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Creative problem-solving, strategic thinking and tenacious client-oriented advocacy.

My Love Is Like An Arrest-Me-Red Rose

| Mar 14, 2013 | Civil Rights |

My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
My love is like the … handcuffs’ click?
Because I … loosed balloons?

Unfair art thou, Florida cop,
And Florida law as well!
Five years in prison? For balloons?!
I must ask “What the HELL?!?

Five years upstate for sending off
A dozen red balloons?
I’ve got to say, that law’s an ass
In need of several prunes.”

When Law’s an ass, and Justice blind
I’m there to Represent
The Spirit (not the Letter, mind)
Of the laws they claim you bent.

Every once in a while, a law enforcement travesty comes along that just begs for special treatment. The Florida Highway Patrol‘s reaction to Anthony Brasfield’s big romance was, well, special – and not in the rather touching way that Mr. Brasfield’s “crime” was special.

What did Anthony Brasfield do? He bought a dozen heart-shaped balloons for his girlfriend and sent them sailing into the morning sunrise while she watched and, I assume, melted just a little bit inside because she felt loved and cherished and special.

And what, you may ask, did the Great(ly disturbing) State of Florida do? They arrested Mr. Brasfield and charged him with a felony punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison for “polluting to harm humans, animals, plants, etc.” under the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act. Basically, he could end up serving 5 months in prison for each balloon. As my 3-year old son says, “That don’t SOUND right.”

What’s a man to do? Well, if I were licensed to practice law in Florida I’d suggest that the prosecution drop the case like a hot potato – and drop it far from either air or water, lest they get themselves in trouble.

That failing, I’d suggest that Florida’s Title XXVIII: Natural Resources; Conservation, Reclamation, and Use Section 379.233, sub-sections (2) and (3) would be a less imbecilic fit. They hold that “[i]t is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to intentionally release, organize the release, or intentionally cause to be released within a 24-hour period 10 Photo by nickyfern
or more balloons inflated with a gas that is lighter than air” and that doing so is a noncriminal infraction, punishable by a fine of $250.

A $250 fine instead of 5 years in prison? Yeah, that’d be great.

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