Charges dropped in bumper sticker case
By JEFF STANFORD managing editor, west
Due apparently to the amount of media attention given to the obscene bumper sticker charges brought against Jose Proenza Sanfiel, and the vague wording of the bumper sticker law itself, the charges have been dropped by the district attorney's office.
Proenza was pulled over by the Florida Highway Patrol on the morning of Thursday, October 20. He was originally cited for driving without lights in a heavy dog, but when the officer noticed the "Russia Sucks" bumper sticker displayed prominently on Proenza Sanfiel's truck, he informed him that a new state law banning obscene bumper stickers had become effective October 1 and he would have to remove the sticker, Proenza refused because the Sticker which had remained on his truck for the past two years, represented to him his hard earned right of free speech. He then received a ticket that could have cost him a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail. He was due in court on Nov. 3 and the Cuban immigrant and U.S. Marine Corps veteran was determined to fight the law on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
"With a swift move the District Attorney's Office has very efficiently silenced the only voice of dissent and the first shout of warning that foretells the abuse that this law can bring upon the people of this state," Proenza said The law states:
"Per section 847.011(2), Florida Statues, bumper stickers, decals, emblems, or other devices containing obscene descriptions, photographs or depiction's attached to a motor vehicle are prohibited-, subject to prosecution as a second degree misdemeanor for a first offense, as a first degree misdemeanor for subsequent offenses. "Obscene" is defined in section 847.001(7), Florida Statutes, as material which: the average person, applying contemporary community standards. would find taken as a whole would appeal to the lewdly sexual interest; and depicts or describes, in an obviously offensive way, sexual conduct (15 defined in section 847.001(11), Florida Statute; and taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."
Proenza said, "The way the law stands now, a political statement could contain a complete string of obscenities and still be accepted. What's obscene? We need to know. What bumper stickers can I buy now? Who will tell me how to express myself next?" He is less than satisfied with the decision to drop the case despite the fact that he was saved from possible stiff fine and a jail sentence. "Wow can a system accuse me and then not allow me my day in court? If I had not raised the ruckus I had, or felt that the charges were ambiguous and not shown up in court, I would have been cited for contempt," he said. "However, the District Attorney's Office can withdraw their accusation and I cannot cite them for contempt There's something wrong here. "I wonder what will happen when a citizen refuses to remove his form of personal expression from his bumper citing the fact that charges were dropped against me. Will that citizen be charged with interfering with a police officer? Disobeying a lawful order Creating a public nuisance and disturbing the peace along with having an obscene bumper sticker? Mow many man hours, tax dollars and mental anguish must the public spend before this law is repealed?" Proenza has created an organization called BUMP IT to further combat the law. BUMP IT stands for Banish Unconstitutional Mandates Prohibiting Individual Thinking.
"This group's concern is not only bumper stickers but any law that restricts freedom of expression Even tough the charges have been dropped against me, there is a sharp sword hanging over the head of every citizen. I will continue to spearhead the fight until this law is more specific," he said. Proenza encourages support and interested parties can write to BUMP IT at 4230 Hunting Lodge Dr.. St. Cloud, FL. 32769-8142.
Well actually I was the first person in the state of Florida to get stopped . Then at that time I had the support of the ACLU andthe media did do good reporting all trough out the nation. Yet the law still remains in the books and another person with a less " appropiate sticker is still being persecuted " hers read " 99% Angel 1% Bitch " if I'm not mistaken. The system has a very long memory and I doubt that they will forget this any sooner. For all practical purposes I can forget ever again working as a nurse. Wonder what I should look into next. ? Any decent job offers any one? I do hope that the ACLU comes to help me this time if not some one else that has that much savvy as to the court systems. Why donít you send them some e-mail for me and ask them in my behalf to sped up the process of intake. I already submitted the form but they have such a load it might be too late.
E-Mail Address for Nursing Organizations.
Email Address for US Senate..................
E-Mail Address for US House of Representatives......
Is a BEARof a job but if you like you can also reach the whole Nation trough the air ways via Radio and TV Links
We the people can make changes.!!
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I have been caring for the American Way of life for a while now.... you can see the other part of me on the other Web Site that I also maintain. That Web-Site deal's with the POW/MIA Issue Please visit it and get involved there are still men left behind and they need your help also.Visit " THE REAPER'S EDGE A POW's SCREAMED ECHO IN CYBERSPACE "
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