02:47 AM

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#4 Andrew Marshall

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 02:49 AM

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#5 Andrew Marshall

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 07:47 PM

Charges against me for tying up to a spoil island were dropped as the arresting officer failed to show.

I protested the dismissal to the judge, indicating that issues related to this charge resulted in two deaths among boaters in the community, one of whom was my friend (John Nye, who was too intimidated by the City to bring his vessel in and died anchored out during Hurricane Katrina). I told the judge that I was not prepared either, and waived the State not being ready. The Judge stated that the court did not have the time for this.

Evidently the City didn't have the time either, as they never responded to public records requests ordiscovery requests on the matter.

I was found guilty for obstruction of navigation charge. I'm not sure what happened as I wasn't in court that day (two days after Hurricane Wilma). The judge probably wasn't either, as the court was closed that day. Three days of so after Wilma I filed a motion for another hearing due to an inability to get to court due to Wilma's aftermath, i.e. excusable neglect, but never got a response. Another hearing will be requested, or the decision appealed.

Posting of the legal arguments (Motions to Dismiss) will follow.

#6 dinnerkeyadmin

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 10:42 AM

Andrew, I'm sure many would advise you to simply take the path of least resistance and move out of the way, but I fear that this tactic has been causing stakeholders to gradually lose ground over the years.

I think this kind of Civil Disobedience is genuinely harmless as it does not endanger anyone. The area where you were anchored is well-lit and the idea that you were actually obstructing a channel is patently absurd.

Moreover, there are so many questions in the world of maritime law. What is the difference between a channel and a navigable waterway and what signage is required to advise the mariner of the difference? Where does a mariner's right to safe harbor supercede "traffic" ordinances? To what degree and under what circumstances can a municipality, a county or a State enforce maritime law that conflicts with overriding Federal law. To what extent does ownership of the bottom grant rights that supercede the Federal, Constitutionally protected right to navigate (legally, navigation includes anchoring) on the waterways of the United States? Does the legal system have the right to dismiss cases that confront it with questions it would prefer not to have to answer?

I'm very grateful that someone has the testicular fortitude to say, "there's a storm coming and I'm tied to a tree in a sheltered waterway. Write me a ticket or go bother someone else."

I think it's well-worth it to risk a few small tree branches to firmly establish mariners rights to use public waterways responsibly, courteously and safely, and to put an end to petty squabbles over jurisdiction that ultimately threaten the safety of those who are supposed to be protected. Whether or not people agree with your positions, I think this is the best and most responsible type of "trouble-making." It endangers nobody and submits disputes to a legal and proper venue that has been created to resolve them. Nobody should be deprived of the right to have their positions submitted to due process.

Andrew, I really hope you get your day in court. Our waterfront needs to get past a lot of legal myopia and you are one of the few out there who is actually confronting the problem directly.

Dave Bricker