MY OPENNING STATEMENT AT TOMORROW’S HEARING.

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT IN AND FOR THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN HAMILTON COUNTY FLORIDA

STACY TEBO

Petitioner                                    CASE No.  2018-000066 DRAXMX

and

JOE EDWARD GRIFFIN, Pro Se

Respondent

____________________________________/

  1. IAW Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.610 (d) RCivPro 1.610 (d) says:

(d) Motion to Dissolve. A party against whom a temporary injunction has been granted may move to dissolve or modify it at any time. If a party moves to dissolve or modify, the motion shall be heard within 5 days after the movant applies for a hearing on the motion.

Respondent Griffin moved for such a hearing on 2 April.

  1. Petitioner Tebo’s Motion does not comply with Florida Rules a Civil Procedure 1.610 (c) for an immediate temporary Injunction.

RCivPro 1.610 (c) states:

  1. c) Form and Scope. Every injunction shall specify the reasons for entry, shall describe in reasonable detail the act or acts restrained without reference to a pleading or another document …

Petitioner does not specify the reasons for entry of the injunction nor does she explain in reasonable detail the act or acts to be restrained or the reasons therefore. Making her home of residence town hall is an especially grievous contention. She hardly works there much less live there.

  1. This honorable court did not comply with RCivPro 1.1610 (a) (1) (A) in granting such a request for the Temporary Injunction which says:

A Temporary Injunction may be granted with-out written or oral notice to the adverse party only if: it appears from the specific facts shown by affidavit or verified pleading that immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition.

Petitioner Tebo, town manager of White Springs, Florida, is an Agency of White Springs. She has made no such showing in her Affidavit of immediate threat of irreparable injury, loss or damage directed to either Petitioner or the Town. Nowhere in the complaint does Petitioner say that Respondent has caused her to be afraid or is fearful of immediate injury. She complains about getting emotional distress but doesn’t come close to claiming harassment or stalking.

  1. Receiving an email or following Petitioner on a public web site is not a threat of immediate injury. Publishing the information I learned from a Public Website or an official court document does not establish either injury or the threat of injury. Nor does such activity cause emotional distress in normal people which is not covered in the Stalking Statute. If there is irreparable injury, it is Petitioner and her subordinates which are causing it. While normally irreparable injury must be proved by the plaintiff before an injunction may be issued, in sunshine law cases the mere showing that the law has been violated constitutes “irreparable public injury” Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 so. 2d 473 (Fla. 1974).  Petitioner has shown no threat or fear of immediate irreparable injury.

5       .Additionally, nowhere in Petitioner Tebo’s Request does she mention the word “Stalking” except in the title. Harassment is not Stalking but is in fact one of several elements of Stalking. It is contended that Petitioner has not shown “Harassment” much less “STALKING.” I am free to request Public Records all I want, there is no statutory prohibitation for doing so.

  1. In Petitioner’s Injunction request she lists five (5) separate acts allegedly committed by Respondent Griffin. They are in brief.

(1)      E-mailed her at her private e-mail address. I did this to Petition my government for a redress of grievances. The Town Council and Petitioner have seen fit to deny or ignore over 40 citizen complaints since Petitioner has been employed by the Respondent superior. See a sampling attached to this document. Most of the complaints were for violations of some state law or municipal ordinance. Petitioner is an agency of the Respondent Superior and as such is required to follow the law and to get Petitions and notes from the citizens, like a citizen talking to her at lunch. Writing to her the information in a personal email account is not illegal. In no state statute, that Respondent is aware of, is it either illegal or threatening. If it were then the budgets of the town that Petitioner sought from respondent back when she gave me her e-mail address 2 ½ years ago was also harassment. Whatever act I committed seems to Respondent to hinge on whether Petitioner wanted the information in the first place. And the taxpayers of White Springs pay Petitioner a fee every month to get her emails on her phone, i.e. use of her phone for public business makes her phone a public asset. Additionally, Respondent is a reporter of a Blog. The press is entitled to seek answers to questions that may be, at the election of the reporter, pressing questions. My readers, some 200 a day on average, deserve my take on Municipal affairs and reward me with their readership.

(2)      Told a Co-worker that Petitioner would “get them (in court)” and that I used profanity in my e-mails AND AT Town Council meetings and the like, which is not illegal or threatening. She has produced no evidence of any of these alleged acts by Respondent. In fact Respondent has been kicked out of only one town council meeting for saying something inappropriate, not cursing. She can produce no evidence that I cursed at a town council meeting. And even if I did that is not hers to complain about.

(3)      Mr. Griffin follows my personal life electronically. Such activity is not illegal or stalking. If I didn’t have the Blog she would never know I got this information. And I got it from a public website run by the Federal Government. Petitioner went public with her information. All I did was copy it and place on a Blog.

(4)      Mr. Griffin, over the years, has not changed his behavior. Not illegal, why should I change my behavior at Petitioner’s direction. Petitioner and her Respondent superior need to start following the law. I have taken the thoroughly legal activity of publishing this information, this illegal activity of Petitioner and her Respondent Superior, on the Blog and in my emails to Respondent and her Respondent Superior. In this “separate act” Petitioner shows completely that I haven’t STALKED her. She says “Mr. Griffin has harassed me for years. … He seeks to cause me “emotional distress” and appears to enjoy doing such very much” Emotional Distress is not Stalking. Likewise she doesn’t know what my motivation is. Is it distressful when I demand public documents under Florida Statute 119, a statutory and constitutional right? And they are public documents that I seek. Respondent Superior and Public Records Custodian admit that what I am looking for are public documents. If Petitioner were to do her duty then there could be no emotional distress. I have “called HER OUT ON NOT DOING HER DUTY.” She made the same complaint, emotional distress, in her lawsuit against DeBary and in the complaint of Mrs. Rivers. The fact that she is emotionally distressed is not my concern; she needs to get a rein on her emotions. I am not responsible for her emotions. I am responsible to my Blog’s readers making sure they get the facts and the commentary that they apparently enjoy reading.

(5)      Ms. Tebo has spoken to the State’s Attorney on my behavior. This action on her part is not illegal and it has got nothing to do with me. Respondent certainly doesn’t control Petitioner’s actions. If Respondent did then he would get the information out of town hall that he requests.

  1. Nowhere in the five accusations does she highlight that any immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damage will occur. In fact just the opposite is shown in her own words “YEARS HAVE GONE BY”. Without this immediate showing, there is no immediate threat of alleged injury, loss, or damage and thus no immediate Temporary Injunction should have been issued by this honorable court.
  2. How Petitioner can say that her going to the State Attorney to complain about the e-mails (some 17 years old and most sent well before Petitioner accepted her present position) is not understood as a crime by Respondent. Respondent certainly doesn’t control Petitioner’s actions. Likewise writing emails, following her life electronically, cursing and not changing behavior are not “threatening” and thus not worthy of an Injunction. It is worth noting that the State Attorney has found no violation of the Florida Law as of yet. Writing emails to a public servant without threats is not a crime or an issue worth an injunction. Have her produce the evidence that she was threatened, so far she hasn’t so produced it.
  3. Additionally there is no conformity with the alleged crime of STALKING.
  4. Stalking is defined by Dictionary as:

In Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Pocket Edition, stalking is defined as “the act or an instance of following another by stealth or the offense of following or loitering near another, often surreptitiously, with the purpose of annoying or harassing that person or committing a further crime such as assault or battery”

  1. Tebo has failed to show how Respondent Griffin has committed any of the actions in this definition. Actions of “following, or loitering, with the purpose of annoying or harassing another” or that Respondent Griffin has taken steps “to commit the further crime such as assault or battery” are not shown. Certainly writing an email to a public official is not assault. I can write the Governor or my elected and appointed Washington leaders without receiving an injunction request. I can even tell them what I think of them, good and bad.
  2. Even if the act of sending e-mails to a public official privately was at most annoying, see Curry v. State, 811 so. 2d 736, 741 (Fla. 4th DCa 2002) “defendant’s conduct in making over 40 public records requests concerning victim constituted a “legitimate purpose,” and thus cannot violate the stalking law “because the right to obtain the records is established by statute and acknowledged in the state constitution””.
  3. 13. The Right to Petition one’s government for grievances is confirmed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. One can hardly think of a less intrusive way of Petitioning for Grievances than by writing a personal email to the Town Manager, the Boss. It is simply a freedom of speech issue that Petitioner seeks to curtail. I did not send her any threats of violence and Petitioner has not proven that I have. I have sought information and given legal information, petitioning for a redress of grievances, to Petitioner. She rewards me with this attempt to modify my completely legal behavior to suit herself and her feelings of persecution.
  4. If Tebo had wanted to receive fewer e-mails or no e-mails at all she could have easily produced the documents requested, through her work. Or Petitioner could have not given her email address to Respondent in the first place or blocked his emails from her computer.
  5. And see Florida Statute 119.07 (1) (a) which says:

Every person who has custody of a public record shall permit the record to be inspected and copied by any person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under supervision by the custodian of the public records.

There is no requirement in the law which prohibits Respondent from taking legal steps or activities to attempt to cajole or force Petitioner’s required compliance with the law. Writing emails is not an illegal activity and is certainly less obtrusive and less expensive than a court filing. According to an email from Barbara Peterson, Esq., manager of the First Amendment foundation who conjointly, with the Attorney General, publishes the Government in the Sunshine Manual, there is no law which prohibits me from seeking information, requesting information or giving information to or from a public official. Certainly when Respondent asked for a public document he didn’t expect Petitioner to produce that document immediately that night. But Respondent did expect her to question her Public Documents Custodian and to provide the documents forthwith. That has not happened in any case.

  1. The Supreme Court published in the Sunshine Manual, published by the State’s Attorney General (2017 Edition) defines “reasonable conditions” as:

The term “reasonable conditions” as used in s. 119.07(1) (a), F.s., “refers not to conditions which must be fulfilled before review is permitted but to reasonable regulations that would permit the custodian of records to protect them from alteration, damage, or destruction and also to ensure that the person reviewing the records is not subjected to physical constraints designed to preclude review.” Wait v. Florida Power & Light Company, 372 so. 2d 420, 425 (Fla. 1979).

Writing an email is certainly no threat to the documents desired themselves or to Petitioner.

  1. Likewise in Canney v. Board of Public Instruction of Alachua County, 278 so. 2d 260, 264 (Fla. 1973) the Supreme Court said:

(v)arious boards and agencies have obviously attempted to read exceptions into the government in the sunshine law which do not exist. (e)ven though their intentions may be sincere, such boards and agencies should not be allowed to circumvent the plain provisions of the statute. The benefit to the public far outweighs the inconvenience of the board or agency. if the board or agency feels aggrieved, then the remedy lies in the halls of the legislature and not in efforts to circumvent the plain provisions of the statute by devious ways in the hope that the judiciary will read some exception into the law.

 

That’s what Petitioner is trying to do, get this court to read some judicial exception into the law and she has picked the Stalking Law to do it. Petitioner contends that compliance with the Sunshine Law and Public Records law depends only on the whim of a public servant, making the laws mute.

  1. Wait v. Florida Power & Light Company, 372 so. 2d 420, 425 (Fla. 1979).equates Florida Statute 119 to Florida Statute 286.011 in Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 so. 2d 473 (Fla. 1974) and Canney, They both cite Petitioner’s non-judicial attempt to get a court, this court, to seek some judicial acceptance of a violation of the Public Records law or the Government in the Sunshine law.
  2. The physical constraints the Petitioner is seeking to judicially codify are (1) delay in producing public records from Petitioner Tebo and her subordinate, the public records custodian. (2) Not allowing citizens to seek “other avenues” “i.e. writing the boss” to cajole or get the turnover of requested documents and (3) Making it illegal for Respondent to go to town hall, even to attend a meeting. It is well settled law that ALL Citizens can go to town hall/ public offices to conduct THEIR public business or to attend meetings. The restrictions of the Temporary Restraining Order prohibit such contact or visitation activity. It is believed such a restriction is unlawful and unconstitutional as well as being a violation of the Sunshine Law. The term “open to the public” as used in the sunshine law means open to ALL persons who choose to attend. ago 99-53. Cf. Ribaya v. Board of Trustees of City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in City of Tampa, 162 so. 3d 348, 356 (Fla. 2d DCa 2015) (although there appears to be no case law “squarely resolving” whether a wrongful exclusion of one person would void all actions taken at the meeting, “there is legal support for that proposition”). Respondent chose to attend a meeting of the Charter Review Commission but couldn’t because of the injunction of this court. Likewise tonight is a meeting of the Town Council that Respondent chooses to attend. I will invoke Ribaya if so prohibited.

,. 20.  The sole purpose of custodial supervision is to protect the records from alteration, damage or destruction See Tribune Company v. Cannella, 458 so. 2d 1075, 1078 (Fla. 1984), appeal dismissed sub nom., DePerte v. Tribune Company, 105 s.Ct. 2315 (1985). As such Tebo is required to protect the documents not to hide them from view and to instruct her subordinates to protect but provide the documents when requested.

  1. One additional item is important. Petitioner waited, to bring forth this action, until Ethics violations with the State Ethics Board were filed against her, the Mayor and Tebo’s subordinate including investigations. That is a violation of Amendment One of the Bill of Rights. Retaliation or retribution by a government entity for a lawful act by a citizen is a violation of Free Speech. Without free speech protections, citizens would have a hard time challenging their government or speaking freely about the issues that matter to them. A democratic system can only exist when citizens are free to argue, debate, and voice their opinions without fear of punishment or retribution, Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Pocket Edition. That is my Free Speech both verbal and written RIGHT, not hers. By her own words, this action could have and should have been taken “years ago” yet Petitioner waited until she was in front of the State Ethics panel facing termination to seek retribution for Respondent’s filing with the Ethics Board rather than the five acts. Respondent has been doing these acts for years now without any perpetration of injury or damages to Petitioner. Petitioners concerns are not timely. Yet, in retribution for the Ethics complaint, Petitioner now screams “Stalking” and seeks to have this court validate her retribution. Petitioner is not so much afraid of Respondent’s possible continued future actions which will be just as they have always been as she is in seeking retribution for the Ethics Panel investigating her.

 

That alone makes this action frivolous. Petitioner’s own actions or lack of actions brought her to this point. My Blog has been called the “Voice of White Springs” and freedom of speech and freedom of the Press hang in the balance with this suit. Respondent pleads for a finding of dismissal with Prejudice, costs and fees.

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