Libertarian Mark Schmidter talks about his arrest last year at the Orange County Courthouse and why he feels it violated his right to free speech. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
Editor’s Note: Mark Schmidter is a roofing contractor and activist in numerous Libertarian causes. Last year, he was sentenced to five months in the Orange County Corrections jail for comtempt of court, for distributing flyers on thhe issue of jury nullification outside of the Orange County Courthouse to prospective jurors, in volation of as judge’s administrative order banning the practice as a form of jury tampering.
Schmidter is now suing that judge, Belvin Perry, for violation of his free speech writers. In his own words, Schmidter writes about his experience with the justice system in Central Florida.

I was first served Administrative order 2011-03 – order governing public speech on courthouse grounds — and then order 2011-7 order, governing public speech areas on courthouse grounds. Both of these orders are completely unconstitutional!
Last summer, I was sentenced to 151 days for violating Belvin Perry’s 2011-07 – order governing public speech areas on courthouse grounds. This order was only supposed to last until the end of the Casey Anthony trial. He then made the “Free Speech Zones” permanent with 2011-07-01 extended order governing public speech areas on courthouse grounds.
I was also sentenced to 146 Days for violating Perry’s first order, 2011-3, governing public speech on courthouse grounds.
I was never in the courthouse at any time. I was on the sidewalk between the parking garage and the courthouse.
This is a travesty of justice, not just to me but to the news media and all of us. Some girl in the courtroom disrupted the court proceedings and was only sentenced to two days in jail. If any judge (Belvin Perry) can dictate how anyone acts outside of the courtroom or courthouse, he can do anything to anybody at will — no matter what they do or where they are.
The other overwhelming issue is that his orders are selectively enforced — unconstitutional again! His orders also threatens the news media. He could have his orders served on The Orlando Sentinel, but not one of their competitors!
This is the only courthouse in our country that has free speech zones. We know these orders are unconstitutional because we are still handing out fliers at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center every Monday morning, and have in the past at the Volusia County Courthouse, Lake County Courthouse, Port Saint Lucie County Courthouse and many other courthouses in Florida and throughout the country. It is part of our nation’s Constitution that we can petition our own government on the courthouse steeps, as long as we do not impede traffic or infringe on other’s rights. I never impeded traffic or infringed on anyone’s rights, ever!
Two weeks ago, the state of New Hampshire even made it legal for the defense to instruct the jurors about jury nullification!
I am now suing Belvin Perry on the constitutionality of his orders. This is the only courthouse in the country that has “Free Speech Zones,” and if his orders stand, then all courthouses will make “Free Speech Zones” — no matter what size of the zones or no matter how remote — and then we loose our First Amendment rights. The First Amendment is the backbone of the U.S. Constitution; it must not be compromised.
Since the news media is the steward of our Constitution, is there anything they or we can do to defeat this tyrant from being reelected Aug. 14th? Daniel Perry is challenging Belvin for his position on the court.
The preservation of freedom requires constant vigilance.
The preservation of justice requires constant publicity.

Contact Mark Schmidter at

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