And that's a problem for the Florida Highway Patrol and the Seminole County Sheriff's Department.
On August 10, 2011, Kintner, a citizen of Lake Mary, Florida, noticed suspicious behavior on the part of a Seminole County Sheriff's Deputy. The deputy had driven his cruiser onto Kintner's street and parked, creating a traffic obstruction and a hazard to children and other residents. Not content to block traffic with his noxious presence, the deputy then pointed a device designed to fire hazardous radiation beams at oncoming motorists, threatening Kintner's neighbors with cancerous tumors.
Most men would have gone about their business against such an awesome abuse of power. Not Kintner. Never one to cower before tyranny, Kintner exercised his right to express dissent, which as we all know is the highest form of patriotism. He drove his car up one block, then began to shine his headlights at oncoming motorists, his friends and neighbors, to warn them that the government was conducting radiation experiments in the area.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of the courage to speak out against government overreach must be arrested, and branded a criminal. That truth came to pass in Kintner's case. The deputy abused his authority to charge Kintner with the high crime of "flashing lights" in violation of Florida statute 316.2397(7):
Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as a means of indicating a right or left turn, to change lanes, or to indicate that the vehicle is lawfully stopped or disabled upon the highway or except that the lamps authorized in subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), and (9) and s. 316.235(5) are permitted to flash.
Fortunately for us all, where most men would have given up at this point and "paid the ticket", Kintner fought back. He retained the services of J. Marcus Jones, the noted attorney of Oviedo Florida, and sued for his liberty. Jones fought for Kintner's freedom with a two-pronged assault: first, that the Seminole County Sheriff applied the statute arbitrarily, to punish Kintner for warning his fellow citizens of the deputy's misconduct; second, that each time he activated his headlights to caution his neighbors, Ryan Kintner was engaged in speech protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
That's right. Ryan Kintner speaks with his car. And with the able advocacy of Marcus Jones, he does so most eloquently. Yesterday Judge Alan Dickey of the Seminole County Circuit Court struck down the unlawful acts of this brazen Sheriff, holding that Ryan Kintner has a First Amendment right to warn friends, family, and neighbors of hazards created by the police.
Even if he has to use his car to do it.
So hats off to Judge Dickey, Mr. Jones, and especially Mr. Kintner. Thanks to Ryan Kintner, all of us are a little more free today.
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